Women have been part of Thanksgiving since its beginnings. But, it was Sarah Josepha Hale who campaigned for over three decades to have it observed as a national holiday. Hale was author of many pieces, most notably the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and editor of the Ladies’ Book magazine. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians.
Finally, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be observed on final Thursday of November. It was celebrated on that day every year until 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Many opposed Roosevelt’s plan, and in 1941, he reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
Another woman, Lydia Maria Child, penned the words to the most famous Thanksgiving song. "Over the River and Through the Wood" was originally written as a poem entitled "A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day" and appeared in her Flowers for Children, Volume 2, in 1844. It is sometimes presented as a song about Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving, because of references to a cold, wintry day.
- To read the poem, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day”, click here.
- To read Sarah Josepha Hale’s letter to Abraham Lincoln, click here.
- To read one of many editorials written by Sarah Josepha Hale regarding Thanksgiving, click here.
- To read more about Thanksgiving go to the History Channel.
Torchbearer Nominations Deadline is December 14, 2012
The Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) is seeking nominations for the 2013 Torchbearer Awards. The State of Indiana’s most prestigious recognition of women, Indiana Torchbearers are those women who have stepped forward as leaders by breaking down barriers to women’s full participation.
Selection will be based on the recipients’ demonstrated achievement in the areas of their professional careers, community leadership and/or public service. Recipients must be living at the time of their nomination. Nominations will be evaluated with considerable attention given to those women who have been pioneers, have removed barriers and/or have made a considerable impact to the advancement of women in Indiana.
Click here to download the nomination form and guidelines. Submitted nomination forms are due on or before Friday, December 14, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Recipients of the 2013 Torchbearer Awards will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on March 6, 2013.
No Change in Number of Women Serving in Indiana General Assembly
The Indiana Commission for Women has published its 2012 Women in the Indiana General Assembly, for the third time. When the Indiana General Assembly convenes in January 2013, it will have 31 women (20.6 percent) among its 150 members. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, Indiana currently ranks 33rd in the nation for the proportion of women in its Legislature. The new Legislature will include 29 women elected to the General Assembly on November 6, 2012. With those elected, there is a zero gain of women serving because even though women gained two seats in the House of Representatives, they lost two seats in the Senate.
Results from the 2011 Municipal elections also show a zero gain in the number of women serving in elected offices with some counties gaining and other counties losing women in elected offices. Both reports have been compiled by the Indiana Commission for Women as a part of Hoosier Women Lead and can be found at: http://www.in.gov/icw/2415.htm.
Of the seven statewide elected executive offices, two women will begin their tenure in January. Indiana will continue to have a woman serving as Lt. Governor when Sue Ellspermann steps into that office in January as the third woman and second elected to hold the office of Lt. Governor. Glenda Ritz will serve as Superintendent of Public Instruction; the second woman to hold that position.
At the national level, two women will be representing Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jackie Walorski (R) will represent the 2nd Congressional District and Susan Brooks (R) will represent the 5th Congressional Districts. They will be two of only seven women to serve at the federal level in the 197 years that Indiana has been a state and the first Republican women to serve in sixty-four years. No woman has served as a U.S. Senator from Indiana.
About the Indiana Commission for Women
The Indiana Commission for Women is committed to the full participation of women in all aspects of society in order to live, work and raise a family. ICW works to move Indiana women forward by understanding the needs of Indiana women and their families and by working strategically both within government and in our communities to help bring about positive solutions. We act as the voice of women, communicating their needs and concerns as well as their successes and contributions, so that they can become better connected to their communities and to the tools, resources and opportunities needed to find their own voice.