Presidents Day: Stay Home, Do Some Reading

A lot of people have the day off for a holiday that doesn't actually exist

The birthday celebration of two of our most notable presidents is a holiday for nearly all of government, so don't plan to register your car or get a backup birth certificate today.

Township offices are closed. Schools are, too. County, state and federal offices are shut down. Congress is even off today. There will be no mail delivered and no trash picked up.

With all this time off, you'd think Presidents Day was a big deal. But it doesn't actually exist as a federal holiday.

The official name of the federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is Washington’s Birthday. Abraham Lincoln, born on Feb. 12, doesn't even enter the picture.

There are several states that officially recognize Presidents Day. But New Jersey is a little wishy-washy on the holiday. While it does recognize Presidents Day as an holiday in terms of a day off, the state statutes tell another story.

Title 36 of the New Jersey State Statutes, entitled Legal Holidays, officially recognizes Lincoln's Birthday, Feb. 12, as a state holiday and the third Monday in February as Washington's Birthday, which is actually Feb. 22. There is no Presidents Day at all in the law.

 When the state does refer to Presidents, it does so without an apostrophe, in keeping with the Associated Press stylebook entry for the correct spelling of the day

You may see it spelled President's Day, which is roundly condemned by nearly all grammar geeks, or Presidents' Day, meaning plural and possessive, which is the way preferred by the Chicago Manual of Style.

The day that recognizes the two presidents aside, Lincoln and Washington left behind tomes of reading material, giving us a glimpse of how their thoughts shaped the course of our country. Below is a small list of reading material on two of our greatest presidents:


The Papers of George Washington.

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress


The Writings of Abraham Lincoln — Volume 1: 1832-1843

The Gettysburg Address

The Letters of Abraham Lincoln


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