"World War II-Kids Reenacting Thanksgiving." Image courtesy of the New York State Archives. (New York (State). Dept. of Health. Bureau of Communications Production. Photography Unit. Photographic prints and negatives of department officials, facilities, and activities, ca. 1920-1983. Series 14655-88, Box 58.)
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Blogging is probably going to be light during the next few days, so here are a few holiday-related links to tide you over:
- The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration offers a handy explanation and digitized records that detail how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday. The process wasn't as straightforward as you might think: for the first two thirds of the 19th century, the day of observance shifted around quite a bit, and in 1939 and 1940 some states celebrated it on the second to last Thursday of November while others waited until the last Thursday of the month. The current day of observance -- the fourth Thursday of November -- was enshrined in federal law in 1941. (Somewhere, someday, someone's going to win a trivia contest because s/he knows this.)
- The State Library of Massachusetts has posted on its blog a listing, with images, of some of its Thanksgiving-related holdings, which date from ca. 1650 to the present day. (If you're a Bay Stater, please let your legislators know that you're thankful for your State Library and that you want it to remain open! Contact info is here.)
- The Navy Department Library has digitized menus documenting Thanksgiving (and Christmas) meals served on several ships and at several bases from 1905-1950.
- The New York Public Library has digitized lots of great 19th and early 20th century Thanksgiving-related material: photos of parades and other observances, hotel and railroad menus, engravings and holiday postcards such as the Arts and Crafts beauty below.