Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving (a day early) to all Rosenblog readers. Since this is a time of giving thanks, let me start by thanking all of you for reading. An extra special thank you goes out to those of you who support the Rosenbach as members, volunteers, or donors. 2009 has been a tough year for all non-profits and I know I am grateful that you have made it possible for us to keep doing what we do.
In the spirit of the holiday I thought I’d feature a book from Plymouth Colony.

Nathaniel Morton, New England’s Memoriall. A 669n.

Nathaniel Morton was born in England in 1613 and emigrated to Plymouth with his father in 1623 on the ship Ann. He became secretary of the colony in 1647 and nearly all of the records of Plymouth colony are in his handwriting. His history, New England’s Memoriall, was published in 1669 and drew not only on his own experience, but on the manuscripts of his uncle, William Bradford, the first governor of the colony. Among the items in the book is a transcription of the Mayflower Compact, the colony’s first governing document, signed on November 11, 1620. it is possible that Morton may have been working from the original document, which is now lost.
Nathaniel Morton, New England’s Memoriall. A 669n.

Sadly for those interested in tracing the first Thanksgiving, Morton does not mention anything about the feast, although he does describe the horrors of the first winter in the colony (“That which was sad and lamentable, that in two or three months time half of their Company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter). and the settlers’ gratitude the following year when they “received in their first harvest and had plenty of food and fish, to their great refreshing.”

Nathaniel Morton, New England’s Memoriall. A 669n.If this taste of New England’s Memorial has piqued your interest, the entire book (in a later edition) has been digitized by Google from the Harvard libraries; rather fitting given that Morton’s book also chronicles the founding of Harvard, America’s first college.One other little tidbit, unrelated to Morton’s book. Many folks around the country this weekend will be singing a version of the tune “Old 100th” at their thanksgiving tables or in their churches. The tune is used both for the common doxology ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow” and for a setting of the 100th psalm–“All people that on earth do dwell.” If you sing or hear this tune, you might be interested to know that this tune dates back to 1551 and was one of the tunes used for Psalm 100 in the Bay Psalm Book (see last week’s post for more on this book).
Here’s a recording of an organ version of the Old 100th, although of course the Puritans (and Pilgrims) would not have permitted any instrumental accompaniment to their hymn singing, it was considered too Romish.

Have a wonderful holiday and if you’re in town and trying to entertain your relatives, stop by the Rosenbach (we’re closed Thursday, but open the rest of the weekend) to see our new Friend or Faux exhibit and all our other great stuff.