Happy Historic Thanksgiving!

For most students at MSU, Thanksgiving means heading back to one’s hometown to enjoy an extended weekend with family and friends. International students get to enjoy the holiday by engaging in the many activities set up for them, like the COGS Thanksgiving Dinner for graduate international students. However, Thanksgiving in the past used to be celebrated on campus by many of the students. It was difficult to get home for a short period of time, and many lived full time on campus. Below is a summary of some of the festive Thanksgiving events that occurred on campus in the late 1890’s from the M.A.C. record- a student newspaper from this era.

M.A.C. Record: December 1986

Cover of thanksgiving program. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Archives
Cover of thanksgiving program. Image courtesy of MSU Archives & Historical Archives

“One of the most enjoyable gatherings of the day was the Thanksgiving reunion of the Saugatuck campers in the rooms of Profs. Wheeler and Woodworth. At 2 o’clock an elaborate dinner was served in the Wheeler dining room. At each guest’s place was a souvenir menu card, the handiwork of Miss Lu Baker, who was also a member of the part. After dinner, the remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent in recounting the events of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and in the nejoyment of games, music and dancing.”

“The Abbot Hall girls enjoyed their first Thanksgiving dinner at the M.A.C. In the evening a few of the boys were invited in and a general good time ensued, in which games played an important part.”

“About fifteen of the boys spent the day in Kalamazoo playing football. They were defeated by a score of 18 to 4, but we know they played hard from their appearance the next day.”

“Prof Smith ate turkey with Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Marshall. B.O. Longyear went to Mason to be thankful.”

M.A.C. Record: November 1987

“The week was rather quiet at the College. Though but one day of vacation was given, those who desired to go home were excused from recitations on Friday and many availed themselves of the opportunity. Several social functions were indulged by those who remained here. Tuesday Evening Prof. and Mrs. C.D. Smith gave a very pleasant entertainment to the ‘Bachelors’ and their lady friends. Refreshments were served at small tables to twenty-six, the favors being white roses. Guessing contests and the reading of a skeleton story followed.”

“In the Abbot Hall kitchen laboratory Thursday evening, a candy pull was in progress from about eight until eleven o’clock. About twenty young women and as many young men, divided into five pulling gangs, made taffy of all degrees of stickiness and brownness and sweetness, some of which might be called edible. It was the good time they were after, not the candy, and they had it.”

M.A.C. Record: November 1898

“On Thursday evening last Abbot Hall was the scene of festivity, the lady instructors and co-eds having prepared a very enjoyable entertainment… The party went to the laboratory-kitchen, where the prophets Zelica and Nourmahal were waiting to tell the present, past and future of those who were in doubt; after which a social time was enjoyed and light refreshments served. As the evening drew near the midnight hours we were called into the dining-room, where we were greeted by the Marie Antoinettes. Music and dancing followed for the remainder of the evening.”

“Mrs. C.D. Smith entertained members of the faculty and a few others at dinner Tuesday night. The tables were prettily decorated with roses and maidenhair ferns, the favors being bunches of violets. The delicious repast was served very daintily by the hostess herself. A very pleasant time was enjoyed by all.”


Happy Thanksgiving from Campus Archaeology, we hope that you enjoy a pleasant time where ever you may choose to celebrate, and indulge yourself in the entertainment of the evening!

Author: Katy Meyers Emery

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