We here at the Library have some exciting news: the Library has been fortunate enough to receive a donated collection of cruise ship paraphernalia from Mr. and Mrs. Beazley. The collection is quite extensive, and includes thousands of items ranging from ship plans to cruise schedules and everything in between. There is a good bit of history in the Beazley Collection, with some of the items dating to the early 20th century. Among the objects in this collection are a set of items I think worth mentioning particularly: menus.
The Beazley Collection contains some wonderfully colorful and beautiful cruise ship menus, ranging in date from the 1930s to the 1980s. I think this range in dates is of special importance because it gives the viewer a chance to see how cruise ship aesthetics have changed over time in accordance with their clientele. This must say something about the particular society and culture at which the menus were aimed, don’t you think? In addition, the menus come from different cruise lines operating from different countries, which means that they represent different societal aesthetic preferences; this is quite interesting when one thinks about why, for example, a German cruise ship would have menu illustrations of one kind, but an American cruise ship’s menu would have illustrations of a completely different nature.
The Beazley Collection as a whole contains much valuable material, but I think the menus are among the most fun items to look at (they are certainly some of the prettiest objects). Below are some examples of the different types of menus in the Collection; enjoy the view!
SS Samaria SS Admiral Evans Olympiade menu from 1936
SS Columbus SS Bremen 1929-1939 SS Brittanic
SS Bremen 1929-1939 SS Normandie SS Columbus
Mississippi Queen SS Kungsholm 1928-1941