Holiday lawlibrary

Happy Thanksgiving!

Former President Franklin Roosevelt is celebrating Thanksgiving dinner here in 1939.

The Law Library is Closed today, November 27, 2014, as Thanksgiving is a Court Holiday.  The Law Library will be open tomorrow, Friday, November 28, 2014. A list of Court Holidays is available on the Circuit Court’s website.

The celebration of Thanksgiving as an official holiday in the United States has an interesting history.  In 1777, the first national Thanksgiving was declared by the Continental Congress.  The United States celebrated its first Thanksgiving holiday in 1789 pursuant to a proclamation issued by former President George Washington that established Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin”.

Subsequent presidents issued similar proclamations, but with varying dates for celebration. Former President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation established the last Thursday of November as the day of the celebration, but, in 1939, due to economic concerns deriving from a shortened Christmas shopping season as a result of Thanksgiving’s celebration date, former President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November, which lengthened the Christmas shopping season.  Thirty-two states followed the federal government’s lead, but sixteen states did not.  Thus, Thanksgiving was celebrated on two different days throughout the country until 1941 when Roosevelt signed a joint resolution from Congress establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the federal holiday. More information, including featured documents, such as the 1941 Joint Resolution, is available at

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