AHA Today

What We’re Reading: November 25, 2010 Edition

AHA Staff | Nov 25, 2010

The National Archives Celebrates ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving! While you devour turkey this afternoon, enjoy some history about this day as a side dish. Two podcasts, one from BackStory and the other from the National Museum of American History, take a look at Thanksgiving from the view of the Puritans, Victorians, American Indians, and even a football player. Then, the National Archives has put together Thanksgiving history paired with related documents and images while the National Women’s History Museum has put together a video on women and Thanksgiving. And finally, the Tea Party considers the Pilgrims… as Socialists? In the news this week, learn about the 2010-11 Rhodes Scholars who have history backgrounds, check out an upcoming National Archives discussion on Lincoln and Haiti, discover how college students can apply to retrace the 1961 Freedom rides, and preview a film on the background of Billie Holiday’s song, Strange Fruit. We also link to maps (on your cell phone and in George Washington’s life), copyright and publishing issues, “archive” as a verb, cheating as a profession, books of the year, and a new film on Lincoln to be directed by Steven Spielberg and star Daniel Day-Lewis.


  • American as Pumpkin Pie: A History of Thanksgiving
    BackStory with the American History Guys tackles the history of Thanksgiving, with historian James McWilliams on what the Puritans would think of our modern Thanksgiving Day menus, Religion scholar Anne Blue Wills looking to the holiday’s “Victorian origins,” Colonial Williamsburg archeologist Joanne Bowen’s discussion on Thanksgiving in the garbage, and former Dallas Cowboy Roger Staubach remembering playing football every Thanksgiving. See also the roundups of other online resources and further reading available on that page.
  • Thanksgiving at the lunch table
    The National Museum of American History blog talks about the most recent “Meet Our Museum” podcast featuring curator Rayna Green discussing American Indians and American Thanksgiving traditions. Hear her podcast here (mp3) and check out the teachers’ guide that goes with it.
  • The National Archives Celebrates Thanksgiving
    The National Archives looks at the history of Thanksgiving and presents images of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamations, and Harry Truman and Richard Nixon posing with turkeys.
  • The History of Thanksgiving
    The National Women’s History Museum has released a video on the history of Thanksgiving and the women who are a part of it.
  • The Pilgrims Were … Socialists?
    The Tea Party takes on Thanksgiving. Were the Pilgrims reformed Socialists?


  • 2010–11 Rhodes Scholars
    32 Americans have been selected to be 2010–11 Rhodes scholars (PDF). Among them are a number with background in history: Mark Z. Jia (teaches American politics and constitutional history), Zujaja Tauqeer (history major at Brooklyn College, CUNY), Daniel E. Lage (history and science major at Harvard College), Alice L. Baumgartner (majored in history at Yale), Gabrielle A. Emanuel (majored in history at Dartmouth), Anna V. Alekeyeva (history and public policy major at University of Chicago), Megan C. Braun (majored in history at the University of California, Irvine).
  • National Archives Presents Program on Lincoln and Haiti December 2
    For those in D.C., the National Archives is hosting a panel discussion on Lincoln and Haiti next Thursday, December 2nd at 7 p.m.  At the talk “learn what influenced Lincoln’s decision to extend U.S. diplomatic recognition to Haiti in 1862, and learn the fate of over 400 former slaves sent by Lincoln to colonize an island off Haiti’s coast.” This event is free and open to the public.
  • To Promote PBS Film, an Invitation to Head South
    PBS has invited college students to apply, by January 16, 2011, to be part of a retracing 1961 Freedom rides. 40 students will be picked to ride from Washington, D.C. through 7 Southern states from May 6-16, 2011.
  • Strange Fruit
    California Newsreel continues its monthly free film preview series with Strange Fruit, a documentary on Billie Holiday’s song with the same name, as well as “the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.”



Contributors: David Darlington, Debbie Ann Doyle, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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