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Posts by Rebecca Federman

To the Left: The Nation Online Archive

The entire run of the Nation, from its first issue in 1865 to the present (save for the most recent month) is online through The Nation Archive, which is available only at the four research centers of the New York Public Library. Read More ›

Why We Fight: The E-Resources

While the Library's collections related to HIV and AIDS in both the Manuscripts Division and the General Research Division are especially rich, the Library also provides access to electronic resources that supplement the print holdings.Read More ›

Bring It On Home: Mango Languages

Whether you're vacationing in Greece, dating a Peruvian, or helping your Vietnamese aunt with her English skills, Mango Languages is an easy and free language-learning resource available to all NYPL cardholders from home.

Mango is divided into two types of language courses: one for English speakers interested in learning a new language, and one for non-English speakers who have come to Mango to improve their English.

English speakers have many 

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Bring It On Home: The Oxford English Dictionary

The New York Public Library subscribes to hundreds of online research databases and electronic resources. While these resources are accessible at NYPL's research centers and branch libraries, many of them are also available to Library cardholders remotely. Over the next several weeks I'll be highlighting some e-titles that patrons can log onto from home, from work, or from 

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Mille Grazie, Marcella

Marcella Hazan, the great Italian cook and cookbook author, died Sunday at her home in Longboat Key, Florida. She was 89.Read More ›

Train Travel Menus

When it comes to romantic ways to travel across the United States, the train gets short shrift. Cars, even Greyhound buses, are the usual setting for burgeoning love affairs, quiet introspection, and hunger for new beginnings. This September, however, train travel gets its due when video artist Doug Aitken celebrates the modest Amtrak with his latest project, Station to Station. Aitken will take an Amtrak train and transform it into a moving kinetic light sculpture (this is not your mother's Northeast Corridor), with stops in major cities along 

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Thanksgiving Recipes

A confession: I've never cooked a turkey. Sides, yes. Desserts, of course. But a turkey? Nope. I leave that to the experts. For me, turkey is the least exciting part of Thanksgiving. Sure, it may be the perfect vehicle for cranberry sauce. And turkey leftovers do make for a tasty soup, but if I had my druthers, I'd just as soon stick to chicken.

All this turkey bashing is just my way of explaining why you won't find any turkey basting in my Thanksgiving picks below. Everyone has their own method of preparing the bird, and I certainly wouldn't want anyone taking advice from a 

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"Compact and Ingenious": Lunchboxes, Dinner Pails, and Other Ways We've Carried Lunch

This post was written by former Lunch Hour NYC intern Caitlin Dover. Caitlin is a writer and editor based in New York City; she recently received her master's in material culture from the Bard Graduate Center in New York.

How do you pack your lunch? Chances are, you and your kids rely on an assortment of reusable plastic containers that you tote daily to work or school. That practice of packing one's midday meal goes back at least as far as the first half of the nineteenth century, when industrialization prompted workers to find ways to eat their "dinner" in or near 

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Saluting S.S. President Johnson

As you might have noticed, the transcription queue has been fairly text-heavy lately. The Hotels Commodore, Astor, Mc Alpin, and Pierre are well-represented, and the sheer number of dishes on each of their menus can quickly fatigue one's fingers.

But every so often, amidst the towering hotels, something different pops up. Recently, the lovely menus of the S.S. 

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Happy Birthday to... Us! A Year of Menus

It's hard to believe, but a year ago this week the New York Public Library launched What's on the Menu?!

Two days in from our very first Tweet, we had 1,000 dishes transcribed. As of this writing, we have 866,636 dishes dishes transcribed and we're not done yet.

We still have many more menus to digitize and we're working hard on new ways to make the site even easier to navigate and use.

But before the next year begins, Michael Inman, Ben Vershbow, and I wanted to take 

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Hold the Applause! Testimonial Menus

Perhaps you’ve noticed a few more people joining the menu party lately. The Buncombe County Medical Association is here. As are our friends from the National Life Insurance Company. We’ve even extended an invite to our canine crew (and their owners) from the Philadelphia Dog Show Association.

Clubs, organizations, companies, and associations often hosted an 

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The Queen B: Miss Buttolph and Her Menus

If you've transcribed even one menu, you've likely seen her stamp. A blue oval bearing her name, "Buttolph Collection", as graceful as a branding iron over asparagus, Russian caviar, or Boston baked beans.

Miss Frank E. Buttolph stamped nearly every menu she collected for the New York Public Library, twenty-three years worth, amounting to roughly 25,000 menus under her tenure 

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Tricky Menu Tips: Ditto Marks, Prices, and More

Wow. We're sitting here with our mouths agape, simply overwhelmed --and thrilled! -- by the response to What's on the Menu? We knew you guys liked food, but holy (broiled) mackerel!

We launched WOTM very quietly, just three days ago, and, as of this typing, we have over 22K dishes transcribed! And it's evident, from the emails and tweets we've been receiving, that we have some very enthusiastic participants out there. Thank you!

But as you may have noticed, each menu is very different. Each has its quirks and 

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Doin' the Dishes!

Saratoga ChipsCorned Beef Hash.  Large Pot of Oolong Tea

Okay, so they’re not included in the works of Shakespeare (as far as I know), but that doesn’t mean these dishes aren't of value to researchers and scholars and the generally curious who read menus in order to learn more about the food served and consumed in restaurants throughout history.

But until now this kind of information (the food!) was 

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Strike a Pose: Berg Fashion Library

The Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, long-considered one of the most indispensible resources for the history of dress, is now online—with a host of other content—through Berg Fashion Library, a resource available at all NYPL locations and from home or school with a library card number.

Berg Fashion Library contains the entire run of the Berg encyclopedia (updated twice a year), sixty fashion 

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PressDisplay: An International, Virtual Newsstand

Gone are the days of newsstands on every corner with titles reflecting the vibrant international community of readers in New York City. Gone are the newsstands, but not the readers. New York City is home to 2.9 million foreign-born residents, many of whom still want to read the newspapers of their home country. To that end, the New York Public Library is pleased to offer PressDisplay at all NYPL locations and to all 

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Summer Cooking

Many people have a favorite summer food. My favorites are hot dogs and frozen Charleston Chew candy bars. For others, hamburgers, ice cream, and watermelon are as much a part of the summer months as fly swatters and bathing suits. But as an avid home cook in a cramped and often sweltering apartment kitchen, it can sometimes prove challenging to find satisfying dishes that don't cause frustration or perspiration. Read More ›

A Quick Guide to Culinary Research

While I've taught a number of classes about how one would begin culinary research at the New York Public Library, I understand that people can't always make it to midtown in the middle of the day, nor does everyone live in New York. For those reasons and more, I've put together a brief tutorial on how to begin culinary research at a library and I will attempt to make this as universally applicable to other libraries as possible. 

Cookery is the Word

Perhaps the most important trick when looking up cookbooks in a library catalog is to use the term 

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Mogen Dovid Delicatessen Journals

Working in a research library has its advantages. I've met lots of interesting people, encountered fascinating objects serendipitously, and wandered around the deep crevices of a landmark building.

But an unusual condition can occur when you've worked in a library for a long time. You run the risk of becoming jaded. First Folio of Shakespeare? Been there, done that. Gutenberg Bible? Please. I walk by it every day. But when you do stumble upon something new --  something exciting and revelatory and unexpected -- you have a tendency to appreciate it 

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Julia et Jim

With so many menus in the New York Public Library collection, it's not uncommon for me to stumble upon a gem I've never seen before. The menu featured here is one such example. Had a patron not requested this 1975 dinner menu honoring James Beard and Julia Child a few months ago, it would still be sitting in its box downstairs. But thankfully the request was made, and I was introduced to this charming item. The dinner, which was sponsored by the Wine & Food Society of New York, was held on 

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