About National Paul Bunyan Day
Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack in American and Canadian folklore. His exploits revolve around the tall tales of his superhuman labors, and he is customarily accompanied by Babe the Blue Ox.
A young woman named K. Bernice Stewart was the first person to document the original Bunyan "tall tales". While studying at the University of Wisconsin in 1914, she gathered the stories from local loggers. These tall tales were popularized by freelance writer William B. Laughead in a 1916 promotional pamphlet for the Red River Lumber Company.
Today, Paul Bunyan is mentioned in more than 1,000 books and has become one of the most widespread icons in American culture.
Was Paul Bunyan a real person?
According to History.com, historians believe Bunyan was based in large part on an actual lumberjack: Fabian Fournier, a French-Canadian timberman who moved south and got a job as foreman of a logging crew in Michigan after the Civil War. Six feet tall (at a time when the average man barely cleared five feet) with giant hands, Fournier went by the nickname “Saginaw Joe.” He was rumored to have two complete sets of teeth, which he used to bite off hunks of wooden rails, and in his spare time enjoyed drinking and brawling.