The most frequently reprinted editorial column in American history -- the famous "Yes, Virginia" paean to childhood wonder and belief in Santa Claus -- was published 109 years ago today in the New York Sun. Yep, today, a full three months before Santa's scheduled arrival. It seems this wasn't just a ridiculous error on the Sun's part -- according to this mind-bogglingly extensive academic paper,
Virginia O'Hanlon said years after publication that she, as a child, began wondering at her birthday in July what gifts she would receive at Christmas. Her excited speculation prompted her to write to the Sun in the summer of 1897. ... Her letter has been ignored or overlooked at the Sun for weeks. O'Hanlon said on a number of occasions that she had waited at length for the newspaper to address her inquiry. [Author Francis Pharcellus] Church, however, was said to have written the reply "hastily, in the course of the day's work."
You can see the full, originally published clip after the jump, courtesy of the Newseum.