The Turkey Who Laid an Egg

Yesterday, I was working on a Det. Jesus De La Cruz short story for our podcast and came across an unexpected lesson is American folklore. Cruz and his now fiancée Aurora Williams (missed it? Check out Razing Stakes for the story) were visiting the American Eagle habitat at the Cleveland Metroparks zoo. I had Cruz comment to Aurora about Benjamin Franklin wanting the turkey to be the national bird, rather than the eagle. Pretending to be a good, little writer, I did a quick google and found out the story was totally

WRONG

Below are the site I explored. Here’s the story in a nutshell: Franklin and his peers were invited to submit concepts for the back of the national emblem. Franklin submitted Moses parting the Red Sea without a bird of any variety in sight. There was some consideration of the ideas but the topic was tabled. When it was picked back up, Franklin was not part of the discussion. A design was developed that featured the eagle in a pose similar to what we see on our printed bills. Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter in 1784 in which he said the eagle in the design looked more like a turkey. He then went on to talk about the unfavorable traits of the eagle and how the traits of the turkey were more inline with American values. Fast forward to November 1962, the cover of the New Yorker Magazine featured a cover with a turkey in place of the eagle and, voila, folklore was born. And there you have it!

Source Sites:

https://www.livescience.com/benjamin-franklin-turkey-national-bird

https://condenaststore.com/featured/new-yorker-november-24th-1962-anatol-kovarsky.html

https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/index.html?dod-date=620

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/american-myths-benjamin-franklins-turkey-and-the-presidential-seal-6623414/

Cover image credit: artystarty

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