A New Addition to the Library’s Collection!

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Auld Lang Syne B41 F7 Samaria

Hello readers,

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.   Read more

Food for Thought Series: What a Menu Can Teach About Art

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We usually think of menus in purely functional terms, right? It is a sort of small booklet one gets in a restaurant that lists the possible foods we could order. Ocean liner menus, however, strive to be more than just functional; they are part of a whole vacation experience and therefore play more than just a purely functional role on a cruise. These menus must enhance the guests’ experiences on the voyage and impress them (as presumably the rest of the cruise does). Ocean liner menus are, in effect, part of the “whole package.” Because of this, ocean liner menus, especially older ones, were decorated, aesthetically pleasing pieces of art, as well as menus. The menus in the Beazley Collection exemplify this idea with their often colorful designs:

This menu cover, for example, from the ocean liner Bremen (1929-1939), is like a work of art unto itself. Can these menus then function as more than just utilitarian objects that showcase food? Yes, they can and did. The menu covers often offered the viewer valuable insight into a society’s cultural or aesthetic values.   Read more