American as Pumpkin Pie: A History of Thanksgiving
When we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, we think we know what we’re commemorating. But if an actual Pilgrim were to attend your Thanksgiving, chances are he’d be stunned by what he saw there. In this episode, historian James McWilliams discusses why the Puritans would have turned up their noses at our “traditional” Thanksgiving foods. Religion scholar Anne Blue Wills reveals the Victorian origins of our modern holiday, and one woman’s campaign to fix it on the national calendar. An archeologist at Colonial Williamsburg explains what garbage has to tell us about early American diets. And legendary NFL quarterback Roger Staubach describes what it was like to spend every turkey day on the football field.
- Roger Staubach, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys
- Anne Blue Wills, Professor of Religion and author of “Pilgrims and Progress: How Magazines Made Thanksgiving” (PDF)
- Joanne Bowen, Curator of Zooarchaeology at Colonial Williamsburg
- James McWilliams, historian and author of A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America
So that you might have something to look at while listening to a couple of highlights from our show, we compiled two special audio slide shows. Watch them here.
Want to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving? Check out a list of sources that the History Guys put together to learn more.