Profile of the Day: Sarah Josepha Hale

Posted October 24, 2022 by Amanda | No Comment

Remember the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”? On this day in 1788, writer Sarah Josepha Hale was born.

Image: Sarah Josepha Hale / Wikimedia Commons

Hale was born Sarah Josepha Buell on October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire to captain Gordon Buell and Martha Whittlesay. She was homeschooled by her mother and elder brother and later became a teacher at a local school. In 1813, she married lawyer David Hale and together they had five children. After her husband died in 1822, Hale began working as a writer to help support her family. She successfully published collections of poems and novels, and later became the first female editor of a magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book, one of the most widely circulated magazines in the period before the American Civil War. In 1830, Hale published her collection Poems for Our Children, which included her most famous nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Did you know Hale is also responsible for the creation of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S? For 17 years, she campaigned to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the country. As part of her campaign, she wrote letters to five Presidents, but it was not until her letter in 1863 to President Abraham Lincoln that finally convinced the President to support legislation to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Hale died on April 30, 1879 at the age of 90.

Explore Sarah Josepha Hale’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related to the American writer.

View Sarah Josepha Hale’s Geni Profile

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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