Letter from Attorney General George Cooper Gibbs to Governor Fred P. Cone Regarding the Date of Thanksgiving, October 6, 1939

Letter from Attorney General George Cooper Gibbs to Governor Fred P. Cone Regarding the Date of Thanksgiving, October 6, 1939


Honorable Fred P. Cone
Page 2.
is, the "day set apart" and not "days." I therefore construe the Act to mean that it was intended that only one day each year as "Thanksgiving Day" should be a legal holiday. The question then is which of the two days will be the legal holiday in Florida.
This is a question of first impression in this jurisdiction, and being without precedent, whatever conclusion is reached must be the result of an effort to determine the probable legislative intent.
It is obvious from a reading of the Act in question that any argument advanced in support of one of the days over the other is not without its weak points, and may be answered by argument of equal logic and force.
At the time of the enactment of Section 4846 of the Revised General Statues of 1920, and even down to the present year, the President of the United States and the Governor of the State had never set apart different days as the day of Thanksgiving, and the last Thursday in November has always been observed as "Thanksgiving Day."
It may be said that the Legislature realized in the enactment of Section 4846, Revised General Statues, 1920, that notwithstanding the precedent of both the President and the Governor setting aside the last Thursday in November each year as "Thanksgiving" Day, the time might come when, for good reason, it might be deemed expedient to break the precedent and change the date.


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


Letters (correspondence)


Depression Era Florida (1926-1940)

General Note

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.