Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Libraries: delicious!
July 30, 2008 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Libraries are neat. The New York Public Library has uploaded a collection of menus dating from 1851 to 1956 thanks largely to the efforts of collector Miss Frank E. Buttolph, a "mysterious and passionate figure whose mission in life was to collect menus" and whose unique collection aroused the interest of the NYT of her day (1, 2).
posted by prefpara (28 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm enjoying these. Great post.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:47 AM on July 30, 2008


Some of the menus that caught my eye (I haven't had a chance to look at every one):

It's Ladies' Night!

Interesting lettering here: 1, 2

Are you ready to party like it's 1899?

Lawyers keep it classy.

It's definitely sherry, celery, beefsteak, ale, and gato cigars.
posted by prefpara at 7:50 AM on July 30, 2008


Great find. Has anyone stumbled across a menu for somewhere that's still open?
posted by Keith Talent at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2008


I can't decide -- come back to me.
posted by subgear at 8:17 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has anyone stumbled across a menu for somewhere that's still open?

The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec is still open, and I think Delmonico's in NYC is too.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2008


Oh my, this is indeed splendid, I say. Roast larded snow bird, if you please. Gentlemen?
posted by applemeat at 8:29 AM on July 30, 2008


Great find, I love this stuff. I want to party with the American Boiler Manufacturers Association of the U.S. AND Canada , I bet they were a wild bunch. I've been in that hotel many times, it's now Pitt's student union building. There's a crappy cafeteria in the basement that definately doesn't serve blue point oysters, green turtle soup or fancy cakes.
posted by octothorpe at 8:32 AM on July 30, 2008


What a wonderful find.

I like how there's a general freakout for all things classic French somewhere in the last quarter of the 19th century. Compare dinner menus:

Hotel dinner, 1864 (DC's historic Willard Hotel)

Mrs. Vanderbilt's very fashionable private ball, 1888.

I also like the menus of all the humerous society and club dinners and roasts thrown during the 1890s - the Sawdust club's dinner menu is my favorite.

And this mysterious menu is just wonderful. Chinese food via haute French, circa 1988 - Consommé à la Kuangsi and Sole à la Yen-tschung-ming (!?), Asperges &agrave la Shanghaienne and Squabs de Pekin.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:37 AM on July 30, 2008


Ditto on "love this stuff". The very first one I opened was an 1886 dinner hosted by the City of Nantes to honour Ferdinand de Lesseps. The wine selection included Chateau d'Yquem, Moet & Chandon and Chateau Margaux. 122 years sure doesn't seem like such a long time.

Flagged as a fave and looking forward to some long and happy divertissements. Thanks for linking it!
posted by Mike D at 8:38 AM on July 30, 2008


Whoops, that first Willard Hotel link should have been this.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:41 AM on July 30, 2008


DINNER GIVEN TO THEMSELVES.

(I occasionally attend functions at the Union League Club here in Chicago, and it's still almost this pretentious.)
posted by applemeat at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2008


This only to prove my theory that the official secret language of the United States is indeed French!
posted by parmanparman at 9:02 AM on July 30, 2008


This one from 1884 offers Atlantic green turtle. Now on the endangered species list, it must have been yummy!
posted by three blind mice at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2008


Can anyone direct me to a recipe for "Blue Point" I can't find it anywhere
posted by parmanparman at 9:27 AM on July 30, 2008


In my great grandmother's belongings I rescued an envelope that had been mailed to her in 1898 from Argentina. The sole content was a menu from the Hotel Metropol Restaurant there (I may have the hotel name slightly wrong, it's packed away right now) and I was totally floored by it. One of my goals this year is to get it framed and hanging in my kitchen. It's just the most beautiful thing and I'm so in love with it. The prices are all hand-written, even.

Besides being gorgeous, it's a mystery to me -- that I know of, neither my great grandparents or my grandparents ever left the continent. So I have no clue how or why this menu was in her possession or how a hotel restaurant in Argentina intersected in her lives and was important enough to be left in a safe place for over 100 years. I wish I knew the story.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:27 AM on July 30, 2008


Previously.
posted by languagehat at 9:29 AM on July 30, 2008


I'd be very curious to hear what the Laywers of Altoona felt should be done with the Philippines. And apparently they decided that we hadn't outgrown the Constitution yet. Since we still have it. So far.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2008


Huh, the linking is being temperamental. I blame the Philippines. Try this.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:38 AM on July 30, 2008


Jeremiah Tower's book goes into his project of collecting and creating menus. They are most fascinating when they are an artful sequencing and building of sensations, rather than a bill of fare.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:46 AM on July 30, 2008


parmanparman: "Can anyone direct me to a recipe for "Blue Point" I can't find it anywhere"

1. Open oyster.
2. Eat.
posted by octothorpe at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, that link is to somewhere in the middle, you'll figure it out.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2008


600 pixel width for images? Weak.
posted by user92371 at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2008


Awesome! Thank you.
posted by Darth Fedor at 12:20 PM on July 30, 2008


See also, LA Public Library Menu Collection.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2008


Very French, lots of turtle. Brings me back to my old obsession with the Larousse Gastronimique. Some tasty offerings at the 1895 New Years Dinner at The Portland Hotel, including an interesting surf and turf of Terrapin a la Maryland and Tenderloin of Beef, Richelieu.
posted by farmdoggie at 6:09 PM on July 30, 2008


Previously.
posted by languagehat


Fact! You scooped me by seven years, o second mind with but a single thought. However, I think the Buttolph collection was only uploaded recently. Perhaps I am mistaken.
posted by prefpara at 6:40 AM on July 31, 2008


Oh, don't get me wrong, I think your post is excellent and tasty. I just was proud of my earlier effort and wanted it to get a little love.
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on July 31, 2008


I just was proud of my earlier effort and wanted it to get a little love.

I love it!
posted by prefpara at 1:49 PM on July 31, 2008


« Older Back in 1978, Jack Nicholson was ahead of his time...  |  Von Wernich signed the baptism... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments