Photo of the Week
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
Thanksgiving Postcard, c. 1916
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Thanksgiving Postcard, c. 1916. (Image from the Postcard Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
This Thanksgiving greeting was sent in 1916 from Rhode Island to “Miss Ruth Verity” of Greenport. The Thanksgiving menu of the time period, according to the images displayed on the postcard, featured Green Sea Turtle Soup, Baked Blue Fish, Turkey with Oysters, Peas, Beets, Carrots, Potatoes, Apples, Pumpkin Pie, Ginger Cake, Cider, Water, Milk, and Coffee.
It was not until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation making Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. Before then Thanksgiving was celebrated at random, according to the whims of local town or state governments. Lincoln was no doubt persuaded, at least in part, by the relentless campaigning of Sarah J. Hale, editor of the nineteenth-century American women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, who pleaded with officials for over fifteen years for the nationalization of the holiday.
Today’s Thanksgiving celebration is a blending of three earlier traditions: the English custom of celebrating a successful harvest, religious observances that combined both prayer and feasting, and the commemoration of the Pilgrims Landing known as Forefathers Day. In New York, one of the best-known holiday customs is the Macy’s New York City Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The Suffolk County Historical Society wishes all of our members, friends, supporters, and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday!
Holiday Closure: We will be closed on Nov. 25-27, 2021, and will reopen on Weds., Dec. 1 at 10:00 a.m.