Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Give Thanks Day Four....Victorian Mother Of Thanksgiving.........

Kelli from There Is No Place Like Home is Hosting a Giving Thanks Week !!!

Sarah Josepha Hale

Editor of Godey's Lady's Book, deserves recognition as the Mother of the American Thanksgiving. Part of a long campaign by Sarah Josepha Hale was to get Thanksgiving accepted as a national holiday in the United States.

From Sarah Josepha Hale, "Editor's Table," Godey's Lady's Book


"All the blessings of the fields,

All the stores the garden yields,

All the plenty summer pours,

Autumn's rich,

o'erflowing stores,

Peace, prosperity and health,

Private bliss and public wealth,

Knowledge with its gladdening streams,

Pure religion's holier beams --

Lord, for these our souls shall raise

Grateful vows and solemn praise."

In 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", convinced Abraham Licncoln to proclaim Thanksgiving a national holiday. The date she chose was to be the last Thursday in November because of Washington's proclamation. Licncoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation was on October 3, 1863. In 1941, it was officially changed to every fourth Thursday in November.

She Helped Give Us Thanksgiving

Sarah Josepha Hale, arguably was the most successful Victorian woman in American history.

In addition to moving President Lincoln to action, Sarah Hale was the first to urge equal education for American girls. She was the first to start day nurseries for working women, the first to suggest public playgrounds, and the first editor of the first woman's magazine in America.

Nine years later she moved to Godey's Lady's Book in Philadelphia.

The publication become the largest in America with a subscription list of 150,000 by the 1850s.
Sarah Hale continued to write and edit until she was 89. She died at a robust 91.

"The Lady Editor," as Hale was affectionately called, advocated a National celebration of Thanksgiving as early as 1827. "We have too few holidays," she wrote in Northwood.

"Thanksgiving like the Fourth of July should be considered a National festival and observed by all our people."

To Sarah Hale Thanksgiving would be a therapeutic holiday. "There is a deep moral influence in these periodical seasons of rejoicing, in which whole communities participate. They bring out . . . the best sympathies in our natures."

When Lincoln issued his now famous Thanksgiving Proclamation, Sarah Hale had penned literally thousands of these letters in her own hand. "If every state would join in Union Thanksgiving on the 24th of this month, would it not be a renewed pledge of love and loyalty to the Constitution of the United States?" Hale wrote in a 1859 editorial.

Of course, Sarah Hale was unable to avert those saddest years of American history, but in 1863, as civil war ravished the land, Abraham Lincoln did issue the proclamation Hale had spent nearly 40 years and thousands of letters to procure.

Speaking of America's blessings, even in its darkest hour, Lincoln wrote, "No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered us in mercy."

And so Americans celebrate Thanksgiving together on the fourth Thursday of November each year.


  1. Wonderful post! I enjoyed it, love the graphics! I have many of the same 18oo's graphics. :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing how the "offical" Thanksgiving in America began. I enjoyed reading about it. :)

  3. What a wonderful post on the history of Thanksgiving, Mica! I learned lots of new things. The graphics are darling! Thank you for joining in this week!