Grover Cleveland’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Courtesy of RAAB Collection

In honor of the holiday upon us, here's a fun look at Thanksgiving past. By the time Grover Cleveland took office, the nation had been celebrating the holiday "officially" for more than twenty years, since Lincoln signed a proclamation in 1863 stating, "I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving." Roosevelt fixed the date into law in 1941.

Shown here is Cleveland's signed proclamation, declaring, "I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday the 26th of November instant as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer, and do invoke the observance of the same by all the people of the land." Every president's official proclamation is housed at the National Archives, but presidents often sign extra copies to be distributed to officials. This is one such copy, currently offered by the Raab Collection in Ardmore, PA, for $9,000.

Raab just sold another Thanksgiving treasure, the first-ever Thanksgiving proclamation by a man holding the title president of the United States, John Hanson, in 1782.

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!