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A Detail of a Photographic Reproduction of J.L.G. Ferris's Early-20th Century Painting, 'First Thanksgiving.'
First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in American Memory features a timeline of historical events (beginning in 1541) that have produced the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today. Read the Continental Congress's proclamation (1782) recommending that "inhabitants of these states" observe a day of Thanksgiving. See anecdotes and recollections about attempts to celebrate Thanksgiving on the frontier in the 19th century. (Library of Congress)

Interesting fact: On September 28, 1863, magazine editor Sarah Hale wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln encouraging him to proclaim a national Thanksgiving Day. This was part of Hale's 17-year campaign to establish Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. More of the Thanksgiving timline.

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