Earlier this month, a few news outlets ran a story about a rare document signed by George Washington up for auction at Christie’s. According to a Christie’s spokesperson, the item in question had the potential to fetch $8 to $12 million, potentially setting a record for the most expensive American manuscript ever sold at auction. No one bought the document, but that doesn’t mean its historical value is destined to be lost.
The document is one of two known surviving copies – and the Library of Congress has the other. What makes this article so valuable and significant? The document is a proclamation establishing the first federal Thanksgiving Day!
The proclamation, signed by the first U.S. president on Oct. 3, 1789, in New York states: “both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer …”
You can read the full transcription here.
The Library of Congress is home to the papers of George Washington.
The Library of Congress has one of the most extensive preservation programs for library materials in the world. Each year the Library’s preservation staff provides preservation treatment for countless objects in its collection of more than 155 million items. The Conservation Division cares for the Library’s special collections, including rare books and manuscripts, works of […]
On Friday, November 22, 1963, the students in Mrs. Maxwell’s third-grade class at Sabin Elementary School in southwest Denver got a singular history lesson: the news came in that President John F. Kennedy had been murdered. Janet Maxwell, a popular young instructor who taught 25 kids reading, math, science and history by turns, was trying […]
Mexican anthropologist and historian Miguel León-Portilla is the newest recipient of the Library of Congress Living Legend Award for his work in studying the Náhuatl language and literature — the ancient, still-spoken tongue of the Aztecs. The award will be conferred upon León-Portill at the Library’s “Celebration of Mexico”on Dec. 12. The Living Legend Award honors those who have […]
As the world turns its sympathy toward the Philippine islands devastated, just days ago, by the largest typhoon in recorded history, a fascinating fact has emerged and moved explosively across the Internet: Just over a century ago, those same islands – indeed that same nearly destroyed town on the island of Leyte, Tacloban – were […]
A 10-year veteran of the film and television production industry, Jonathan Hennessey is a Los Angeles-based writer. Hennessey is the author of “The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation,” on which he collaborated with illustrator Aaron McConnell. In their newest work, “The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation,” the duo commemorate the 150th anniversary of this […]
One in 10 people living in the United States of America is of Mexican origin. One in five Americans is Hispanic. The Library of Congress is hosting a special “Celebration of Mexico” next month to honor this segment of the population and provide some important educational opportunities along the way. The Library has the largest […]
On Tuesday, the Library of Congress celebrated the life and work of noted astronomer and educator Carl Sagan with an event that featured a veritable who’s who of the science community. The event also launched the official opening of The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive to the public at the […]
On Nov. 19, 1862 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery at the Civil War battlefield. One of the most famous speeches in American history, the speech is recognized as a literary masterpiece. In three short paragraphs—some 270 words—Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored […]
(The following is a guest post from Michelle Springer in the Office of Strategic Initiatives.) On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, you’re invited to a special public event. Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C., […]