You’re in law school, so we know you’ve thought at least once about the legal history of Thanksgiving (that is, when you’re not thinking about family, turkey, and an extended break from classes). Did you know, for instance, that President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin’”, but that Thanksgiving did not become an official holiday until an 1863 proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln? Or that FDR issued a Presidential Proclamation in 1939 moving Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday in November? (Congress changed it back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1941.)
Read more about the history – both legal and otherwise – of this favorite American holiday at the following links:
- History of Thanksgiving (History.com)
- Congress Establishes Thanksgiving (Archives.gov)
- First Thanksgiving Dinner: No Turkey. No Ladies. No Pie. (NPR)
- The Definitive History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon (whitehouse.gov)
- Thanksgiving with the Presidents (whitehouse.gov)
Please note that the Law Library will have limited hours on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and will close on Thursday the 27th in observance of the holiday. We will reopen on Friday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m and reference services will resume on Monday, Dec. 1. For a complete holiday schedule please visit http://law.pepperdine.edu/library/location-hours/hours.htm.
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the holiday break!