Meet the Anti-Feminist Who Helped Invent Thanksgiving as We Know It


The New York Post published an article about the true founder of Thanksgiving and credited a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale with crafting the holiday as we know it.

The Pilgrims are said to have carried on the tradition of Thanksgiving but they only celebrated the holiday “sporadically” and never held it as a custom, according to the Post.

Hale was born in 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She raised five children after her husband passed away and had a love for family and food. She even wrote a novel called “Northwood” and had chapters entitled “A Thanksgiving Sermon,” “Thanksgiving Dinner” and “The Day After Thanksgiving.”

Author Jack David Eller wrote about Hale in his book “Inventing American Tradition” and told the Post she was an “anti-feminist” who loved domesticity.

“She was obviously, from her writing, a big advocate of New England culture, but she was also a big advocate of traditional female roles. She was an anti-feminist,” Eller told the Post. “She saw (Thanksgiving) as a very domestic thing to promote, (endorsing) women and families, and the woman as mother, wife and housekeeper. So she had a multi-pronged cultural agenda.”

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Hale also wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in a collection of 1830s poetry,” according to Eller.

Hale became an editor at the Boston-based Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1837 and stayed on the job for 40 years. During her time there she pushed for Thanksgiving to be recognized as a regional holiday and wrote editorials to make her case, the Post reported.

In 1860 Hale lobbied President Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday and three years later, he issued a presidential proclamation.

Hale lived to be 90 years old.

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