American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Editor's Table
"Editor's Table."
Godey's Lady's Book
September 1863

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879)
to Abraham Lincoln

Holograph letter,
September 28, 1863
Manuscript Division (48.5b,a)

Though various states claim to have hosted the first Thanksgiving, the annual celebratory custom was most firmly fixed in New England, as memorialized in a famous poem in a volume by Lydia Maria Child. By the beginning of the Civil War most northern and mid-western states, as well as many in the South had adopted this tradition. The holiday was vigorously promoted by the indefatigable editor of the influential mid- nineteenth-century magazine Godey's Lady's Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, who for years had spurred state action and, in this 1863 letter and editorial, helped persuade Abraham Lincoln to make it a national holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Additional Views:
U.S. Army General Hospital
"Bill of Fare, Thanksgiving Dinner."
Thursday, November 24, 1864
Rare Book & Special Collections Division
Gift/purchase Marian S. Carson, 1997 (48.3)
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