Europe and the Americas

Gay Nineties Cartoon, “Thanksgiving” by Richard Vincent Culter

Why is Thanksgiving always on Thursday?

Well, we don’t know for sure, but we do know the first recognized Thanksgiving took place in October 1621, and lasted three days.
Barely half of the original 131 travelers aboard the Mayflower survived the lengthy journey to The New World and their bitter first winter, which none had anticipated. Many had boarded the ship in mid July which reached The New World on Nov 9, 1620, and with no fortified shelter ashore, were forced to stay aboard the ship outside Cape Cod until March 21, 1621.

History tells us the English Separationists (200 years later called Pilgrims) from the Mayflower, were taught to farm by the Wampanoag, who inhabited southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and an area now known as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. To celebrate their bountiful first crop, including beans, corn, and squash, a harvest festival took place which was attended by both the settlers and the Wampanoag, who also brought venison, wildfowl, fish, and shellfish.

But why were subsequent Thanksgiving Days celebrated on Thursday? The most likely conclusion was so it would be distant from the Sabath and because it was the day ministers lectured their parishioners. So, Thursdays were chosen well before George Washington’s time.

Individual states celebrated on different dates, ranging from October through November until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln, at the tenacious request of Sarah Josepha Hale, who petitioned five different US Presidents to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, and in hopes of bringing our country back together during the Civil War, proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving, a national holiday. Later, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an effort to boost the economy during the Great Depression, changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November, which is still the official date.

Much has changed since that first Thanksgiving almost four hundred years ago, but the ability to gather with family and friends to give thanks has changed little. In his weekly cartoon for Life magazine, The Gay Nineties creator, Richard Vincent Culter captured Thanksgiving memories from his 1890’s childhood in a scene that, other than costume, could easily take place today. The master of the house stands at the head of the table, thoroughly engrossed in carving the roasted turkey, while his wife serves mash potatoes and trimmings from the other end, as family and friends dressed to the nines, laugh and converse with each other, patiently awaiting the feast.

Charcoal drawing on paper
15 x 17 inches

“Thanksgiving”, a charcoal drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

                                                                                                                                          15  x 17.5 inches

38.1 x 44.4 cm

$3250


Gay Nineties Cartoon, ” Liebst Mir Im Herzen” by Richard Vincent Culter

“Liebst Mir Im Herzen”, a charcoal drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

14.5 x 18.5 inches

36.8 x 47 cm

$1750


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “Males Only” by Richard Vincent Culter

“Males Only”, a graphite drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

16 x 17 inches

40.6 x 43.2 cm

$2250


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “New Year’s Day” by Richard Vincent Culter

“New Year’s Day”, a graphite drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

15 x 18 inches

38.1 x 48.7 cm

$2250


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “Croquet” by Richard Vincnet Culter

“Croquet”, a charcoal drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

16  x 16.5 inches

40.6 x 41.9 cm

$3750


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “The Autograph Album” by Richard Vincent Culter

“The Autograph Album”, a charcoal drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

15 x 17 inches

38.1 x 43.2 cm

$1750


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “He’d Been Warned” by Richard Vincent Culter

“He’d Been Warned”, a charcoal drawing for Life Magazine series, the Gay Nineties by Richard Vincnet Culter, c. 1926

16  x 19 inches

40.6 x 48.2 cm

$2750


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “Vest Pocket Toothpick” by Richard Vincent Culter

“Vest Pocket Toothpick”, a graphite drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincnet Culter, c. 1926

13.75  x 18 inches

34.9 x 45.7 cm

$2250


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “Rushing The Growler” by Richard Vincent Culter

“Rushing the Growler”, a graphite drawing for Life Magazine series, The Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

16  x 17 inches

40.6 x 43.2 cm

$2750


Gay Nineties Cartoon, “The Family Liability” by Richard Vincent Culter

 

“The Family Liability”, a graphite drawing for Life Magazine series, the Gay Nineties by Richard Vincent Culter, c. 1926

17.25 i x 19 inches

43.1 x 48.2 cm

$3759



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