STATE OF FLORIDA OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
October 6, 1939
Honorable Fred P. Cone
In your letter of the 4th instant, you state that the President of the United States has declared November 23rd as Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and that you intend setting aside November 30th as Thanksgiving Day. You state that a great many of the banks are in a dilemma as to whether both November 23rd and November 30th will be legal holidays in the State, and thereupon you ask my opinion as to whether both days will be legal holidays, or just the day set aside in the State. I assume, of course, the latter refers to the day set aside by you.
Holidays are legal holidays because made so by law. The Legislature of Florida by the enactment of what is now Section 4846 of the Revised General Statutes of 1920 brought forward in the Compiled General Laws of Florida, 1927, as Section 6932, has designated certain days as legal holidays, including "the day set apart each year by the President of the United States or the Governor of Florida as 'Thanksgiving Day'." This Act is amended by Chapter 16067, Laws of Florida, Acts 1933, to include Armistice Day, but the provision designating Thanksgiving Day as a legal holiday was not thereby changed.
The question as to whether both November 23rd, the day set apart by the President, and November 30th, the day set apart by you, will be legal holidays seems to be settled by the language of the Act, that
State Archives of Florida: Series 368, Box 91, Folder 5
Attorney General George Couper Gibbs advising the governor as to which day of the year Thanksgiving should fall on. The attorney general states that the day proclaimed by the president is the legal holiday.
October 6, 1939
Gibbs, George Couper, 1879-1946
Depression Era Florida (1926-1940)
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation moving the Thanksgiving holiday from the last Thursday of November to the second to last Thursday of the month to extend the holiday shopping season. The holiday was changed from November 30, the last day of the month, to November 23. Thirty-two states issued similar proclamations, but 16 states refused to make the change. Florida Governor Fred P. Cone decided not to move the date forward and left the holiday on its traditional day. The governor's decision received both praise and opposition, with many wanting to keep with tradition, while others criticized the governor for creating confusion throughout the state. Many Florida organizations chose one date to celebrate the holiday, while others recognized both days as Thanksgiving. The dispute remained unresolved in 1940 and 1941. The issue was finally settled on December 26, 1941, when President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution declaring the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.