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Guide to the Records of WEDA (Wyckoff Economical Dining Association)
1871-1955 (Bulk 1886-1953)
  MS 683

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Maurita Baldock

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 04, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The WEDA (Wyckoff Economical Dining Association) Collection contains documentation of a New York City men's club whose purpose was to meet for dinner once a month. It is arranged according to type of material and includes menus, photographs, correspondence, reports of the secretary, bills, and receipts.

The bulk of the material is scrapbooks that contain menus for each dinner meeting documented and lists of members in attendance. Although the organization was formed in 1838, the scrapbooks and minutes of the meetings do not begin until 1886. It is unclear how often the club met between 1838-1886. But, the scrapbooks contain a comprehensive collection of menus for almost every WEDA meeting from 1886-1955 and provide a look into food consumed by upper class men during that time. For example, the menus from the nineteenth century report a large amount of seafood for dinner including green turtle soup and a wide variety of oysters. The menus in the twentieth century have other dishes, such as caviar, and dinners that include more meat and less seafood. The menus also list other items named after the club such as "Weda Club Chowder" and "Weda Punch." A 1901 Report of the Secretary also includes a complete listing of minutes and menus from April 1886 until May 1901.

The material supports research on the history of men's clubs. Prominent New York men were members, and they met at existing clubs such as the Knickerbocker Club, the Union League Club, and the Metropolitan Club. The records list members' names and does not include much personal information about them. There are also few indications of current events or any political or economic discussions that might have taken place at the meetings. Events such as the Great Depression and the First and Second World Wars are almost completely absent from reports of the meetings. The only reflection of current affairs in the scrapbooks is a mention that the 1943 April meeting was the first one to be held with war rationing.

Arrangement

The records are arranged by type of material. The material is then arranged chronologically or alphabetically.

The WEDA Records have been organized into the following series:

  1. Series 1: Administrative Material, 1871-1953
  2. Series 2: Dinner Scrapbooks, 1886-1955
  3. Series 3: Photographs, [ca. 1900-1940]