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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.