Turkey Motifs

Remember when Thanksgiving was its own holiday and not just lumped into “the Holiday Season?” This post highlights objects with turkey motifs found in the NC Department of Cultural Resources’ collections and exhibits nostalgia for days of yore when Christmas decorations did not appear immediately after Halloween.





Do stores even sell Thanksgiving greeting cards anymore? The verso of this 1914 postcard on the left is addressed to Miss Eliza Pool of Raleigh with the message “That each passing year may bring you more to be thankful for is the wish of your loving Brad.”

The card on the right dates 1948-1952 and shows a scene at odds with typical 21st-century experiences of the holiday. How many of today’s parents would send their pre-school boys outside with an axe to help prepare the focal point of the impending feast?



This “turkey tracks” pattern quilt dates to circa 1850 and incorporates pieces of calico dyed “Turkey red“–a newly possible and tremendously popular color during the mid-nineteenth century. Unlike the name of the quilt’s pattern, the term for the red dye referred to the Middle East, rather than the bird.





A wooden turkey figurine, carved of apple wood by John Hall of the Campbell Folk School in 1948, stands elegantly in contrast to the cartoon turkey with Jesse Helms’ head on this political button from 1990.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!


About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on November 26, 2013, in collections access and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanksgiving cards are a big trend in the non-profit world as they are seen a more PC than holiday or Christmas cards. NC State used a quilt from the Gregg Museum’s collection last year for their Thanksgiving card!

  2. Interesting! It’s also a good time to prod potential donors about year-end gifts.

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