Special Collections

Getting Lost in the World’s Largest Stack of Menus

The Buttolph collection of menus at the New York Public Library continues to inspire a new generation of researchers, chefs, and restaurant fans.

The library provided Buttolph no budget and no salary. But she kept collecting, even placing advertisements in restaurant trade and hotel magazines to solicit menus from readers, stressing that their condition must be immaculate. Buttolph could only lure donors with the satisfaction of contributing to a historic archive, but she continued to receive menus from admirers across the country and overseas, including one from a London banquet celebrating King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.