Two Thanksgivings

Gov. Leon C. Phillips said Oklahoma would stick to the customary Thanksgiving date:
“It will be the last Thursday in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942. After that, I don’t care what they do about it.” (Phillips would no longer be governor.)
As it turned out, many Oklahomans got two Thanksgiving holidays in 1939.
Tulsa city attorney H.O. Bland advised Mayor Truman A. Penney that both days must be observed, citing Oklahoma statutes that “every day appointed by the president of the United States or the governor of the state is hereby set aside as a legal holiday.
“This means that the president’s Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 is a legal holiday and that Nov. 30, decreed as Thanksgiving day by Gov. Phillips, also is a legal holiday,” Bland said.
The Tulsa post office sided with the governor and remained open on Nov. 23, closing on Nov. 30. Rural mail was delivered on Nov. 30, but not on Nov. 23.
Tulsa city, county and federal offices (except the postal department) took double holidays. Libraries were closed both days but schools observed the traditional holiday. Quail hunters got an extra holiday.
Some oil companies also observed both holidays, because federal wage-and-hour laws require them to pay time-and-a-half for legal holidays.
In 1940, the holiday confusion continued and some Tulsa businesses complained that the attempt to increase holiday sales had backfired.
“It gave us two bad days last year and two bad days this year, instead of just one a year,” one retailer said. “Chief achievement of the shakeup to date is injury to the last two weeks’ business in November.”
To end the controversy, Congress established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on Dec. 26, 1941.