Dr. Philip F. O'Hanlon

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Philip Francis O'Hanlon, M.D.

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: New York, New York, New York, United States
Death: between 1930 and 1940 (66-76)
of, New York, New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Philip O'Hanlon, Jr., M.D. and Mary Ann Adams O'Hanlon
Husband of Laura Lincoln O'Hanlon
Father of Virginia O'Hanlon
Brother of George O'Hanlon; Mary O'Hanlon and George Samuel O'Hanlon

Occupation: Physician, surgeon, Coroner's Physician
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Dr. Philip F. O'Hanlon

From The Virginia O'Hanlon House -- No. 115 W. 95th Street

Dr. Philip F. O’Hanlon was making a name for himself in the medical community.  O’Hanlon’s family had a medical tradition—both his father and grandfather practiced medicine on East 18th Street.  He earned his medical degree from New York University in 1886 and immediately became House Surgeon at Gouverneur Hospital until 1887.  In 1891 he was appointed Medical Examiner in the Insurance Department of the State of New York.    But after 1895, when he became the City’s Coroner’s Physician, Philip F. O’Hanlon’s name became a household word.

The doctor and his wife, the former Laura Lincoln Plumb, had one daughter, Laura Virginia, who was born in 1889.  The year after receiving his position in the Coroner’s Office, he leased No. 115 West 95th Street.

The following year he broke the sensational Geldensuppe Murder Case by detecting an obscure clue that resulted in the unraveling of the murder mystery, leading to the conviction of the murderer.    The case had all the scintillating and gruesome trappings of a crime novel—a dismembered corpse, a menage-a-trois, and shocking extra-marital affairs.  The New York Journal called it “a murder, most foul, deliberate, mysterious and terrible.” 

The case firmly established Dr. Philip F. O’Hanlon’s reputation and renown.

The same year that O’Hanlon was instrumental in solving the Geldensuppe Case, he was forced to tackle another difficult question.  Little 8-year old Laura Virginia O’Hanlon—known as Virginia to the family—faced a problem that summer.  Her school friends chided her for believing in Santa Claus.

When she asked her father if, indeed, Santa existed, he deftly passed the onus of an answer to The New York Sun.   So, relying on her father’s professed unswerving faith in the veracity of the newspaper, little Virginia penned a letter to the editor:

Dear Editor: I am 8 years old.  Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.  Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O’Hanlon 115 West Ninety-Fifth Street


  1. 1870 United States Federal Census (see attached document)
  2. 1900 United States Federal Census (see attached document)
  3. 1910 United States Federal Census (see attached document)
  4. 1920 United States Federal Census (see attached document)
  5. 1930 United States Federal Census (see attached document)
  6. "New York, Marriages, 1686-1980," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6QX-CXF : accessed 16 Dec 2013), Philip F. O'Hanlon and Laura Lincoln Plume, 13 Aug 1888.
  7. Who's who in New York City and State (Google eBook) L.R. Hamersly Company, 1911 - New York (State). Page 714
  8. http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-virginia-ohanlon-house-no-115-w.html
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_O%27Hanlon#Virginia.27s_identity_
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Dr. Philip F. O'Hanlon's Timeline

September 13, 1863
New York, New York, New York, United States
July 20, 1889
Age 25
New York, New York , New York, United States
Age 66
New York, New York, New York, United States