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Thanksgiving - What Do Famous Authors Write About Thanksgiving?

Discover these lines from literary history about Thanksgiving in quotes


Books & Thankfulness

Books & Thankfulness

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What do famous authors write about Thanksgiving Day, and the sentiment that goes along with our famous holiday? Here are a few lines from the greatest writers. Read what Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and others have written about Thanksgiving.

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More Thanksgiving Reading > An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving | Jane Murray's Thanksgiving | Over the River | 

Here are a few quotes:

  • "A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues."
    - Cicero
  • "Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
    From North and South, come the pilgrim and guest,
    When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
    The old broken links of affection restored,
    When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
    And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
    What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
    What calls back the past, like the rich pumpking pie?"
    - John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Pumpkin"
  • "Got no check books, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night."
    - Irving Berlin
  • "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
    - Epictetus
  • "How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people."
    - Sir John Templeton
  • "I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy."
    - Anne Frank
  • "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new."
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?"
    - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  • "Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."
    - John Henry Jowett
  • "Once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes I came to the chief of Kufah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience."
    - Sadi
  • "Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
    Patient of labour when the end was rest,
    Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
    With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain."
    - Alexander Pope
  • "Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude."
    - E.P. Powell
  • "Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments."
    - Mark Twain
  • "Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday...The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production."
    - Ayn Rand
  • "There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."
    - O Henry
  • "Turkey: A large bird whose flesh, when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude."
    - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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