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Turkey Special: 1922

Turkey Special: 1922

November 1922. Washington, D.C. "Truck with White House turkey, 'Supreme 3.'" National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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No Pardon in 1922

There is a (probably apocryphal) story that Lincoln wrote a pardon for a Christmas turkey at the request of his son.

Truman is often credited with being the first to pardon, but the Truman library can't find any documentation proving it. The Eisenhower library did find evidence of the turkey being served.

Kennedy spared one turkey, but it sounds like he just didn't like the looks of it. By the '80s, Reagan was sending his to a petting zoo.

Bush (41) started the tradition of 'officially' pardoning the turkey in 1989. So, there was probably no reprieve for the 1922 turkey.

Road from DC to Chicago

In 1922 many roads ceased to be paved when they left a metropolitan area. I doubt there were any paved roads to connect DC and Chicago. Chains were probably needed at times, but why were they still on the truck when it arrived in DC? I think it was nostalgia: when you've ridden buckboards most of your life any thing else just didn't feel right.

Chicago Turkey

Other Shorpy photos of Presidential Turkey Delivery at Stuffing the Turkey: 1920, and Dinner to Go: 1921.

The Baltimore Sun, December 3, 1922.

Harding's Turkey Passes Through

Thanksgiving Turkey Sent by Packing House Girls Arrived Early Tuesday.

Just about daybreak last Tuesday morning a mud-splashed General Motors Company's truck passed through Baltimore on the last leg of its journey from Chicago to Washington, bearing a burden which was of powerful interest to the Chief Executive of the nation. It was the Thanksgiving turkey for the White House, which has for the past three years been presented by the girl employees of Morris & Co.

Because of freight congestion this year there appeared imminent danger of the turkey arriving late, so extraordinary efforts were made to get it to Washington on time. It was probably a publicity man who suggested the solution to the difficulty, but as it was a good stunt it deserves the reward of good publicity—publication with credit.

The General Motors Company offered a truck to make the run from Chicago with the turkey. It was loaded on the truck last Sunday night and the trip began. Thirty-seven hours and thirty-four minutes later the turkey was delivered at the White House. The running time was 22 miles an hour. Snow and ice were encountered for 100 miles through the mountains. …

For the past three years it has been the custom of the Harding Girls' Club to send the President and the first lady of the land their Thanksgiving dinner, but this year, due to scarcity of large turkeys, one weighing 41 pounds could not be obtained until several days prior to Thanksgiving, making it too late to be sent by messenger or train.

The girls made a special motor coat of black and gold for the bird to insure him against catching cold and a special cage was built, mounted on the rear of the truck on spiral springs to insure his comfort. Special feed and water were carried the entire distance.

Spring supported Turkey

Love it, a cushioned ride for Tom! Were the roads that bad outside DC in 1922 to necessitate chains on the wheels?

Pardon me!

I wonder if this turkey got pardoned or eaten.


OUCH - all the way from Chicago to DC with snow chains on a stiff suspension - Needless to say that both the Turkey and also the driver had a serious case of the J I T T E R S

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