With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, we thought we would share a bit of Thanksgiving history.
Thanksgiving has been an American tradition for many years. In 1621 the pilgrims with the Wampanoags held a three day celebration. Only half of the people who came to America on the Mayflower had survived. These survivors, including 4 women and several children, gave thanks for the harvest that would help them live through the next winter.
George Washington proclaimed a Thanksgiving in December 1777 as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga. In October 1789, President Washington created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America. Several Thanksgiving Days were proclaimed in the following years, not all of them in the autumn.
New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom in 1817. By the middle of the 19th century, 25 states and two territories celebrated a Thanksgiving Day.
President Lincoln, in 1863, was the first president to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday at the behest of Sarah Josepha Hale, who had spent 40 years writing to congressmen, lobbying five presidents, and writing countless editorials in her campaign to create an official day of thanks.
Every president since Lincoln has declared a Thanksgiving Day. For most years it has been the fourth Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 and 1941 declared it to be the third Thursday in November so that the Christmas shopping season would be longer. This aroused such uproar that he changed it back to the fourth Thursday.
To find out more about Thanksgiving the library has many books about the holiday. You can check out books about Thanksgiving crafts, traditions, and stories of the pilgrims. We also have a great selection of cookbooks if you want to add something special to your feast. Many popular authors for adults and children, including Janet Evanovich, Eve Bunting, Jennifer Chiaverini and Dav Pilkey, have written books that include the Thanksgiving holiday.