Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving at the State Library

The State Library of Massachusetts has many resources regarding Thanksgiving, from its early history to the present day. At left is a picture of the star of America's modern Thanksgiving, the turkey. This print is from John James Audubon's Birds of America double-elephant folio. The library holds this series of volumes in the Special Collections department.

For early history of the holiday, the library has several primary resources.

- William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation includes a description of the harvest feast of 1621, which is generally considered the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth.

- Edward Winslow's Mourt's Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth includes a more detailed description of the first Thanksgiving than Of Plimoth Plantation. Published in 1622, the State Library has two reprint edtions, one from 1865 and one from 1985.

- The library also has several Thanksgiving Day Proclamations from the 1700s. The item at left is a proclamation from 1796 given by Governor Samuel Adams. If you click the image to increase its size, you'll notice that the Governor declared that Thanksgiving should be on December 15th that year. Early days of thanksgiving were scheduled at various times throughout the year to reflect and pray on the bounty and good fortune. Thanksgiving Day Proclamations can be found in the Special Collections department.

Moving to more contemporary items, the library holds volumes regarding many aspects of the Thanksgiving story.

For more information about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people:

- The Faith and Theology of the Pilgrims by Gary Marks.
- The Pilgrims of New England : A Tale of the Early American Settlers by Mrs. J.B. Webb.
- Performing the Pilgrims : A Study of Ethnohistorical role-playing at Plimoth Plantation by Stephen Eddy Snow
- One of the Keys: 1676-1776-1976 : The Wampanoag Indian Contribution by Milton A. Travers
- The Wampanoags of Mashpee : An Indian Perspective on American History by Russell Peters.

For more information about contemporarpy Wampanoag:

- Son of Mashpee : Reflections of Chief Flying Eagle, a Wampanoag by Earl Mills Sr. and Alicja Mann.
- Tribal-State Compact between the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (pictured at left).
- [Letter from Shawn W. Hendricks, Sr. , Chairman of the Tribal Council of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, to Governor Deval Patrick Regarding a Tribal-State Compact for Class III gaming] (electronic resource).
- Search Proquest to find articles on current Wampanoag culture, the protest of Thanksgiving, and the related day of mourning observed by the Wampanoag.

For more information about the Thanksgiving holiday from State Agencies:

- Thanksgiving travel : A Holiday Travel Supplement from Massport
- Report on Pilot Program for the Suspension of Tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike during the Thanksgiving Holiday

And if you just want some fun reading for the long weekend:

- Once Upon a Thanksgiving by Holly Jacobs (electronic resource via C/W Mars).
- Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick.

- Lacy Crews Stoneburner, Preservation Librarian