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Comments Posted 02.02.14 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers


It was exciting to discover another great digitized collection available for public use. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the NYPL's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.

This week for Design Observer readers, I selected the most obscure category I could find: 19th Century Menu Covers. While I have curated just a few for your enjoyment, there are hundreds to view. Not only can you watch the advancement of printing techniques, but you can discover the advanced creativity of restaurant or special event menus during this particular period of time, the last half of the 19th century.


Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DAILY MENU, BATTLE HOUSE, “MOBILE, AL.” 1857
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DAILY DINNER MENU, CRAWFORD HOUSE [at] [NEW ENGLAND, (STAGE STOP), 1866
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
BREAKFAST MENU COVER, OAKLAND BEACH HOTEL [at] “WARWICK, RI” (HOTEL) 1880
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
BREAKFAST [held by] KIARSARGE HOUSE [at] NORTH CONWAY, N.H. (HOTEL) 1880
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DINNER [held by] THE WENTWORTH [at] “NEWCASTLE, RI” (HOTEL) 1880
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
ANNUAL DINNER [held by] NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK [at] DELMONICO (RESTAURANT) 1882
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DINNER [held by] MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY [at] SANTIAGO TO CIENFUEGOS (SS.) 1883
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
(Detail, INSIDE PAGE) DINNER [held by] MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY [at] SANTIAGO TO CIENFUEGOS (SS.) 1883
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
FOOTBALL DINNER,YORKSHIRE V. MAORIS [held by] STRAFFORD ARMS HOTEL [at] “WAKEFIELD,[ENGLAND]” (HOTEL) 1889
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DINNER [held by] DOWN TOWN ASSOCIATION, 1890
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
(Detail, INSIDE PAGE) DINNER [held by] DOWN TOWN ASSOCIATION, 1890
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PRESS OF NEW YORK [held by] COMMITTEE OF THE COOKS AND PASTRY COOKS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK [at] “MUSCHENHEIM’S, NEW YORK, NY” (REST) 1892
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
ANNUAL BANQUET [held by] MERCHANTS’ CLUB [at] “HOTEL METROPOLE, PHILADELPHIA, PA” (HOT) 1895
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DINNER [held by] HOTEL MANHATTAN [at] NY (HOTEL) 1897
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
ANNUAL BANQUET [held by] MASSACHUSETTS HOTEL ASSOCIATION [at] “BRUNSWICK, BOSTON, MA” (HOTEL) 1897
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
BANQUET [held by] BANKERS CLUB OF DETROIT [at] “THE RUSSELL HOUSE, DETROIT, MICH” (HOTEL) 1898
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
ANNUAL BANQUET IN HONOR OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMEN ELECT IN NY; [held by] BUSINESS MEN’S DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION OF NY [at] “HOTEL SAVOY, NY” (HOTEL) 1899
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
31ST ANNUAL DINNER [held by] YALE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF PHILADELPHIA [at] “HOTEL BELLEVUE, [PHILADELPHIA, PA]” (HOTEL) 1899
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
3RD ANNUAL CONVENTION [held by] NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PHOTO ENGRAVERS [at] “HOTEL VICTORY' PUT- IN- BAY, OHIO” (HOTEL) 1899
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Nineteenth Century Menu Covers
DINNER [held by] HAMBURG-AMERICA LINIE [at] EN ROUTE STEAMER AUGUSTE VICTORIA (SS) 1899
The Buttolph Collection of Menus
New York Public Library Digital Collections
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John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.
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