A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1863--Pardon a Turkey or deliver the Address?

Souce: National Archives
On November 26, 1863, America celebrated its first thanksgiving as a nation.
Granted, Thanksgivings were commemorated for nearly 250 years before that and on that Thursday in '63 we were still emmeshed in a Civil War. But ... Lincoln's Proclamation on October 3, 1863 set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens". Prior to that, each state set when to observe the holiday. An editor from Godey's Lady Book had been lobbying presidents for almost 20 years for a national holiday and it was Lincoln who complied.
FDR would formally move the holiday up one week in 1939 in a attempt to spur Christmas sales. 1939 would end up with two Thanksgiving days as a result. If Lincoln would have set that day, Thanksgiving would have fallen on the Thursday he delivered the Gettysburg Address! Just thought that was interesting to note.
Above is the first page of Lincoln's proclamation, below, the final two pages. It is commonly accepted that Secretary of State Seward penned the proclamation for Lincoln's signature.

Note: the title is a little deceptive since the proclamation was issued on October 3 and Lincoln's invitation to speak at Gettysburg probably came later (the first Lincoln mentions his plans to attend the event at Gettysburg is October 30). Take it as a writer's perogotive...but it got you to read the blog, didn't it?


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