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Thanksgiving: Topics in Chronicling America

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November 1863 as Thanksgiving to create unity in a broken country. This guide provides access to material related to "Thanksgiving" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Thanksgivings that we're not so popular. November 24, 1912. Times dispatch (Richmond, VA), Image 42. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

After several years of grueling Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaims the last Thursday of November 1863 to be set aside as a day of Thanksgiving in order to create a sense of unity in the broken country. The tradition became widespread in the 1870s, and to this day, people all across the United States celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaims Thanksgiving a national holiday, to be celebrated the last Thursday of November.
Fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving is celebrated.