Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a tradition long associated with family, feasting, and faith. It is also, as Melanie Kirkpatrick told the audience at the Conservative Women’s Network luncheon this month, “the holiday at the heart of the American experience,” which is the subtitle of her new book.

Melanie’s new book contains many insightful and entertaining stories into the holiday tradition: How football became associated with Thanksgiving. How the staff of President John F. Kennedy responded (with considerable humor) to the age-old debate over the location of the “first” Thanksgiving: Virginia or Massachusetts. And, of course, a whole chapter of her book is devoted to “the dinner.”

During her presentation, Melanie told of the woman called “the godmother of Thanksgiving,” Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879). This prolific writer and poet (she authored Mary Had a Little Lamb) used her position as editor of a women’s magazine to brilliantly campaign for a nationally-sanctioned Thanksgiving holiday. Sarah published many Thanksgiving-focused stories and recipes (perhaps the first magazine editor to do so), even as she pursued a lifelong letter-writing campaign lobbying public officials for the holiday.

On this Thanksgiving eve, we at the Luce Institute wish everyone a safe and blessed Thanksgiving! And we hope you enjoy hearing more of Melanie’s comments in the video below.

Happy Thanksgiving!