My friend Janne Henshaw and I were talking late one night last week about Thanksgiving songs. We were going to present some to our friends at the St.Clair senior center, and we were going over some titles and possibilities, and chatting about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Later, I looked online for information on Thanksgiving, and found a remarkable editorial, urging the establishment of a national Thanksgiving holiday, written in 1850 by Sarah Josepha Hale. The daughter of a revolutionary war captain, she became a popular novelist and poet and then became the editor of Godeys Lady Book.
(1788-1879) Sarah Josepha Hale
Godey’s Lady’s Book appeared under seven different titles during its sixty-eight year history (1830-1898). Sarah Hale was its editor for forty of those years (1837-1877) and is credited with having a great influence over the reading, learning, and even political consciousness of women across America. Godey’s was the highest circulating and most popular women’s magazine of the era. Between 1839 and 1860, circulation rose from 25,000 to 150,000. The editorials wielded considerable influence over a large readership; Hale used Godey’s to campaign for Thanksgiving as a national holiday until Lincoln made it official in 1863.
Looking over the editorial, which included a lovely poem/prayer, I picked up my guitar and the words fell into place. I called my friend Doc West, went over and recorded this song with a simple guitar track, and he added some guitar and drums. As usual I hope you enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.