Collection 006 - Harley J. Spiller collection

Identity area

Reference code

CA UTSC 006

Title

Harley J. Spiller collection

Date(s)

  • 1893, 1896, 1910-2014 (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

2.9 m of textual records.
29 photographs : b&w and col.
5 vinyl enclosures.
1 fan.

Context area

Name of creator

(1959-)

Biographical history

Harley J. Spiller was born in 1959 in Buffalo, New York. He is a museum educator, collector and author and is known for his collections of menus and coins. Spiller graduated from Northwestern University and, in 1981, moved to New York to pursue a career in the museum field. Soon after his move, Spiller received a job as an administrative assistant for the curatorial department of the Jewish Museum.

Spiller first began collecting menus on his nightly walks up and down the streets of the Upper West Side, where he lived when he started working at the Jewish Museum. Harley, an English major, took advantage of the free and easily accessible mass printed take out menus available as a result of the “menuing” phenomenon occurring at this time. When Spiller moved to a new apartment in Manhattan, he continued his nightly walks and collecting menus. As others heard about his growing collection of menus they began to gift their own menus that they had accumulated. The collection of menus and Chinese cuisine related artifacts was augmented through eBay purchases made by Spiller.

Spiller’s material, both menus and artifacts, have been featured in several museum displays and exhibits including the “A Million Menus” exhibit.

Archival history

Material was purchased by UTSC and transferred to Collections at UTSC Library by Harley J. Spiller in December 2014. In August 2015, Archives & Special Collections took over the care of the material.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection comprises menus from around the world featuring a variety of cuisines including Afghan, American Argentinian, Armenian, Asian, Bangladeshi, Brazilian, Burmese, Cambodian, Caribbean, Chinese (Peking, Szechuan, Shanghai, Yunnan, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hunan and Jiangnan), Colombian, Cuban, Dutch, Ecuadorian, Egyptian, European, Filipino, Finnish, French, Hong Kong style, Indian, Indochinese, Indonesian, Islamic, Israeli, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Latin American, Lebanese, Malaysian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Mongolian, Moroccan, Mughlai, Nepalese, Pakistani, Pan-Asian, Peruvian, Russian, Scandinavian, Singaporean, Southwestern, Spanish, Taiwanese, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Venezuelan, Vietnamese, seafood and vegetarian.

Menus are from restaurants located in Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai), Egypt, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Turkey, Vietnam, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados Bermuda, Canada (British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon Territory), Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, El Salvador, Greenland, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, the United States (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming), Australia, New Caledonia (France) New Zealand, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.

Menus types included placemat menus, single sheet menus, trifold and four fold menus, five fold, seven fold and menus in booklet style. Some menus are laminated while others are in vinyl enclosures. Menus range from take away and delivery, to eat in and include wine lists, menus for cafes, breakfast menus and menus for cafeteria lunches.

The material is divided into Series 1 Menus. The series is divided into 6 subseries: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

Accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Material was arranged by the Archivist. Records are arranged by geographic region and alphabetically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material is open for research. Some material may be restricted due to preservation concerns.

A portion of the menus may not be available due to ongoing digitization.

Conditions governing reproduction

Material can be reproduced for scholarly purposes and private research. Copyright is retained by the owners. Permissions must be obtained from the copyright holder to publish materials.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Material is prone to tearing. Several booklet style menus are coming apart at the binding.

Finding aids

File list is available.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Harley J. Spiller fonds.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Citation of the material should include the following elements:

University of Toronto Scarborough Library, Archives & Special Collections, Fonds/Collection title, Series Name - Box # File # - Item # (if applicable).

Alternative identifier(s)

Accession

2014-002

Accession

2015-001

Accession

2015-002

Accession

2015-007

Accession

2015-008

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places