Annotations - Thanksgiving 1908

Copley Plaza Hotel

According to J. Keri Cronin in Art for Animals: Visual Culture and Animal Advocacy, 1870–1914 (2018):

“The president of the Millennium Guild was Maude Freshel (formerly Maude Sharpe), who opened her home in Boston for the group’s meetings. There was also a public dimension to the activities of the Millennium Guild, as members strove to equate ethical vegetarianism with fashionable high society. Each Thanksgiving, the guild hosted a lavish vegetarian dinner at Boston’s Copley Plaza Hotel, and this event 'sought to lend credence to vegetarianism through a connection with high society, fashionable dress, and Boston’s philanthropic class.' (Shprintzen, Vegetarian Crusade, 178.) The Thanksgiving dinners were high-profile events attended by actors, poets, artists, and other celebrities, and they were 'reported in the same style of writing used to describe any high society event.' (Iacobbo and Iacobbo, Vegetarian America, 149.)

     The 1913 menu for the Millennium Guild’s Thanksgiving dinner included an image of the conversion of Saint Hubert. The legend of Saint Hubert is that he was quite passionate about hunting, even neglecting spiritual worship in favor of the hunt. One day out hunting, he had a vision in which 'a stag bearing a crucifix between its horns appeared and threatened him with eternal perdition unless he reformed.' (Sargent, 'More Animal Legends,' 4. A very similar legend is told about Saint Eustace.) This scene of religious conversion has been depicted by such well-known artists as Albrecht Dürer, Jan Brueghel the Elder, and Peter Paul Rubens, and when the Millennium Guild chose to include Hubert on its Thanksgiving menu in 1913, it knew that many in attendance would recognize the narrative it was conveying. The words 'no turkey need feel the slightest alarm, our members will feast on the heart of the palm' appeared alongside the image of St. Hubert’s conversion, and the connection was made between the life of the stag spared by the hunter turned saint and the lives of the many animals spared by the guild’s dedication to vegetarian cooking. (Iacobbo and Iacobbo, Vegetarian America, 149.)” (147)