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President Harry S. Truman with a 35-pound Oregon Tom turkey

President Harry S. Truman squints as he fingers the wattle of a 35-pound Tom turkey from Oregon as it is presented to him, in the White House Rose Garden on Nov. 18, 1952. The turkey, intended for the president’s last Thanksgiving in the White House, was made by representatives of the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation. At right is Loren Johnson, of Corvallis, Ore., one of the group making the presentation. (Photo: Henry Griffin/AP)

Presidential turkey pardons: A look back

The presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey has become an annual event, but the peace pact between the fowl and the White House is a relatively new thing. And in fact, a few presidents actually ate their guests!

The first president to unofficially pardon a turkey was Abraham Lincoln, who instructed the White House to save a bird given to the president. Lincoln’s son had grown fond of the bird (and the president was a big animal lover).

But Lincoln didn’t start a tradition, and neither did President Harry S. Truman, who is often credited as the father of the presidential turkey pardon. (National Constitution Center)

Here’s a look back from Truman to Obama.

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