Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541 - 2001
 

1861

In the mid-nineteenth century, storytelling was a favorite feature of the Thanksgiving festivities. Catching up on the year's events turned into the recitation of legendary tales, as distant relatives gathered together on this special occasion. The children's book, Winnie and Walter, or Story-Telling at Thanksgiving, explains, "It was agreed, in order to please the children, that when night was coming on, they should all gather around the bright open fire, in the large sitting-room, and tell stories--not stories which they had heard from others, but stories about themselves."

Children Giving Flowers to Elderly Woman with Cane, Birdcage and Rocking Chair in Background
An illustration from Winnie and Walter.

 

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