Research Source: Buttolph Collection of Menus

If you are searching for some unorthodox means to create historically accurate menus, the Buttolph collection of menus at the New York Public Library may be just the collection you need. From the description of the collection at the New York Public Library:

The menu collection originated through the energetic efforts of Miss Frank E. Buttolph (1850-1924), a somewhat mysterious and passionate figure, whose mission in life was to collect menus. In 1899, she offered to donate her existing collection to the Library — and to keep collecting on the Library’s behalf.

Most of the menus are from New York or adjacent states, but the collection is not geographically limited. Two menus from Virginia are currently in the online collection, both from the celebrated Hygeia Hotel near Fort Monroe from the 1880s. You can read more about the Hygeia Hotel in a promotional booklet from the 1880s at the Internet Archive.

Read more about the Buttolph collection and its offerings at The History Blog.