Menus reflect social, cultural as well as design and artistic value.
The Alice Statler menu collection characterizes the culinary life of San Francisco and Northern California from 1920 to the present, but it also contains a large number of items from throughout the United States. The menu collection began with the benefactions of the Library's early librarians and alumni in the 1960's. The early accessions included many rare and beautiful items from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In the 1980's the menu collection was greatly augmented by the accession of menus from the National Restaurant Association's Menu Design Awards competition. Through these competitions the Alice Statler collection has come to hold all of the original menus considered for these awards, many of which appear on the awards competition catalogs compiled by Judi Radice: Menu Design (1985), Menu Design 2 (1987) and Menu Design 3 (1988).
The entire collection is currently 72 feet of material housed in six steel filing cabinets. Currently, the menus are loosely organized by location and type of cuisine. It is the intention of the Library to eventually digitize the collection and to promote the sharing of information in this area. Our collection compliments the collection housed at the Los Angeles Public Library on the west coast. Other notable menu collections include those at Cornell University and the New York Public Library.
The menus are available to view by appointment only.
Please call the Alice Statler Library, City College of San Francisco at (415) 239-3460.