March 25, 2017

Today in History: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkey
Today in History–November 25–the Library of Congress features Thanksgiving, celebrated by the pilgrims as early as 1621 to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. According to the Library, “Throughout the colonial period and into the 19th century, official days of feasting and fasting commemorated periods of good and poor fortune.” In 1789, George Washington made the first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation. Seventy-four years later, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November national Thanksgiving Day. Learn more about U.S. Thanksgiving traditions by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary sources and teaching resources.

Thanksgiving primary source set

Featured Source guided primary source analysis activities

Thanksgiving timeline

Founders Give Thanks: Congressional proclamation issued on October 11, 1782

Thanksgiving Remembered: stories from history

In Celebration of Thanksgiving: The Meal, a Sermon, and a Poem

Who Celebrated the “First Thanksgiving”?

Primary Source Learning: History Assessments of Thinking

Thanksgiving treasures

Thanksgiving: select historic newspaper articles

Thanksgiving image set

Featured Images

Home to Thanksgiving 1867 Currier & Ives lithograph

Thanksgiving sheet music

Thanksgiving polka (song recording)

Thanksgiving addresses

Thanksgiving legislation

Turkey in the Straw Folklife Today blog May 15, 2014

Inside Adams blog

Teaching with the Library of Congress blog

Primary Source Spotlight: Wampanoag

More holiday resources

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