Sarah Josepha Hale was born on October 24th 1788. We all know her for timeless nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb” but many don’t realize that she is the person behind my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving!
By the 1840’s many states had established an annual statewide celebration of day to give thanks but each state had their own day and this day varied from state to state. It was an American writer, activist and influential editor by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale who had the foresight to push for a nation wide day of thanksgiving. For 2-decades she pushed for the idea but it was never taken seriously, it wasn’t until the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln was in office that her idea was taken into serious consideration.
President Lincoln was dealing with a deeply divided and fractured nation due to the Civil War. President Lincoln delivered the nation’s first national Thanksgiving proclamation on October 3rd, 1863 at the height of the Civil War in an effort to heal the nation. Every subsequent President has delivered such a proclamation ever since and finally in 1941, Congress sealed the deal and made it a national holiday.
We can also attribute the tradition of eating turkey and pumpkin pies to Hale who offered her recipes as ideas for the holiday she sought to nationalize.... Thank you for the deliciousness.