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Thanksgiving: Presidential Turkeys

Nov 14 2011
Instructions

In 1873, Rhode Island turkey broker Horace Vose sent President Grant a Thanksgiving gift of a magnificent turkey. Every year after that, until his death in 1913, Vose sent a Thanksgiving turkey to whomever was president. The annual arrival of Vose’s gift turkey at the White House was the subject of many newspaper articles through the years.

Vose’s turkeys wound up on the White House dinner table, but more recently, some of the many turkeys sent to the President each year for Thanksgiving have been given Presidential pardons. What do you know about the presidents’ turkeys?


  1. The first president known to have exempted a White House turkey from the chopping block was:
    A.

    Harry S. Truman

    B.

    Abraham Lincoln

    C.

    Andrew Johnson

    D.

    Theodore Roosevelt


  2. The first formal Presidential pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey was presided over by:
    A.

    George H.W. Bush

    B.

    William J. Clinton

    C.

    Gerald Ford

    D.

    Ronald Reagan


  3. In the fall of 1949, as NATO prepared to receive Turkey as a new member, President Truman sent a gift to the Turkish government. It was a frozen turkey, which he thought was a particularly appropriate gift. When it arrived, Turkey was bewildered because:
    A.

    It was the largest example of poultry they had ever seen and they wondered what to do with it.

    B.

    It had defrosted and begun to smell, making them wonder why the U.S. President would send them a rotten bird.

    C.

    They were unfamiliar with the U.S. tradition of the Thanksgiving turkey, and they did not know what the bird was called in English.

    D.

    The U.S. had just confronted the Soviet Union over the Berlin blockade, and Turkey wondered whether Truman’s message was that Turkey would become the trussed and plucked “bird” that would be sacrificed and consumed by the superpowers.


  4. The Washington correspondent of the Boston Herald wrote a story saying that the President’s children had abused a live turkey sent to the White House as a Thanksgiving gift. The story was from an unreliable source. As a result of its appearance in the newspaper, the President directed that the Herald’s correspondent’s access to the White House be suspended and that no government department provide information—even weather forecasts—to him. After an outcry from other newspapers against the directive, the President withdrew it. The president was:
    A.

    Woodrow Wilson

    B.

    James Garfield

    C.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    D.

    William Taft