Two Thanksgivings in Iowa? 1939-1941


If you enjoy stuffing yourself silly with turkey and all the trimmings at a Thanksgiving meal, you would have been just ecstatic in 1939. Things had been running fairly smoothly since President Lincoln declared in 1863 that a national “day of thanksgiving and praise” would be on the last Thursday of November. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that businesses needed more time for shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and declared the fourth (instead of the fifth) Thursday in November as the official federal observation of Thanksgiving.

What’s up with Beggars’ Night?

Candy filled jack-o-lantern

Newcomers to the Des Moines area are often surprised to find that local children go out trick-or-treating on October 30, not on Halloween night, October 31, as most of the country does. How did this tradition get started? An article in The Des Moines Register on October 28, 1997, says “Blame World War II.” as well as rowdy youths in the early history of Des Moines.

Present Ideas from 1908.

Last week I said I was going to post Des Moines holiday ads from long ago, but I had to post these Christmas gift ideas from the 1908 Midwestern.  Lots of things to buy a wife, only one to buy a husband!  Surely there was something out there besides suspenders!

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Holidays in Des Moines, 1911

One hundred years ago, holidays in Des Moines apparently involved as much shopping as it does today. Advertisements in the Des Moines Tribune for holiday gifts were plentiful, a couple from stores with names we still recognize.  Younker Brothers had hand bags for $1.29 and wallets for 23 to 69 cents.   At S.


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