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Archives and Special Collections

Information about The Culinary Institute of America's Archives and Special Collections housed in the Conrad N. Hilton Library, Hyde Park, New York.



Applied Food Studies VIRTUAL visit to the Archives - February 2021


  • Learn about the Archives as a resource in the library.
  • Be able to locate the Archives online, including the digital menu collection, and in person
  • Explore items from the special collections, including items from the menu collection, rare book collection, pamphlet collection, Craig Claiborne collection, and material culture collection.
  • Understand that most of the items in the Archives are PRIMARY SOURCES
  • Notice your own assumptions and recognize that the creation of historical knowledge is interpretive.


  1. Welcome to the Archives

Archives' Objectives

1. Support the educational needs of the CIA faculty and CIA students in the various degree programs.
2. Create an environment for student engagement with primary sources and archival materials.
3. Encourage experiential, active learning through hands-on interaction with historical materials.

Video - Past Meets Present (2021)

What's in the CIA Archives & Special Collections?


  • College Archives (yearbooks, academic catalogs, stuednt handbooks, publications, misc. papers, etc.)

Special Collections

Access + Security/Preservation

Providing access to users

  • Use in reading room
  • Handle materials with care
  • Allow taking notes and photos

Keep materials safe and secure

  • Use only in reading room
  • Careful handling
  • Pencils only

Menu Collection

"Consider now the menu: it spins, perhaps, but it does not sow. It simply lies there or, rather, allows itself to be propped up while, like a politician or a winning child, it promises big, and then delivers what it delivers. Yet the menu remains, even after its restaurant has faded, a lovely paper monument to hope, the permeable membrane between the diner's dreams and the market's prices."

--Gopnik, Adam. "A LA CARTE." The New Yorker, vol. 78, no. 36, Nov 25, 2002, pp. 082-83, Research Library

What do you think about this quote?
What can we learn from menus?  What is the historical value of menus?
What don't we know just by looking at a menu? (i.e. What is missing?)

CIA Menu Collection Highlights

Oldest Menu: Clifton House, Niagara Falls, Canada, 1855

Signed by Escoffier: Carlton Hotel, London, 1909

Explore Menus by Date

Explore Menus by U.S. State

Explore Menus by Country

****Hints to searching the digital menu collection (video coming soon!)****


The Culinary Institute of America | Conrad N. Hilton Library | 1946 Campus Drive | Hyde Park, NY 12538-1430
Telephone: 845-451-1747 | Email: