National Archives News



Ronald Reagan pardoning a Turkey

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln made the traditional Thanksgiving celebration a nationwide holiday to be commemorated each year on the fourth Thursday of November. View related records in the National Archives Catalog.


Hoover Library

Hoover Heads: Thanksgiving Proclamations and President Hoover

Hoover Heads: Thanksgiving in the [Hoover] White House


Roosevelt Library

Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year we had two Thanksgivings


Truman Library

Bess Wallace Truman’s Thanksgiving Menu, 1947. Note: No turkey! During the winter of 1947, Americans were urged to eat less poultry so that grain that would normally go to feed livestock could be sent to famine-stricken people in Europe. The Trumans complied with the suggestions of the Citizens Food Committee (and ate their Thanksgiving turkey on Wednesdat, not Thursday).

Bess Wallace Truman’s Thanksgiving Menu, 1948


Nixon Library

Pat Nixon Receives the Annual Live Thanksgiving Turkey, 1971


Reagan Library

Reagan Family Thanksgiving at Rancho del Cielo

Reagan's Thanksgiving Radio Address, 1988


George H. W. Bush Library

President George H. W. Bush Enjoys Thanksgiving Troops, 1990


Clinton Library

President Clinton and First Lady Help Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner at the Covenant Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., 1993

President Clinton and First Lady Receive a Thanksgiving Day Wreath from Children, 2003

President Clinton’s Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation Ceremony 2000


George W. Bush Library

From the archived website, titled “Thanksgivings at the White House”

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving 2007

Thanksgiving 2006

Thanksgiving 2005

Thanksgiving 2004

Thanksgiving 2003

Thanksgiving 2002

Thanksgiving 2001

Obama Library

The White House Blog: The Definitive History of the Presidential Turkey Pardon