Considered a serious paper — like the city’s two more successful broadsheets, The New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune — The Sun was the most politically conservative of the three. It was edited by Benjamin Day with the slogan “It Shines for All.”
A penny press newspaper, The Sun was groundbreaking in that it was the first newspaper to report crimes and personal events such as suicides, deaths, and divorces.
The Sun first became famous for its central role in the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, a fabricated story of life and civilization on the moon which the paper falsely attributed to British astronomer John Herschel and never retracted. On April 13, 1844, The Sun published as factual a story by Edgar Allan Poe now known as “The Balloon-Hoax,” retracted two days after publication. The story told of an imagined Atlantic crossing by hot-air balloon.
Today, the paper is best known for the 1897 editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” (commonly referred to as “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus”), written by Francis Pharcellus Church.