A century ago the Colorado Superintendent of Public Instruction published a series of “holiday books” for teachers. The books were full of poems, plays, stories, songs, and recitations that could be used for classroom lessons about the various holidays. Two such books, published in 1913 and 1922, included selections for Thanksgiving.
Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. Many of the poems included in the books are by famous writers and poets of that time period, such as Lydia Maria Child, James Whitcomb Riley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. There were also selections for smaller children, like “The Squirrels’ Thanksgiving Dinner,” which appeared in the 1913 book:
These holiday books, which our library has digitized and made available online, are a fun look back at how holidays were celebrated in a past era – and the kinds of things like family, gratitude, and sharing that haven’t changed at all.