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Menus Collection at University of Washington

Submitted by on June 13, 2010 – 7:13 pmNo Comment

Menus Collection at University of WashingtonMany of us Road Trips Foodies began our wanderings years ago. Think of all the restaurant memorabilia we could have collected if we’d started way back then!

Well, if your travels have taken you to the northwest corner of the United States, you can relive those thrilling days of yesteryear via the Menus Collection at the University of Washington! This collection — and, yes, it’s online — includes menus, placemats, and other graphic materials from many of the Puget Sound area’s most famous restaurants and dining facilities in the years between 1889 and 2003. Restaurants in all styles and classes of trade are represented, from lunch counters to first class gourmet fare. Also included in the collection are travel-related menus from ships, railroads, and airplanes. (Among the many historical menus in the collection are those from the Space Needle Restaurant, Ivar’s Acres of Clams, the Dog House, and cruises aboard the Alaska and Pacific Steam Ship Lines.)

Pictured is the menu, circa 1930, from the Big Tree Inn on the Des Moines Highway east of Seattle — it’s part of the collection, of course. The restaurant was fashioned from a giant sequoia (said to be 2500 years old) for the Panama Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco, California, in 1915.

The information for the Historical Menu Collection was researched and prepared by the UW Libraries Special Collections Division and Cataloging staff in 2003. A selection of menus from 659 items were included in this database. The menus were scanned in grayscale and color using a Microtek Scanmaker 9600L and saved in .jpg format. Some manipulation of the images was done to present the clearest possible digital image. The scanned images were then linked with descriptive data using the Contentdm software suite. The original collection resides in the UW Libraries Special Collections Division as the Historical Menu Collection. PH Coll 617.

(And, a tip of the Road Trips Foodie’s hat to Sue Frause, a travelwriter from the Seattle area to clued us in to this fab resource!)

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