RADIO PRODUCER AND WRITER
Miss Frank E. Buttolph’s mission in life was to collect menus. In 1899, she donated her collection to the New York Public Library, and collected more than 25,000 menus until her death in 1924, which the library kept in its archives. Yet very few people had accessed this archive, until NYPL Labs launched the project “What’s on the Menu?” Rebecca Federman, culinary collections librarian and project co-director, and Benjamin Vershbow, the NYPL Director of Digital Library and Labs, discuss the project and 17,389 menus have been made available online. These menus, some dating from the mid-19th century, show what restaurants served, how people socialized and what they ate, and how much food has cost.