The New York Public Library has a breathtakingly vast digital archive. You can browse botanicals, photographs, historic apartment floorplans, and (our favorite) old menus. It's addictive! And here's the best part: You can order prints, framed or unframed, or print them out yourself for free. We can so see a row of these whimsical menus in a kitchen.
Most of the menus are from hotels and cruise lines and date back to the early-to-mid 1900s. Some have delicate illustrations and embellishments along the top; others are from special occasions, like a fraternity dinner or Valentine's Day.
We love looking at the food. There were a lot of consommes going on back then. One menu offers stewed terrapin (!); many list apple pie and prime rib.
If you choose to order a print from the NYPL, they start at $30 for a 10-inch print. You can get several sizes and can also order them framed.
• Visit the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Search "menu" or look for the Buttolph collection of menus.
• 1. Restaurant Longchamps in New York (You can also buy the inside view.)
• 2. Menu Du Dejeuner from the Baltimore Hotel
• 3. Ristorante Valiani in Siena, Italy
• 4. Hotel Du Musee in Waterloo, Belgium
• 5. Daily Menu aboard the R.M.S. Etruria from the Cunard Line
• 6. Ebbitt House in Washington, D.C.
• 7. Menu from the Hoffman House
• 8. Phi Delta Phi Fraternity dinner at the Marlborough Hotel
• 9. Russell House in Detroit, Michigan
• 10. Neil House Cafe in Columbus, Ohio- for Faith and Emma, who live there!
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