Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Massachusetts: [n.p.], 1863.
Broadside. 28 x 20 inche Mounted on cloth, folded in quarters, minor splitting a center fold; light soiling and edgewear with minor chips (without loss of text), very light annotations in ink on verso (visible to recto right margin). Overall an excellent example of this rare and important broadside. $18,500.00
First printing of the first proclamation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This original broadside produced in Massachusetts is formatted in two halves, the top being Governor John A. Andrew's announcement of Lincoln's Proclamation dated July 27, 1863, and the bottom being Lincoln's actual proclamation dated July 15, 1863, announcing that August 6 shall be set aside as a National Day of Thanksgiving. Though the exact printing date is unknown, it can be assumed that it was printed within the week following July 27.
Thanksgiving was observed as a holiday since colonial times and each state would set aside its own day for celebration. This proclamation was the first time that the holiday would be celebrated on a set day nationwide, making it the first observed Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
Later the same year, on October 3, 1863, Lincoln made a second proclamation again announcing Thanksgiving as a holiday, but this time in November, a date closer to the time most states had been celebrating it in the past. This earlier proclamation is actually the first time Thanksgiving was given national status, but because the second proclamation was widely accepted, the knowledge of this earlier one has been somewhat forgotten, making this piece a rare and important document in the annals of American history.
Though this broadside is for the State of Massachusetts, no other broadsides from any other states announcing this date are known to exist, and only three other copies of this rare document are located through OCLC.