Author: Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

Sarah Josepha Hale, by James Reid Lambdin, 1831

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788–1879) was an influential American editor, author (she wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), and champion of education for women. Widowed in 1822 with five children to support, Hale took up a literary career, publishing a book of poems in 1823 and assuming the editorship of Ladies’ Magazine in 1828.  She would go on to edit Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1837, which would become the most widely circulated women’s magazine in the country, and to assume a leading role in the establishment of Vassar College.

Excerpt from Northwood

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

This excerpt, taken from the 1852 edition of her popular 1827 novel, Northwood, is the first of three selections from the writings of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788–1879), the influential American editor, author (she wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), and champion of education for women.

Letter to President Abraham Lincoln, 1863

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

In this letter, written on September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale takes her campaign on behalf of a national Thanksgiving holiday directly to the President of the United States. Five days later, Abraham Lincoln responded by issuing the presidential proclamation for the first of what has become 150 years of unbroken celebrations of Thanksgiving as an official national American holiday.

Our National Thanksgiving

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

In this 1858 editorial from Godey’s Lady’s Book, its editor Sarah Josepha Buell Hale appeals directly, this time in her own name, for a national day of Thanksgiving. After opening with two stanzas of the Protestant hymn “Praise to God, Immortal Praise,” which indicates the things for which we should offer “grateful vows and solemn praise,” Hale offers the reasons for and benefits of having a national day of thanksgiving.

The Soldier of the Revolution

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

While many remembrances of war emphasize events of the battlefield, it is important to keep in mind the costs of war to loved ones left behind, as well as the sacrifices soldiers make in leaving them. These costs and sacrifices are poignantly presented in this story by Sarah Josepha Hale (1788–1879), first published in her Sketches of American Character.