Holiday References: Thanksgiving history

November 25, 2008: Issue 266

Thanksgiving owes its status as a national holiday in large part to the efforts of a magazine editor.

Sara Josepha Hale ran Godey’s Lady’s Book from 1837 to 1877, and in its pages she campaigned to make the last Thursday in November, already recognized by many individual states, “the grand Thanksgiving holiday of our nation.” In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made it official.

“Let us consecrate the day to benevolence of action, by sending good gifts to the poor, and doing those deeds of charity that will, for one day, make every American home the place of plenty and of rejoicing,“ Hale wrote in an editor’s letter. “These seasons of refreshing are of inestimable advantage to the popular heart; and if rightly managed, will greatly aid and strengthen public harmony of feeling.”

National what day? If your team were to lead the push for a new holiday, what would it be? E-mail us, and we’ll share our favorite ideas.

Winners: As of last week, we have more than 100 users in the new production database. When we hit that milestone, we drew five users’ names at random. Billie Wade, Mary-Beth Rouse, Dan Bishop, Sharon Marturello, and Gene Rauch each win a free lunch in the cafeteria. Watch for new features in the database to make your job easier—and more chances to win prizes. If you need help logging in, talk to a CE.

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