Report of the Committee on Providing Thanksgiving Dinner for the Soldiers and Sailors

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Union League Club. Presented December 14th, 1864. New York: Union League Club, 1865. First Edition. 84 pages. 25 x 16 cm. As the Civil War was coming to an end, President Lincoln proclaimed a Thanksgiving for the last Thursday of November in 1864. The Union League Club in New York City, filled with society’s prosperous men, held a meeting on Nov. 3, 1864 to discuss Mr. George W. Blunts suggestions to provide a Thanksgiving Dinner for the Soldiers of the Potomac, the James, the Shenandoah, and the sailors in the North Atlantic Squadron: “the Union League Club House, appeal to the people of the North to join them in an effort to furnish to our gallant soldiers and sailors a good Thanksgiving Dinner. We desire that on the twenty-fourth day of November there shall be no soldier in the Army…or no sailor…who does not receive tangible evidence that those for whom he is periling his life, remember him…To enable us to carry out our undertaking we need the active co-operation of all loyal people in the North and East, and to them we confidently appeal. We ask primarily for donations of cooked poultry and other proper meats, as well as for mince pies, sausages and fruit.”


There were also requests for contributions of money which in the end, amounted to $57,102.33. Organized by George W. Blunt and philanthropist Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., as treasurer, these men rallied other New York notables such as Lorenzo Delmonico of Delmonico’s restaurant to prepare and cook the donations, transport them to Getty’s Building depot, and dispatch the fare to various army camps. This report lists all the committee members, the thoughts and desires of the Club, an exhaustive list of every person and company that contributed money, every individual that sent donations and the exact quantity of those donations, and Theodore Roosevelt’s Treasurers report. Besides being an incredible account of collective social philanthropy, this report possibly adumbrates the Thanksgiving holiday we have come to know. The incident was reported on in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly while Thomas Nast chronicled the efforts in Harper’s Weekly on the December 3, 1864. Owner’s inscription on title page. First ten pages chipped at tail corner, not affecting text. Front cover detached, spine chipped at head, back cover holding. Interior clean. Orig. sewn wraps. Good. Wraps.