This article contains the transcription of a brief recounting of one five-year-old boy’s letter to Santa Claus, published in Chicago Daily Tribune on December 26, 1883. The vintage newspaper report sheds light upon the attitudes and perceptions of our late Victorian-era ancestors, a young and well-to-do boy’s Christmas wish-list, and how his parents must have attempted to impress upon him an awareness of the good he might do for others. I find it interesting that residents of the Old Ladies’ Home are referred to as “inmates”.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Letters to Santa Claus were a common appearance in newspapers. Whether the practice alerted parents, shared heartwarming tales of postal employees gathering nickles from among their department to stand in as a “Secret Santa” (modern lingo), or perhaps brought about by a store’s advertisements in the newspaper, Letters to Santa Claus provide a unique glimpse into the past. Want to know what toys children found appealing in the 1870’s? Or what dolls were fashioned of? Take a peek inside!
Santy (Santa Claus) wasn’t the only celebrity to endorse the well-known, well-loved, imported English Pears’ Soap. Even when the method of celebrity endorsement was used to lesser extent, it’s still implied. Another ad run either in a magazine or newspaper in the latter portion of the century quoted, “I have found it matchless for the hands and complexion.”