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U.S. Holidays: History and Myth
Thanksgiving Greetings, 1914
from the Holiday Postcard Collection
Click image to enlarge

I. Introduction to Special Collections and Archives

II. Manuscript and Archival

  • Holiday Postcard Collection, contains holiday postcards from the early through mid-20th century.
  • U.S. Holidays: History and Myth Collection, contains late-nineteenth through twentieth and twenty-first century magazines, print advertisements, and a collectible plate referencing various holidays.
  • J.P. Isenhower Collection, contains notes on a sermon preached by George Morton on Thanksgiving in the early 20th century.
  • Sheet Music: Holidays, contains two songs about Christopher Columbus from 1936 and 1951.
  • Baptist Student Union Scrapbooks, 1947-1948 scrapbook contains a program from a Thanksgiving worship service held by the YWCA.
  • Max Heller Collection, contains materials from the July 4th Bicentennial celebration in Greenville, including photographs of Mayor Heller in colonial American costume and materials from the dedication of City Hall.
For more examples of manuscript collections, see the following webpage:

III. Books and Published Materials

A. Fourth of July
  • Sun-beams may be extracted from cucumbers, but the process is tedious: an oration, pronounced on the Fourth of July, 1799, at the request of the citizens of New-Haven, David Daggett, 1799
  • America's deliverence and duty: a sermon preached at the Baptist Church in Charleston, South-Carolina, on the Fourth Day of July, 1802 before the State Society of the Cincinnati, the American Revolution Society, and the congregation which usually attends divine service in the said church, Richard Furman, 1802
  • An oration, delivered at Hartford on the 6th of July, A.D. 1802: before the Society of the Cincinnati, for the state of Connecticut, assembled to celebrate the anniversary of American independence Benjamin Silliman, 1802
  • An oration, delivered, in St. Philip's Church, before an assemblage of the inhabitants of Charleston, South-Carolina, on the 5th day of July, 1819; (the 4th being Sunday) in commemoration of American independence, by appointment of the '76 Association, and published at their request, Thomas D. Condy, 1819
  • Perils and safeguards of American liberty: address pronounced July 4, 1828, in the Second Baptist Meeting-House in Boston, at the religious celebration of the anniversary of American Independence, by the Baptist churches and societies in Boston, James D. Knowles, 1828, Microfilm
  • Oration on the principal duties of Americans: delivered before the Washington Society and other citizens of Charleston, in the Second Presbyterian Church, on Thursday the 4th of July, by Thomas S. Grimké; with the farewell address of the Hon. William Drayton to the Washington Society, delivered on the same day at their anniversary dinner, Thomas Grimké, 1833
  • Government, and the right of revolution: an oration, delivered before the '76 Association, and Cincinnati Society, on Monday, July 4th, 1859, Thomas M. Hanckel, 1859
  • Pop goes the Fourth, 1996, Video recording
  • "Factory Town on the 4th of July," by Susan Jelus, "Historical Site," by Arthur Powers, and "Revisionist History: Magic Kingdom," by Robert Wynne, in Red, white, and blues: poets on the promise of America, edited by Virgil Suárez and Ryan G. Van Cleave, 2004
B. Columbus Day
  • A discourse intended to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus: delivered at the request of the historical society in Massachusetts on the 23d day of October, 1792, being the completion of the third century since that memorable event: to which are added four dissertations, connected with various parts of the discourse, connected with various parts of the discourse, viz. ..., Jeremy Belknap, 1792
  • The life and voyages of Christopher Columbus: to which are added those of his companions, Washington Irving, 1855
  • Explorers, edited by George Iles, 1902
  • A Columbus casebook: a supplement to "Where Columbus found the New World," National Geographic magazine, November 1986, 1986
  • Discovering Columbus, Paul H. Chapman, 1992
C. Thanksgiving
  • A tribute to New-England: A sermon, delivered before the New-England Society of the City and State of New-York, on the 22d of December, 1820. Being the second centennial celebration of the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth, Gardiner Spring, 1821
  • Religion productive of national prosperity: a sermon, delivered on Thanksgiving Day, February 5th, 1833, in the chapel of the So. Ca. College, Robert Henry, 1823
  • Plymouth and the Pilgrims, Arthur Lord, 1920
IV. Reference and Other Materials in the Main Library

A. Presidents Day
  • Holiday entertainments, adapted to all holidays, including New Year's, Washington's birthday, Easter, Decoration day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas occasions, ed. by Charles C. Shoemaker, 1915, General Collection
  • Special plays for special days; non-royalty holiday plays for young people, Mildred Hark and Noel McQueen, 1947, General Collection
  • The impossible patriotism project, Linda Skeers; pictures by Ard Hoyt, 2007, Juvenile Collection
B. Fourth of July
  • Holiday entertainments, adapted to all holidays, including New Year's, Washington's birthday, Easter, Decoration day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas occasions, ed. by Charles C. Shoemaker, 1915, General Collection
  • The great American Fourth of July parade: a verse play for radio, Archibald MacLeish, 1975, General Collection
  • Beat the drum Independence Day has come: poems for the Fourth of July, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illustrations by Tomie de Paola, 1977, Juvenile Collection
  • The Fourth of July: third movement of a symphony, New England Holidays, Charles Ives; [edited by Wayne D. Shirley], 1932, published 1992, Music Library
  • Celebrating the fourth: Independence Day and the rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic, Len Travers, 1997, General Collection
  • Apple pie 4th of July, Janet S. Wong; pictures by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, 2002, Juvenile Collection
  • The most glorious fourth: Vicksburg and Gettysburg, July 4, 1863, Duane Schultz, 2002, General Collection
  • Looking for Uncle Louie on the Fourth of July, Kathy Whitehead; illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla, 2005, Juvenile Collection
  • Frederick Douglass and the Fourth of July, James A. Colaiaco, 2006, General Collection
  • Music of the Fourth of July: a year-by-year chronicle of performances and works composed for the occasion, 1777-2008, James R. Heintze, 2009, Music Library
  • Do they miss me at home?: the Civil War letters of William McKnight, Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, edited by Donald C. Maness and H. Jason Combs, 2010, General Collection
  • Enjoy the same liberty: Black Americans and the revolutionary era, Edward Countryman, 2012, General Collection
C. Columbus Day
  • Special plays for special days; non-royalty holiday plays for young people, Mildred Hark and Noel McQueen, 1947, General Collection
  • Sinking Columbus: contested history, cultural politics, and mythmaking during the quincentenary, Stephen J. Summerhill and John Alexander Williams, 2000, General Collection
  • Reading like a historian: teaching literacy in middle and high school history classrooms, Sam Wineburg, Daisy Martin, and Chauncey Monte-Sano, 2011, General Collection
D. Thanksgiving
  • Holiday entertainments, adapted to all holidays, including New Year's, Washington's birthday, Easter, Decoration day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas occasions, ed. by Charles C. Shoemaker, 1915, General Collection
  • Our own snug fireside: images of the New England home, 1760-1860, Jane C. Nylander, 1993, General Collection
  • Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history textbook got wrong, James W. Loewen, 1996, General Collection
  • The business of holidays, edited by Maud Lavin; with contributions by Melanie Archer ... [et al.], 2004, General Collection
  • Thanksgiving: the true story, Penny Colman, 2008, General Collection
  • Thanksgiving: the biography of an American holiday, James W. Baker; foreword by Peter J. Gomes, 2009, General Collection
  • Creative resources for the early childhood classroom, Judy Herr, Yvonne Libby Larson, 2009, General Collection
  • Religion and the American presidency: George Washington to George W. Bush with commentary and primary sources, edited by Gastón Espinosa, 2009, General Collection
  • Balloons over Broadway: the true story of the puppeteer of Macy's Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 2011, Juvenile Collection
V. Online Resources at Furman
  • America's Historical Newspapers, contains digitized versions of primary source newspaper articles on Presidents Day, Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving celebrations dating from 1690 to 1998. Includes a selection of African American newspapers from 1827 to 1998.
  • American Periodicals, contains digitized versions of primary source articles on Presidents Day, Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving celebrations, originally published in popular American magazines and journals.
  • America: History and Life, contains secondary source scholarly articles on the history of Presidents Day, Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • Women's Studies International, contains secondary source scholarly articles on the history of Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving celebrations from a Women's Studies perspective.
  • ACLS Humanities E-Book, contains full-text secondary source ebooks on the history of Fourth of July and Thanksgiving celebrations.
  • American Eras, secondary source encyclopedia articles on topics related to the celebration of Presidents Day, the Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving throughout history.
  • Proquest Congressional, primary source congressional publications dealing with the wide variety of topics addressed by Congress.
VI. Web Sites

A. Presidents Day
B. Fourth of July
  • A Capitol Fourth, information on the history of, and current plans for, the yearly Fourth of July celebration held in Washington, D.C.
  • Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, website for the Boston Pops' yearly Fourth of July concert and celebration.
  • Willie Nelson's Picnic, a Fourth of July music festival held in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Old Town Fashioned Fourth of July, webpage on the Bridgeport, California Fourth of July celebration, described as "an old time, all American town gathering."
  • Fourth of July, an assortment of news stories related to the Fourth Of July, from NPR.
  • Fourth of July, Fourth of July crafts, recipes, and other activities from Martha Stewart.
C. Columbus Day
  • Today in History: October 12, webpage on the history of Columbus Day, including primary sources, from the Library of Congress.
  • Columbus Citizens Foundation, website of "a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement," which hosts a yearly Columbus Day parade in New York City.
  • The Columbus Day Parade, homepage of the yearly Columbus Day parade held in Denver, Colorado.
  • Transform Columbus Day, a protest website against the celebration of Columbus Day, particularly in Colorado.
  • What Columbus Day Really Means, article from The American Scholar on the history and meaning of Columbus Day, by Seton Hall University professor William J. Connell.
D. Thanksgiving
  • Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, visitor's guide to attending the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest in the U.S.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, webpage on current plans for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, held yearly in New York City and aired by NBC.
  • Thanksgiving recipes, recipes for Thanksgiving Day, from
  • NFL on Thanksgiving, webpage on the history of, as well as current plans for, National Football League games on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Turkey Trots and Thanksgiving Day Runs, list of Thanksgiving Day races in locations across the U.S.
  • The National Day of Mourning, information on the event held on Thanksgiving Day by Native Americans in Plymouth, Massachusetts to mourn the injustices inflicted on Native American peoples in the centuries since the First Thanksgiving. From the Pilgrim Hall Museum.
  • The Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, webpage on George Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of October 3, 1789, including a transcription and a digitized image of the original. From the University of Virginia's Papers of George Washington collection.