Beinecke Library staff and friends renewed the tradition of a “feast” featuring items from the collections this year, gathering in a classroom on November 19, 2021, after a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic. Watch some of this year’s version of the annual tradition here:
This 2021 Thanksgiving buffet of books and other materials featured cookbooks, book plates, plates, placemats, cups, and napkins. Some highlights included:
- Manuscript recipe books from England circa 1690-1799 and from the 1750s; cookbooks such as What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking, by Abby Fisher, 1881, believed to be the first cookbook by a Black American author to be published; The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, 1954; The Hippie Cookbook, by Gordon and Phylis Grabe, 1970; and We are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream, by Caleb Zigas and Leticia Landa, 2019.
- Book plates from H. D.; Langston Hughes; Jerome Kern; Czesław Miłosz; the Pequot Library; Jerome Bowers Peterson; Nicholas II, last tsar of Russia, and Alexandra, last tsarina; and Chauncey Brewster Tinker;
- Plates from the Western Americana Transfer China Collection; pottery plates, undated, Gertrude Stein had made for Carl Van Vechten; and The Tractor Run Plate, by Erica Van Horn, 2016;
- Poetry placemats edited by Rochelle Holt Dubois and from the Rose Shell Press;
- Cups from the Cultivating Thought author series by Chipotle, 2014-2015, curated by Jonathan Safran Foer, featuring writing by authors such as Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Toni Morrison, Sarah Silverman, and Julia Alvarez; and
- Napkins, printed silkscreen on cotton, 2017, by Victory Garden: Louise Eastman, Jess Frost, Tara Geer, Katie Michel, Wendy Small, Janis Stemmermann.
The world was at the table, in the form of Newton’s New Terrestrial Globe, 1818, from the library of Stephen F. Gates. The display also included the Thanksgiving Proclamation by President George Washington from 1789, the first national celebration of the holiday.
Library staff and guests around the table included students Alvin Ashiatey (Yale School of Art), Claire Barnes (Yale Divinity School), and Jailon Henry (Yale College); and faculty and staff Mark Bomford, director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project; Paul Freedman Chester D. Tripp Professor of History; Michelle Light, associate university librarian for special collections and director of the Beinecke Library; Michael Morand, communications director of the Beinecke Library, Karin Roffman, senior lecturer in humanities and associate director of public humanities; and Maria Trumpler, director of the office of LGTBQ resources and senior lecturer in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
You can watch the 2017, 2018, and 2019 archives Thanksgiving (or Thingsgiving) – celebrations on the library’s YouTube channel: