Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving History

Here's a great little tidbit relevent to the Thanksgiving Holiday. I found this in The New York Times, the article, an expose on civil war era graphic artist, Winslow Homer, featuring his work, Thanksgiving Day, 1860, The Two Great Classes of Society from Harper's Weekly.

Click Here to View Thanksgiving Day, 1860.

Obviously, there's a lot going on here, but it's important to remember that in 1860 a war among the states was brewing and Thanksgiving was simply a regional holiday, celebrated mostly by Northern states and mandated by each state independently. Mr. Homer's artwork captures a snapshot of a moment in time, yet some may wonder how much has really changed, afterall. What I found intriguing is the short mention of the South (as usual) in a rebellious snubbing of the Thanksgiving Holiday back in 1860.

In 1860, South Carolina – perhaps in a show of secessionist defiance – carved its turkeys a week earlier than the rest of the country. (In 1863, Lincoln would issue a nationwide Thanksgiving proclamation, as would all his successors from that day to the present: yet another instance in which the war elevated a newly powerful Union over states’ rights.)