Washington’s Birthday has been a national holiday since 1885.
In 1968, when Congress was considering a shuffle of three-day weekends with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, some Illinois lawmakers tried to get the February holiday stretched to cover Abe Lincoln by calling it “Presidents Day.” But according to an account in the National Archives Prologue Magazine, Virginia legislators, jealous of their state’s prerogatives, blocked the change and maintained Washington as First in Our Hearts, First in the National League East, and First in Special-Today-Only Used Car Discounts.
But this got us thinking. As OPM notes above, the states can do what they want. Illinois recognizes Lincoln’s Birthday as a separate state holiday, for instance. This year they celebrated it on Feb. 12.
Are there any other presidents – besides Abe and George – who have special state days unnoticed by the nation at large?
Yes there are! In Texas, Aug. 27 is recognized as Lyndon Baines Johnson day. That’s the date of LBJ’s actual birthday. State agencies aren’t completely closed that day, but only skeleton crews are required. (Everybody else is home trying to make it through Robert Caro’s Alamo-sized LBJ bio, perhaps.)