The Government & Heritage Library is closed November 24 – 27 for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we would like to share a couple festive items from the NC Digital Collections that might illustrate how our connection with the holiday has changed over time. Thanksgiving was first celebrated in North Carolina on November 15, 1848.
The first is an image from the NC State Archives’ Non-Textual Materials Collection. The date of the image is unknown but it was originally taken by the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development. The photo depicts a boy with an ax by a turkey. The title of the image is “Thanksgiving Day.” We don’t see many images like this one promoting Thanksgiving or our state in 2011!
The other is a look at what a student might have learned about Thanksgiving in school in 1907. The November 1907 North Carolina Journal of Education has lesson plans for incorporating Thanksgiving into a study about nature and the seasons. The article lists 14 scripture verses and has a poetry quote for each of the twelve months. It is very different from the lesson plans you might find on Learn NC today and illustrates how cultural norms have changed over the last hundred years. Not only is there an overt religious theme that we would not see in public schools today, but there is no mention of Pilgrims in the 1907 version. At that time, lessons may have focused on the harvest aspect of the holiday. Today we also connect the holiday with Colonial times, colonists, and American Indians.