Here at MoTMA in our recently opened RESEARCH DEPARTMENT we are very excited to have discovered the life long work of a certain Miss Frank E. Buttolph 1850-1923. Like MoTMA, Miss Frank as she was known, was an avid collector of menus. Over her lifetime she amassed a collection of more than 25,000 menus! The menus or 'Bills of fare' as they were often referred to in America at that time, were left mainly to the New York Public Library although some were also left to The British Library. Below is an example from1900.
Miss Frank was born in Mansfield Pennsylvania in 1850. In 1899 she offered to donate the menus she had to the New York Public Library. She asked the then library director a Dr John Shaw Billings if they would like her to continue to add to the collection which she did until her death in 1924. She was discribed as "A somewhat mysterious and passionate figure, whose mission in life was to collect menus" And you thought we were mad.
More info can be found Here and Here and her collection can be seen Here and Here