Thursday's holiday has Sarah Josepha Hale to thank for helping it get national recognition.
Thanksgiving before 1863 was something of a moveable feast, with states honoring the holiday at various times or not at all. But as the Civil War dragged on, Abraham Lincoln needed a way to unite the country. And Hale, a prominent magazine editor, persuaded him to declare a national holiday.
Hale, who was from New Hampshire, was a prolific writer of biographies, cookbooks, novels, editorials and volumes of poetry, including the children's rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Think back to an important event in your life: a graduation, a birth, a special Thanksgiving dinner. Chances are you're remembering not only what happened, but also where it happened. And now scientists think they know why.
As we form so-called episodic memories, the brain appears to be using special cells in the hippocampus to "geotag" each event, researchers report in Science. The process is similar to what some digital cameras do when they tag each picture with information about where the image was taken.
The Francisco Villa Public School is a big, cement block of a fortress in an eastern Tijuana neighborhood just south of the Mexico-U.S. border.
Many of the nearby houses are patched together out of discarded materials, like old garage doors. The roads are unpaved and deeply rutted.
The school bell pierces the dusty air as girls in pink jumpers and boys in navy sweaters stream out of class. For 45 middle school students here who were born in the United States, the sound of the bell is one of the few things that are familiar.
A new political storm is brewing in Egypt. It's over a law that bans unauthorized protest. Egyptian officials are taking to the airwaves to defend the law, in the face of fierce opposition from secular political activists. NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo.
Let's face it, while Thanksgiving get-togethers can be joyful, they can also be stressful. And if you're gearing up for a family gathering right now, you're likely awaiting the arrival of a few loved ones who may be a little hard to love sometimes.
Knowing that, we've called on Amy Dickinson, who writes the syndicated column "Ask Amy," for some advice on how to get through the holiday. Hey there, Amy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most prominent critics of the U.S. deal with Iran. While President Obama calls the agreement a breakthrough, Netanyahu calls it a "historic mistake." It's far from the first time the Israeli and American leaders have clashed.
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu took charge of their countries within a few months of each other. They were hardly a matched pair.
Amanda Maia was visiting Rio de Janeiro for the weekend earlier this month with her mother. It was a sunny day and so they went to Ipanema beach to catch some rays. She says she noticed a few groups of kids.
"There were lots of gangs, about 10, 15 children each; they were about 10 or 12 years old," Maia recalls.
At first, she says, they were just roaming the streets, checking people out. The ones she saw were smoking marijuana, too.
Major stock indexes have shot to record highs in the U.S. this year, gaining more than 20 percent, and yet economic growth remains at disappointing levels. A lot of analysts believe the stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve are behind the stock boom and a possible bubble.
A vote to ban fracking in Broomfield, a suburb of Denver, headed to a recount this month after the measure failed by just 13 votes. Broomfield was one of four Front Range towns considering limits or bans on the drilling procedure some fear may not be safe.