portrait of Sarah Josepha Hale

This is Sarah Josepha Hale in 1831, portrait by James Reid Lambdin.

Sarah Hale is the woman who persistently lobbied for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in the United States. I mean, REALLY persistent. Here she tells President Abraham Lincoln that she has been writing about this effort for 15 years.

letter from Sarah Hale to President Abraham Lincoln


Philadelphia, September 28, 1863

Hon. Abraham Lincoln

President of the United States

Sir –

Permit me, as editor of the “Lady’s Book”, to request a few minutes of your precious time while laying before you a subject of deep interest to myself and as I trust even to the President of our Republic of some importance. This subject is to have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival…

…For the last fifteen years, I have set forth this idea in the “Lady’s Book” and placed the paper before the Governor of all the States and Territories…

She successfully persuaded Lincoln, and he made Thanksgiving a National holiday in 1863.


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