Thanksgiving from the Archives at the Beinecke Library 2019

November 26, 2019

By Michael Morand

In this year’s take on what’s becoming an annual tradition around the library, nine Beinecke Library friends and staff gathered around a table to “feast” on items from the collections – with this year’s sharing and discussion around items related to gratitude and to food. 
* Cups from the Cultivating Thought series by Chipotle, curated by Jonathan Safran Foer, featuring writing by authors such as Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Toni Morrison, Sarah Silverman, and Julia Alvarez;
* Books with food in their titles, including: Moveable feast / Ernest Hemingway; Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms / Gertude Stein; Grace after meat / John Crowe Ransom; Dead, dinner, or naked: poems / by Evan Zimroth; Naked lunch / William S. Burroughs; Eat this! a story / by Tom Veitch; How to eat corn / Dick Bakken; Dinner party: poems / by Jessica Nelson North;
* Poems, books, or other items related to gratitude; including: Pscyhedelic postcards promoting Grateful Dead shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco in the late 1960s; Proof sheets of Yusef Komunyakaa’s poem “Thanks”; English gratitude, or, The Whig miscellany, 1713; Gratitude a poem / by a youth ; illustrated with elegant engravings, 1824; General George Washington’s letter to the Comte de Rochambeau expressing thanks for arrival of French forces during the Revolution, 1780; The renowned history of Little Jack Horner, between 1829 and 1836; Draft of Langston Hughes’ poem “Thank You Notes”; Draft of James Welch’s poem “Thanksgiving at Snake Butte”; Thanksgiving proclamations by early 19th century Connecticut governors;
* Menus from various places and papers; including: the Meot, restaurateur : prix des mets pour une personne, 1791; Les Trois Frères, restaurateurs, between 1795 and 1799; Thanksgiving Menu, Denver Press Club Dinner, 1879; a tribute dinner to W. E. B. Du Bois, 1924; the Creole Palace, Harlem of the West; the Cotton Club; the Carl Van Vechten Papers; the Glenway Wescott Papers; the George Platt Lynes Papers; and the Saul Steinberg Papers.
Displayed at the center of the table were some of the many thank you cards the library has received this year from scholars, students, faculty, and others who have come to the reading room and classrooms.

You can watch the 2017 and 2018 archives Thanksgiving – or Thingsgiving – celebrations on the library’s YouTube channel: