Ok there's a Santa. Is there a Virginia?

So I was reading “Battle for Christmas”- an excellent book about th history of Christmas in this country, I recommend it- and it mentioned, of course, the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter.

It got me thinking. Reading it there, it seemed like so much Victorian propaganda. Ie, like a good excuse to write that reply. I’m wondering, was there a real Virginia who had these concerns about Santa, or did the newspaperman invent her so he could write about Christmas? Who’s the mythical creature here?

And it she does (did) exist, what did she think of his explaination?

Yes, betenoir, there was a Virginia.

She eventually became a schoolteacher (I think) and lived to a fairly ripe old age into the 1960s or 1970’s IIRC.

Virginia O’Hanlon certainly existed. I’ve seen some doubt as to whether she actually wrote the letter (the phrase “some of my little friends” seems more like something a grownup would say), but that’s mere speculation.

Just posting to say I loved the thread title. Very clever.

The Antiques Roadshow had a letter that was supposed to be original. The woman who brought it proved she was related to the original Virginia. Don’t remember what they said it was worth.

Virginia certainly exists, but there’s still debate about Delaware.

Posting from right in the middle of this mid-Atlantic controversy,

Montfort in Maryland