Thank you, Sarah

November 25, 2011 at 12:54 am

A picture of Sarah Josepha Hale is hanging in my living room. This is because Sarah is one of my heroines. Here’s why…

First of all, she wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and that is certainly something. But that’s not really why she’s so cool, it’s just an interesting little tidbit.

Sarah Josepha Hale was born in 1788 in New Hampshire, the daughter of a Revolutionary War veteran. As an adult, she became a writer and editor, and she used those talents to bring about wonderful things. I think that is the main reason I admire her, because I am a writer/editor who wants to do that too.

Sarah was the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book (a women’s magazine) for forty years. It was the most popular and highest circulating magazine for women during its time. Through the magazine, she promoted women’s education and advocated for women in their roles as wives and mothers. She did not retire from her work as an editor until she was 90 years old. And she wrote and wrote! By the time she died, Sarah had published nearly fifty volumes of her written work.

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I also love that Sarah gave us the official celebration of Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s thanks to her pen and persistence that we have a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of every November. I love the book Thank You, Sarah : The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson. I won’t spoil the story, ’cause it’s really fun to read (and the illustrations are absolutely hilarious), but I’ll just say that she wrote letters upon letters for 38 years trying to get the government to declare a national holiday for Thanksgiving, and finally somebody listened (Abraham Lincoln). I love how the book ends: “Pick up your pen. Change the world.”

Sarah was amazing, especially considering that she did all this as a widowed mother of five children (whom she homeschooled). She inspires me to do what she did—to use my pen and persistence to advocate for the causes I feel strongly about, to bring about great things.

I’ll end with something Sarah said herself: “There is no impossibility to him who stands prepared to conquer every hazard. The fearful are the failing.”

Love you, Sarah.