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Turkey Pardon Ceremony, 2021

This photograph was taken by Thomas Goertel on November 19, 2021 during a turkey pardon ceremony in the Rose Garden. During the ceremony, President Joseph R. Biden formally "pardoned" Peanut Butter and also offered a reprieve to alternate, Jelly. The turkeys were raised Farbest Farms in Jasper, Indiana, and after the ceremony were transferred to Purdue University's Animal Sciences Research and Education Farm in West Lafayette, Indiana. The turkeys were presented by the National Turkey Federation by grower Andrea Welp and Phil Seger, chairman of the National Turkey Federation. Pictured here are two White House social aides. Presidents and their families have received turkeys for the holidays as far back as the 1870s. However, the origin of the turkey pardon is said to have started with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, after he offered clemency to a turkey purchased for Christmas dinner at his son's request. The pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey became a formalized tradition during the George H. W. Bush administration.
Thomas Goertel
Date of Work
November 19, 2021
Photo by Thomas Goertel for the White House Historical Association