“Sane Thanksgiving” Advised by Omaha Mayor

More than a month before the official Thanksgiving holiday in 1909, the Omaha Daily News on October 24 published the plea of mayor James C. Dahlman for what he called a “sane Thanksgiving.” Dahlman, the colorful “perpetual mayor of Omaha,” said: “Unquestionably, men, women and children go to extremes in an observance of Thanksgiving day in some instances and it is about time their attention should be called to it.”

The mayor deplored the fact that “people gorge themselves with turkey and cranberries to the detriment of their health, and as much indigestion follows Thanksgiving as burns and maimed limbs after the Fourth.” Dahlman believed that “turkey and trimmings should be made to last over into an a la hash for the next day. Too much turkey in the stomach at one time, he says, is like too much of any other stuff.” The News must have realized that Omahans intended to indulge themselves despite Dahlman’s warning. An article on November 22 advised readers of the cost of grocery items in a typical Thanksgiving market basket in 1909: “Thanksgiving turkey will cost about 25 cents a pound if the weather turns warm, but about 30 cents if it gets colder, say the retailers. Turkey today is retailing at 27 1/2 cents a pound. This is the highest price that has obtained in Thanksgiving week for many years. The wholesale price is 22 cents. Duck is 17 1/2 cents a pound at retail and goose 14 1/2 cents.”   Other Thanksgiving items and their costs listed by the News: Pumpkin, ten cents a can; cranberries, ten cents a quart; celery, five cents a stalk; and sweet potatoes, one dollar per bushel. – Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications

 

Mayor James C. Dahlman, RG2990-2

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Angel DeCora Portrait – Ford Conservation Center

Angel DeCora Portrait – Ford Conservation Center

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

The Church Built Top to Bottom – St. Mary Magdalene Church in Omaha

The Church Built Top to Bottom – St. Mary Magdalene Church in Omaha

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.
Nebraska Collections
History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.
Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.