November 24, 2010

What Do The Histories of Vassar And Thanksgiving Have In Common?

It's the time of year again for our annual post on Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who is responsible for Vassar's name and the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Hale, the editor of a popular women's journal at the time, suggested to the Trustees that they remove the word "Female" from the original name of the school, "Vassar Female College." Ever notice the empty space between the slates for Vassar and College above the entrance to Main? Another tablet used to hang in the middle.

Hale's Thanksgiving letter to Lincoln 
But Hale's influence doesn't stop there. She wrote an editorial in the mid-1800s suggesting that President Lincoln make Thanksgiving an official holiday on the last Thursday of November. Lincoln did so, and voilĂ : the holiday as we know it today.

So as you're stuffing your face tomorrow, remember to give thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale!

Update: Yahoo News had a video feature on Hale's contribution. Apparently Hale also wrote the song "Mary Had a Little Lamb."


Lolo said...

According to this conveniently-timed Yahoo video, she also wrote "Mary had a Little Lamb." What a badass!

Lolo said...