The history of Presidents' Day can be traced back to the late 1700s. People began celebrating George Washington's birthday (February 22) while he was still president. About a hundred years later, his birthday became a federal holiday. Meanwhile, many people celebrated Abraham Lincoln's birthday, February 12, in the year of his assassination (1865) and afterward, though Lincoln's birthday never became a federal holiday.
Both Washington and Lincoln were great presidents. Washington helped to hold the country together during the Revolutionary War, and Lincoln, to bring it back together after the Civil War. But all of our presidents have served our country and worked to make our lives better.
Since the passage of the Monday Holidays Act, Washington's birthday has been celebrated on the third Monday in February. President Nixon called the holiday "Presidents' Day" to honor all past presidents. Many states and people have followed his example, though "Washington's Birthday" is still the holiday's legal name for the federal government. But under any name, it's a great day to celebrate everything that our past presidents, including Washington and Lincoln, have done for our nation.
How well do you know the presidents on the coins in your pocket? Find out with our new game, "Presidential Portraits." Just match the clues you get with a presidential head or the "heads" side of a coin. Great fun—and the clues are never the same twice!
What better way to celebrate past Presidents than with the Presidential $1 Coin Program? Find out more about the program in its special section of The Coins Are Coming!
Inspector Collector is well aware of the presidents on our coins! In fact, he needs your help in solving case number 6, "Name the Presidents!"
Teachers, you can find some great classroom projects in Coin Curricula—educational materials related to each of our circulating coins.
The coins we spend today haven't always looked this way. Get the stories of our current circulating coins as quick as a click.