The Morning Brew: A brief history of presidential Turkey pardons
Each year, one lucky turkey enjoys a "presidential pardon."
But where does this tradition originate?
According to a blog post by Susan Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives, the tradition first took hold in 1947, when Harry S. Truman presided over a lighthearted live turkey presentation by the Poultry and Egg National Board.
However — those early birds weren't spared from the dinner table.
In fact, among our holdings are photos from 1963 and 1967 in which the presentations birds given to John F. Kennedy and later, Lyndon B. Johnson, wear signs that read, “Good Eating Mr. President.”
Not until 1989 did President George H.W. Bush formally pardon a turkey, according to Donius, the archivist.
Luckily for the turkeys, the tradition stuck around. Happy Thanksgiving, all.