Letters to Santa
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Back in 1930, the decision of whether Santa would visit Bismarck area children was in the hands of H. P. Goddard, Secretary of the Association of Commerce. On November 24th, Santa sent Goddard a radiogram from the North Pole, which read, “Dear Sir: Will you please ask the children of your city and the Missouri Slope if they would like me to pay them a visit this year and take their orders for Christmas? The dwarfs and elves who work in my factories here have suggested that I make a trip to check up on the persons who will want to see me this year. Only those who ask that I come to see them will be visited as I am very busy and the demands on my time are terrific… Sincerely Yours, Santa Claus.”
Two days later, the paper reported, “Demand for Santa Claus to visit city is strong.” Among the letters the Bismarck Tribune printed was one from 8-year old Milton Klein, who wrote, “I want you to come and see me. I still got some of the toys that you gave me two years ago.”
Nine-year old Amelia Eisele wrote, “I want you to come to Bismarck and bring all little poor children toys. And I am poor too so I hope you will come to Bismarck. I would like to have a big doll and buggy and a table! Before I forget I would like to tell you to bring my little sister, who is only one year old a doll and a sled and a pair of shoes, too. I know Santa Claus will bring it. I like Santa Claus… And I will tell my address now – 518 South Eleventh Street. X X X X X X X X X X These are kisses for our dear Santa Claus. Goodbye, goodbye.”
Fourteen-year old Lester Olson asked for boots, pants, shirts and stockings for himself and his two brothers, Raymond and Clarence. “My father is out of work and we haven’t anything so its hard on us all,” he wrote.
Young Phyllis Wood wrote, “There is a lot of snow but if he uses his reindeer, I think he can be able to get here… Mr. Goddard tell him to hurry. Please do not forget to bring my Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers something.”
On November 28th, the Tribune reported, “Mail man’s pack looks like that of Santa himself.” The next day: “Wrinkles furrowed the brow of H.P. Goddard…today. He was drafting a radiogram [invitation] to Santa Claus and he wanted his language to be ‘just so’ in order that he might make the best possible impression on Old Saint Nick at the North Pole.”
After four days, Mr. Goddard still hadn’t received a response from the North Pole. “I’ll admit that I am worried,” he said. “If Santa Claus doesn’t answer and if he doesn’t come, it is certainly going to be hard on my reputation among the youngsters. And the worst of it is that I didn’t ask them send the letters on my own initiative. It was Santa Claus himself who asked…”
Eleven-year old Ludwig Steiner wrote that he and his family lived 9 miles north of Bismarck, but “If you cannot come to us, will you please send it in the mail,” he wrote. “If you can’t see us, please see all of the children in Bismarck.”
Good news finally came a week later. Santa had started for Bismarck by dogsled, because he wanted his reindeer to rest up. On December 10th, he was as far as Fort Nelson, British Columbia. He was expected to make it to Bismarck by the 15th.
First-grader Leland Ulmer wrote, “Are you going to come down our chimney? I guess you cant cause we got natural gas. You better come through our window. We’ll have it ready but please do not make any noise and fill our stockings and then go. A want a snair drum. A electric train and a box of tinker toys. I hope you have a nice trip.”
Tune in this weekend for more letters to Santa written in 1930.
Source: Bismarck Tribune. Nov 24, 26, 28, 29 1930. Dec 3, 10 1930.
Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm