On November 26, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation declaring that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. However, Thanksgiving was celebrated long before Roosevelt signed this bill into law. Records indicate that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led his 1500 men in a Thanksgiving celebration as they searched for gold in what is now part of the Texas panhandle.
Are you looking for ways to use primary sources in lessons about Thanksgiving? The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog has some entries that can help:
Theodore Roosevelt’s Thanksgiving Truce: A Political Cartoon explores how a political cartoon of a Thanksgiving celebration hosted by Roosevelt makes a point about this interesting man.
Changing Images of Thanksgiving: Library of Congress Primary Sources invites students to compare and contrast images of Thanksgivings past with Thanksgiving traditions of today.
Speaking of current traditions, Thanksgiving and Football: A Unique American Tradition looks at the history of football and how it has become a part of many Thanksgiving gatherings.
Looking for more ideas? Explore loc.gov/teachers, featuring:
- a Thanksgiving Primary Source Set,
- a presentation on Thanksgiving that includes a Thanksgiving Timeline, and
- Looking into Holidays Past feature on fall holidays.
Share with us how you and your students will study Thanksgiving using primary sources.