The Festive Past of New Year's Menus
With approximately 45,000 menus dating from the 1840s to the present, The New York Public Library’s restaurant menu collection is one of the largest in the world, used by historians, chefs, novelists, and everyday food enthusiasts. Housed in the Rare Book Division, the menu collection originated through the energetic efforts of Miss Frank E. Buttolph (1850-1924), who, in 1900, began to collect menus on the Library's behalf. Miss Buttolph added more than 25,000 menus to the collection, before leaving the Library in 1924. The collection has continued to grow through additional gifts of graphic, gastronomic, topical, or sociological interest, especially but not exclusively New York-related. The collection now contains approximately 45,000 items.
In anticipation of 2018, we combed through the archives to find some of the most festive menus fêteing the new years of yore!