Eastern State inmates celebrated a multitude of holidays throughout its history, including Passover, Easter, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
On Thanksgiving, prison officials afforded inmates modest privileges. From the mid to late 1800s, officials distributed apples to each inmate. Prison records show that in the 1880s, inmates received six to nine apples each. Inmates rarely ate fresh fruit in this era, so this small gift was a break from their everyday diet of meat pies, soups, stews, and “Indian mush” (cornmeal porridge).