Thanksgiving is considered the most anticipated holiday of the year and is celebrated once a year. But do you know who is known as the mother of Thanksgiving as well as the history of Thanksgiving? Here, we’ll dig into some little-known Thanksgiving facts to have a deeper understanding of this holiday.
Who is known as the mother of Thanksgiving
When it comes to Thanksgiving, most Americans think of a semi-mythical 17th-century feast shared by pilgrims and Native Americans. Fewer may know that the modern version of a nationwide Thanksgiving holiday didn’t truly come about until the late 19th century.
It was 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared “a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise,” the culmination of a 36-year campaign begun by a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale.
Who was Sarah Josepha Buell Hale?
Hale was born in New Hampshire in 1788. She showed a clear talent for writing, and when her husband passed away in 1822, she made use of those skills to provide for her five young kids. After publishing a wide selection of poems in the mid-1820s, Hale became the literary editor of a women’s magazine later known as Godey’s Lady’s Book.
In 1830, Hale wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” formerly known as “Mary’s Lamb,” and helped established the American Ladies Magazine, which she used as a platform to promote women’s problems
In 1837, she was offered a job as the editorship of Godey’s Lady Book, where she would remain for over 40 years, herding the magazine to a circulation of over 150,000 before the Civil War and turning it into one of the most widely-read magazines in the nation. Sarah also became one of America’s most influential voices.
According to Melanie Kirkpatrick’s history of the occasion, Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience, "in addition to publishing editorials in Godey’s Lady’s Book, Hale would promote her campaign by publishing Thanksgiving-themed poems, tales of families happily dining together, and recipes for autumnal fare like roast turkey, pumpkin pie and sweet potato pudding, to make people hunger for a day when they could eat all of these delicious foods."
Asides from her publishing work, Hale was a dedicated advocate for women’s education. Hale was not a feminist. She did not believe in women’s suffrage, nor did she believe that women could do all jobs just as well as men. But she strongly believed that the status of women should be improved and that girls must be well educated. As she stated in the 1856 editorial:
“The companion of man should be able thoroughly to sympathize with him and her intellect should be as well developed as his. We do not believe in the mental inequality of the sexes, we believe that the man and the woman have each a work to do, for which they are specially qualified, and in which they are called to excel. Though the work is not the same, it is equally noble, and demands an equal exercise of capacity.”
Hale often celebrated an annual Thanksgiving holiday, and in 1827, she published a novel named Northwood: A Tale of New England, which included a complete chapter about the fall tradition. When she was at Godey’s, Hale wrote editorials and articles about the holiday and she lobbied state and national officials to enact legislation creating a fixed, national day of thanks on the last Thursday of November.
She also launched a letter-writing campaign to members of Congress, governors, and Presidents.
Hale assumed that such a unifying approach could help defuse growing tensions and divisions between the North and South of the nation. Her efforts finally paid off: By 1854, over 30 states and territories of the United States had celebrated Thanksgiving on the books, but Hale’s vision of a national holiday had yet to be realized.
The idea of National Thanksgiving did not start from Hale, and in fact, the concept had been around since the earliest days of the republic. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress issued announcements multiple days of thanks in order to honor military victories.
In 1789, newly inaugurated President George Washington called for a national day of thanks to commemorating both the end of the war and the recent ratification of the United States Constitution. Both John Adams and James Madison made similar claims of their own, although co-founder Thomas Jefferson felt the religious connotations surrounding the event were not appropriate for a nation founded on the separation between church and state, and no official announcement was issued after 1815.
However, the outbreak of war in April 1861 could not prevent Sarah Josepha Hale’s efforts to create such a holiday. She continued to write editorials on the subject, asking Americans to “put aside divisive emotions and local incidents” and gather around the unifying cause of Thanksgiving. And the holiday continued, notwithstanding the hostility, in both the Union and the Confederacy.
For Hale, Thanksgiving is a great way to collapse the physical distance between families.
“[Though] the members of the same family might be too far separated to meet around one festive board, they would have the gratification of knowing that all were enjoying the feast. From the St. Johns to the Rio Grande, from the Atlantic to the Pacific border, the telegraph of human happiness would move every heart to gladness simultaneously … ” Hale wrote in an 1851 editorial.
Cool Thanksgiving gift ideas for your dearest ones
Thanksgiving is also a great opportunity to give thanks to the things and the ones you cherish. This Thanksgiving, show your appreciation and gratitude to your loved ones with a small gift. Here, we’ve put together a list of cool Thanksgiving presents for your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, son, uncle, friends, coworkers, boss, and more. You can rest assured that you won’t shell out too much money because all these gift ideas are affordable and great.
Let Thanks And Giving Be More Than Just A Season Shirt$15.99
Garden Shirt Plants Music Notes$15.99
Turkey Nurse Shirt Stethoscope Happy Thanksgiving$15.99
Made In 1975 Shirt Limited Edition$15.99
Teacherlife Shirt Thankful For My Little Turkeys$15.99
Rex Dinosaur Shirt Rawr Turkey Happy Thanksgiving$15.99
A word from Tshirt at Low Price
Hopefully, this post helps you know who is known as the mother of Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, Thanksgiving funny quotes, or easy Thanksgiving recipes, check out our Thanksgiving Guide.
|How the ‘Mother of Thanksgiving’ Lobbied Abraham Lincoln to Proclaim the National Holiday- History.com|
|Thanksgiving Wasn’t Always a National Holiday. This Woman Made It Happen- time.com|