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A look back at Amon G. Carter Sr.'s holiday traditions

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram founder was known for his generosity and grandiose gift-giving.


Amon G. Carter holding a turkey presumably from Shady Oak Farm.

FW Star-Telegram Collection/ UTA Special Collections

Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879-1955) wore many hats — including being a father, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an amazing gift-giver.

In fact, he famously gifted Shady Oak hats made by Cowtown’s own Peters Brothers to countless people including British royalty, US presidents, and movie stars. Take a peek at this gift list dating back to 1937.

When it came to Thanksgiving and Christmas, he certainly didn’t hold back. He aimed to put Cowtown on the map by gifting local products like pecans, fruit, and turkeys from his own Shady Oak Farm or other surrounding farms.

Turkeys were delivered across the nation as early as the mid-1920s to his friends in the oil, banking, railroading, advertising, and newspaper industries. Up until the 1930s, the turkeys were shipped live in wooden crates but were eventually replaced by smoked turkeys.

One of the most noteworthy recipients was Gilbert T. Hodges — president of the Advertising Club of New York — in 1928. According to “The New York Sun,” Gilbert received a 25-lb live turkey, and rather than taking it straight to the butcher, Mr. and Mrs. Hodges became so attached that they named it “Richard” and rented out a vacant apartment across the hall from where they were living for it to stay in.

Here’s a look back at some thank you letters from Amon’s other highly esteemed friends:

  • US President Calvin Coolidge thanked Amon for the turkey and acquaintanceship. | December 22, 1928
  • Senator Tom Connally sent a letter showing thanks for Christmas cigars and a turkey. | January 13, 1942
  • First Lady Clementine Churchill, the wife of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, sent a letter thanking Amon for a smoked turkey. | January 21, 1943
  • US President Harry S. Truman thanked Amon for sending turkeys and pecans. | December 28, 1945
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