Did They Eat Pumpkin Pie at the First Thanksgiving?

Saying grace before Thanksgiving dinner in Neffsville, Pennsylvania (1942)These days, Thanksgiving is all about the food—from the classic turkey to delicious pumpkin pie, Americans look forward to overindulging on favorite foods that we associate with the harvest bounty of 17th-century Massachusetts.

NPS to Establish Manhattan Project Park

What was once the biggest secret in America is being commemorated in public—building the bomb. The National Park Service and the Department of Energy announced last week the establishment of three national historic parks at Manhattan Project sites. The three sites, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington, will commemorate the places where work on the atomic bomb was completed during World War II.


Inside the Vault: The Gettysburg Address

Read about the Gettysburg Address or watch the lecture “The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln through His Words” by Professor Ronald C. White of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Booker T. Washington Dines with Theodore Roosevelt, Americans Outraged

In October of 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House. As the founder of the Tuskegee Institute and a respected leader of the African American community, Washington was an important ally for Roosevelt.


Ensign Jesse Brown, First African American Naval Aviator, 1948

In October 1948, Jesse LeRoy Brown made history by becoming the first African American naval aviator. Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1926, Brown was inspired to become a pilot by an airshow that he attended at age six. After graduating from high school, Brown attended Ohio State University, the alma mater of his hero, Jesse Owens.


Soldier Spotlight: A Union Soldier Loses a Daughter

George Tillotson from Greene, New York, enlisted in the 89th New York Infantry in November 1861. Some of his Civil War–era letters are among the 15,000 letters in the Gilder Lehrman Collection written by servicemen. He wrote home on a wide range of topics, from gruesome descriptions of the war to witty observations of people and events, and even flirty endearments to his wife and her “kissing battery.” Tillotson’s letters are both jovial and caustic as he describes camp life in detail and complains about the war.

Celebrate Veterans Day: Meet Ella Osborn, WWI Army Nurse

In 1918, Ella Osborn, a nurse working in New York City, volunteered to serve in the US Army. She kept a diary from January 1918, days before she sailed from New York, to the day of her return to the US and release from service in April 1919. This rare diary, part of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, lets us peek over the shoulder of a nurse serving in challenging conditions in an Army evacuation hospital, just miles behind the fierce battles between Germany and the Allies.

2016 Teacher Seminar Application Now Open!

The Gilder Lehrman Education Department is pleased to announce that the application for 2016 Teacher Seminars is now open. 

Theodore Roosevelt Travels to Panama: On This Day, November 9

Theodore Roosevelt visiting the Panama Canal construction site in 1904In 1904, the US took over a massive overseas building project—a ship canal in Panama that would connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This wasn’t a new idea.