Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving "Holiday" History

There would be no Thanksgiving if not for
Sarah Josepha Hale...
When we think of Thanksgiving, the traditional story of Plymouth's Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to give thanks for a bountiful harvest most often comes to mind. This celebration occurred in 1621, while the U.S. was still a colony under British rule.
However, long after America earned her independence, the significance of Thanksgiving remained unrealized. In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale began a 40-year campaign, lobbying five presidents to designate Thanksgiving a national holiday. Finally, in 1863, her persistence paid off, when Abraham Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the last Thursday of every November a national day of thanks.
Hale's legacy remains with us in many other ways to be celebrated this Thanksgiving. Widowed and penniless at the age of thirty-four with five small children to raise, Hale was determined to ensure her family's survival. She became the first editor of the first national woman's magazine, Godey's Lady's Book. She was the first to start daycare nurseries for working women, and the first to campaign for equal education for girls, helping to organize Vassar College. Hale insisted on the term "domestic science" to decribe the noble art of housewifery, and introduced the word "lingerie" into the English language as a way to catergorize a woman's underwardrobe. She raised money both to complete the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and to preserve Mount Vernon as a national historic site. The author of numerous books and poems, perhaps her most famous remains "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Hale died on April 30, 1879 at the ripe old age of ninety, and was interred in Laurel Hill's Section X, Lot 61. Without question, Sarah Josepha Hale has earned our thanks this Thanksgiving for her remarkable contributions to man, woman and country.
During this season of thanks and giving, the Friends of Laurel Hill thank youfor your support and interest in Laurel Hill Cemetery, and extend our very best wishes for a happy, healthy and memorable Thanksgiving holiday.
Laurel Hill Cemetery will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, and will reopen on
Friday, November 23. Join us at 10am for our Fourth Friday Walking Tour.

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