Manolo says, if you were wondering what became of Virginia…
Virginia O’Hanlon as an adult embraced the recognition and modest fame that came with her part in inspiring “Is There A Santa Claus?” (She once said in jest that she was “anonymous from January to November.”)
The editorial, she told an interviewer in 1959, when she was 67, “gave me a special place in life I didn’t deserve. It also made me try to live up to the philosophy of the editorial and to try to make glad the heart of childhood.”
She occasionally read the editorial at Christmas programs, as she did in 1933 and 1937 at Hunter College, her alma mater. Virginia earned a bachelor’s degree there in 1910 and a master’s degree two years later at Columbia University.
She was a teacher in the New York City schools, and became a principal at a school for handicapped children after earning a doctorate from Fordham University in 1935.
At her retirement in 1959, the New York Times observed that Virginia was “one of those rare persons whose given name alone has instant meaning for millions.”
There is yet more at the New York Times, including this charming picture of the young Virginia…