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November 23, 2012

38 Vintage Thanksgiving Menus From the Late 19th Century

For many Americans, the Thanksgiving meal includes seasonal dishes such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving dinner is the largest eating event in the United States; people eat more on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

According to what traditionally is known as “The First Thanksgiving,” the 1621 feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony contained waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. William Bradford noted that, “besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.” Many of the foods that were included in the first feast (except, notably, the seafood) have since gone on to become staples of the modern Thanksgiving dinner.

The use of the turkey in the US for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln’s nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no “Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day,” and Benjamin Franklin had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon, but turkey was uncommon as Thanksgiving fare until after 1800. By 1857, turkey had become part of the traditional dinner in New England.

The White House Cook Book, 1887, by Mrs. F.L. Gillette, et al., had the following menu: oysters on half shell, cream of chicken soup, fried smelts, sauce tartare, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, baked squash, boiled onions, parsnip fritters, olives, chicken salad, venison pastry, pumpkin pie, mince pie, Charlotte russe, almond ice cream, lemon jelly, hickory nut cake, cheese, fruits and coffee.

Now take a look into the late 19th century meal!

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Normandie, Washington, D.C., 1889.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Occidental Hotel, San Francisco, CA, 1891.

Thanksgiving dinner held by The Portland, Portland, OR, 1891.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Murray Hill Hotel, New York, 1891.

Thanksgiving dinner to Beta Theta Pi Fraternity of Dickinson College, Carlisle Penna held by Robert Emmet Mac Alarney at the Sponsor’s Home in Harrisburg, PA, 1892.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Roanok, Roanoke, VA, 1895.

Thanksgiving dinner held by The Jackson, Chicago, IL, 1895.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Vendome, Boston, MA, 1895.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Butterfield, Utica, NY, 1896.

Thanksgiving dinner held by The Windsor, NY, 1896.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Algazar, St. Augustine, Florida, 1896.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Algazar, St. Augustine, Florida, 1897.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Windermere, Chicago, IL, 1897.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Southern Hotel, Chattanooga, TENN., 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by St. George Hotel, Brooklyn, NY, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Duncan Hotel, Nashville, TN, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Great Southern Fireproof Hotel, Columbus, Ohio, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Great Southern Fireproof Hotel, Columbus, Ohio, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Burnet House, Cincinati, Ohio, 1898.

Thanksgiving breakfast held by Grand Hotel, Indianapolis, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Grand Hotel, Indianapolis, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Summit House, Creston, Iowa, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Logan House, Altoona, PA, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Wyoming Valley Hotel, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 1898.

Thanksgiving dinner held byCity Hotel, Worcester, MA, 1898.

Luncheon held by Broadway Central Hotel, New York, NY, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Majestic Hotel, New York, NY, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Broadway Central Hotel, New York, NY, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Griswold House, Detroit, MI, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel Roanoke, Roanoke, VA, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Quincy House, Boston, MA, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Quincy House, Boston, MA, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Briggs House, Chicago, Il, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by C. & N. W. Passenger Station, Chicago, IL, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Ashton Hotel, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Sturtevant House, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Plaza Hotel, 1899.

Thanksgiving dinner held by Hotel St. James, Bradford, PA, 1899.






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