Well, here I am again, blogging when I really should be working on some of my other assignments. I decided to work at home today and, as I gaze out the window watching our first real snow fall, I am inspired. Not to work on my Archives essay, unfortunately, but to share with you my favorite archival document.
On September 21, 1897, an 8 year old named Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the New York Sun. As 8 year old girls often do, Virginia began to wonder about Santa Claus and, upon discussing her concerns with her father, he advised her to write a letter to The Sun saying “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.”
So, Virginia wrote a letter to The Sun asking if Santa Claus really existed. Francis Pharcellus Church was the editor who received Virginia’s letter and his response is simply one of the loveliest pieces of writing I’ve ever encountered. The letter needs no summary or analysis, and, even if you’ve heard this 1000 times in your liefe, I encourage you to read the original letter. I found a digital copy on Newseum, a site I haven’t encountered before, but look forward to exploring.
My new favorite blog, Letters of Note, featured this letter in a post last year. The post mentions that Virginia’s original letter appeared on an episode of Antiques Roadshow, where it was valued at $20,000 – $30,000. You can watch the valuation from the Letters of Note post.