Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apollo 11 Menu

I've spoken often about the Library's Buttolph restaurant menu collection, but it's worth mentioning that we have menus in other collections as well.

The other day a reader requested mementos from an official state dinner honoring the astronauts of the Apollo 11 voyage. The menu, seating plan, invitation, and some related correspondence from that dinner are part of the Rare Books Division (but not the Buttolph Collection), and I highly doubt I would've come across it had a reader not requested it.

The dinner was held on August 13, 1969 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and was called by the Los Angeles Times, "the dinner party of the decade, perhaps of the century."

According to articles in both the New York and L.A Times, the dinner was one of the most coveted invites in town, with the White House fielding phone calls all week from those asking to be included on the guest list ("[The White House secretaries] have been surprised by the blunt language some of the callers have used.")

Some of the invites included Charles Lindbergh and Howard Hughes (both turned it down), Jimmy Stewart, Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, and former President Johnson (also turned it down).

Those that did come were treated to a menu that included the following:

Supreme of Salmon Commodore

Filet of Beef Perigourdine

Artichauds Columbia

Carottes des Indes

Limestone lettuce (all veggies were California grown)

Fromages de Brie, Bel Paese and Roquefort

and for the finale...

Clair de Lune - marzipan, meringue, blackberry sauce and of course - an American flag.

What's also fascinating about this folder of mementos is the correspondence that's attached to it. These items - given to the Library in the fall of 1969 - tracks the request from the New York Public Library to the Century Plaza Hotel, who sent the request to NASA , who passed it along to the Social Secretary of the White House, who honored the Library's request and sent the menu and invite to the Rare Books Division.

And now I'm passing it along to you.

Does anyone know the email address of Bush's social secretary?

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

awesome. Try LeClerc's office, actually, or Government Relations - they might be able to help you get in touch with the State Department folks!