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10 awesome vintage menus from the New York Public Library's Digital Collection

Written by
Dan Q Dao

In the dark, pre-Instagram days, one remembered the dishes they ate not by snapping a photo, but by saving the menus (yes, the printed ones). Thanks to avid 19th Century menu enthusiast and collector Miss Frank E. Buttolph, the New York Public Library has an extensive collection of over 25,000 menus dating as far back as 1843. Interestingly, Buttolph, who donated her culinary treasure trove to the library at no-cost, was not the least bit interested in the foods listed on the menus, only their historical significance. 

Below, check out ten antique menus from the database that provide interesting peeks into New York City life and dining from 1843 until 2008. Want to see more? Head to the New York Public Library's Digital Collections to see the full Buttolph Collection of Menus.

1. Breakfast at The Metropolitan Hotel, 1859

2. Dinner at the St. Nicholas Hotel, 1866

3. Anniversary dinner at the Marine Society of New York, 1884

4. Dinner at Stauch's Restaurant in Coney Island, 1906

5. 31st Annual Dog Show Luncheon, Westminster Kennel Club at Madison Square Garden

6. Dinner at Beekman Café Co, 1913

7. Drinks menu at The Plaza, 1914

8. Dinner at the Hotel Astor, 1939

9. Centenary dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, 1942

10. Wine and sherry tasting at Tavern on the Green, 1966

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