The Thanksgiving holiday was featured on many vintage postcards. Most of the designs included a turkey in some form, either alive or dead. Other motifs included feasts, seasonal produce, people (especially children), Pilgrims, Indians, wishbones, and patriotic symbols.
The American Thanksgiving is unique and has patriotic overtones. Although patriotic Thanksgiving postcards were in a minority, they were second only to the Fourth of July in the use of patriotic symbols on postcards. Here are some of the patriotic designs, showing the variety of ways that patriotic symbols were incorporated into Thanksgiving postcards.
The first card above shows a patriotic turkey wearing an Uncle Sam hat, carrying a flag, and proudly marching against a background of red, white, and blue bunting.
The next card features a little girl wearing a red, white, and blue dress and waving a small flag.
The next design includes some red, white, and blue patriotic decorations. The “old bird” seems to refer to both the turkey and the woman.
The next card has a simple red, white and blue background with gold stars. The man carving the turkey is wearing a red, white, and blue outfit suggestive of Pilgrim attire, and the face peeking in the window at the feast appears to be an Indian. Like most Thanksgiving scenes depicted on postcards, this one exhibits more fantasy than historical accuracy.
A number of Thanksgiving postcards feature Uncle Sam in his typical red, white, and blue outfit.
On the next postcard, Uncle Sam is shown with his female counterpart, Lady Columbia, both of whom are dressed from head to toe in stars and stripes. The tablecloth is also made up of stars and stripes, and the furniture is decorated with gold stars.
Several postcards show a child-size Uncle Sam. The turkey wasn’t chosen as the national bird, but it can be considered “The National Bird of the Day” on Thanksgiving.
My final postcard has two American flags connected by a gold eagle, a turkey family, and some seasonal motifs of flowers and fruits of a bountiful harvest.