WEDA (Wyckoff Economical Dining Association) Records
Language of Materials
The WEDA (Wyckoff Economical Dining Association) Records contain documentation of a New York City men's club that met for dinner once a month for 118 years. The bulk of the material is scrapbooks which include menus and lists of members in attendance. Other materials include photographs, correspondence, and reports of the secretary.
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:
- Series 1: Administrative Material, 1871-1953
- Series 2: Dinner Scrapbooks, 1886-1955
- Series 3: Photographs, [ca. 1900-1940]
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.
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This collection should be cited as WEDA Records, MS 683, New-York Historical Society.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Cynthia R. Mead, May 2000.
About this Guide
Processed by Maurita Baldock.
Series 1: Administrative Material (1871-1953)
Scope and Contents note
This series contains material relating to membership, expenses, and the general running of the club. The three scrapbooks in this series consist of correspondence, bills, and a few notes discussing protocol of dinners. The one folder of administrative material consists of lists of members, a 1871 Report of the Secretary (which recounts the story of the club's formation), and the preparations for the 1902 Report of the Secretary. The series also contains a published volume of the 1902 Report of the Secretary that includes minutes and menus from dinners from April 1886 until May 1901, lists of names and portraits of members, and a copy of the 1871 Report of the Secretary.
Administrative Scrapbook, 1877-1926, inclusive
Administrative Scrapbook, 1917-1953, inclusive
Report of the Secretary, 1902, inclusive
Administrative Material, 1871-1907, inclusive
Series 2: Dinner Scrapbooks (1886-1955)
Scope and Contents note
The scrapbooks in this series describe the monthly dinners held by the WEDA club including the date, menu for the meeting, the members in attendance, the members catering, the location, and the cost of each dinner. The scrapbooks also contain minutes discussing new resolutions or the death of a member.
WEDA Club Scrapbook, 1886 Apr.-1892 Nov.
WEDA Club Scrapbook, 1892 Dec.-1908 Dec.
WEDA Club Scrapbook, 1909 Jan.-1928 Mar.
WEDA Club Scrapbook, 1928 Apr.-1946 Dec.
WEDA Club Scrapbook, 1947 Jan.-1955 May
Series 3: Photographs [ca. 1900-1940]
Scope and Contents note
The photographs in this collection are all formal individual portraits of WEDA members; none of the photographs depict WEDA dinners. Most of the subjects are identified and some include indications that they were to be used for a 1929 members book. All of the depictions in this series are black and white photographs except for a photographic image of Frank Gray Griswold that was produced on a half tone printing block.