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Giving Thanks

Home for Thanksgiving, 1898

Home for Thanksgiving, 1898

Item 6890 info
Maine Historical Society

The 13 American colonies celebrated Thanksgiving in 1777, in part to observe their victory over the British at Saratoga.

President George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. President Thomas Jefferson declined to do the same when he was president.

Thanksgiving did become a national holiday, however, in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as a day of thanks.

The painting at left by Seth W. Steward (1844-1924), a native of Monson, entitled "Home for Thanksgiving," depicts what quickly became a tradition around the holiday: returning home for a family celebration.

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