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.