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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Thanksgiving Turkey: 1919

Thanksgiving Turkey: 1919

A child holding the Thanksgiving turkey. From the National Photo Company collection, 1919. View full size.

 

Also remember

that recipes of the day often called for turkey to be roasted in a closed pan (so the bird was steamed) and usually for far longer than we would, so you'd have a dry, overcooked turkey with flabby skin.

Most of what we think of as "old-fashioned goodness" originated in advertisements.

Modern City Kids...

I agree, you might get a city kid to hold the dead turkey, but they sure as heck wouldn't have the big smile on their face while they did it. Kids in the country probably would still be proudly holding a turkey they hunted and killed, even now days.

Not really better tasting back then

My father, who was born in 1920 and in his day was an avid hunter and still loves wild game, says that when he was a kid, he used to beg his mother to make something other than turkey, as they were so gamey and stringy back then.

Better tasting back then?

i wonder how much better they tasted back then, not to mention people weren't as spoiled which probably made the bird taste even better. Also i wonder how hard nowadays it would be to get a little kid her age to hold a dead turkey like that.

Turkeys have changed

Compare the shape of this bird to the modern turkey. Most turkeys today have been bred to have mostly white meat. The one in this picture has a relatively small breast and relatively large legs and thighs. Today some people pay a lot of money for "heirloom" turkeys similar to the one shown here.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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