Sunday, December 23, 2012

Santa on Bike; Letters to Santa, 1897

Santa Riding a Bike (1897)

From the Richmond Dispatch newspaper, December 19, 1897. Illustration above accompanied the text of dozens of letters to Santa Claus from children in Richmond Virginia, including these that have requests for bicycles.
Dear Santy Claus:
I want you to bring me a bicycle, a lock-bracletle, a doll-baby, sewing machine, and nuts, candies, fruit of all kind,and popcracker all kind; and bring them to my address, 216 N. 21 St.
Your little friend.
The next letter is from the same family ~

Dear Saunta Cause:
Please bring me a gun, a pound of shot, a bicycle, and some fireworks; that is all. I live at No. 216 21st Street.
Your little boy.

1212 Floyd Avenue,
Dear Santa Claus:
I want a bicycle and a watch and chain and a harp and a drum. That's all.
Your little boy, ELLETT READY.

Dear Santa Claus:
I wish you would bring me a bicycle and a bunch of switches; a pack of popcrackers, a box of candy, a air-rifle, and a pound of shot. Yours truly,
1401 Grove avenue.
Several letters are worded as if Santa's delivery of the items personally isn't part of how they understand things ~

Dear Santa Claus:
Richmond. Va. Dec. 2d.
Please send me a bycycle, and it will be thankfully received.
Yours respectively,

Dear Santa Claus:
Please send a bicycle and a wagon & goat and harness. From your little boy,
1123 Floyd Ave., Richmond, Va
A number of letters included requests for others ~

Dear Santa Claws:
I am a little boy 3 1/2 years old. I want you to bring me a bicycle, and a pack of popcrackers, a horn, and some candy. Phase bring Minerva (our colored girl) a bicycle, too, and my little brother Harold, something pretty. I am going to be a good boy, and go to bed real soon. Please come, Santa Claus; don't forget.
I was surprised by the extent of the requests made by many of the children's letters; this one balances that out somewhat.

Richmond, Va,
207 S. Pine St
Dear Santa Clause:
Christmas is nearly here, and I would like for you to bring me something nice. I will be thankful for anything that you bring me. From your little boy,

A few years ago I had a blog post with the similar illustration, shown below, taken from an ad for Stearns bicycles from the bicycle industry journal "Cycling Life" (issue for December 24 issue, 1896).

Santa On Bike (1896, Cycling Life)


  1. Very interesting seasonal post....
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year Michael...


  2. Thank you, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well.

    Taking some time off work and and am accumulating some material for future blog posts. Going to try to avoid quite so many "pauses" in my efforts.