With approximately 40,000 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. Trouble is, the menus are very difficult to search.
To solve this, they’re working to improve the collection by transcribing the menus. This allows them to dramatically expand the ways in which the collection can be researched and accessed, opening the door to new kinds of discoveries.
They've built a simple tool for transcribing these menus but they need your help!
Company contact details
Questions? Comments? Want to stay in touch as the project develops? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brief business history
The New York Public Library’s menu collection, housed in the Rare Book Division, 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 40,000 items, about 10,000 of which have been digitized and made available in the NYPL Digital Gallery.
A project of the NYPL Labs, with generous support from the National Endowment for Humanities.
Success to date
As of Sunday June 05, 2011, there have been 320,538 dishes transcribed from 6,143 menus.