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About The Author


Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: November 26, 2014

Historic photos show serious-faced kids reenacting Thanksgiving in Portland

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Before football games, choosing the right wine and umpteen recipes for Brussels sprouts became the focus of Thanksgiving, it was a more solemn, reflective holiday. As these photos from the Maine Historical Society illustrate, elaborate pageants at Portland’s schools attempted to reenact the first Thanksgiving, with boy and girl Pilgrims and Native Americans, seasonally appropriate produce and game birds.

“Where’s Waldo” challenge: In one of the photos, a kid who perhaps refused to be either newcomer or native is dressed as a WWI-era soldier. He probably spent a good amount of time in the principal’s office. Can you find him?

These photos can be accessed on Vintage Maine Images, an online collection of 21,000+ historical images of Maine and New England from the Age of Exploration to the present.

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