Finds of the day

Today I discovered two wonderful small cards at an antique book and ephemera show held just a few blocks from where I live.

This may not sound like a big deal – unless you are a collector. These were very special cards.

One was old and rare, the other more recent but by a favorite designer.

The older one, shown above, was for club called Sans Souci which held a dinner at Delmonico’s on 5th Avenue and 14th Street. The date of a dinner was just a few years after the Delmonico brothers opened at that location, which was destined to become their most fashionable one.

About the Sans Souci Club, I know nothing. But I did find out that there were many, many clubs with that name all over the United States in the 19th century. It’s possible that it might have been the one in Brooklyn about the time of this dinner. It was an amateur drama club which fits with the theme of the card.

As rare as the Sans Souci card may be, my favorite find was the newer card, probably from about 1986, designed for the Restaurant Florent by Tibor Kalman. He cleverly used simple, familiar symbols found in the Yellow Pages (except maybe for the gun?). It is printed on what has been described as shirt cardboard with flecks in it. He used similar cardboard for the restaurant’s matches.

Kalman’s card was designed while he was working with M&Co. which he founded along with others. It is in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt museum with other work of his done at M&Co., including quite a number of items for Restaurant Florent.


Filed under miscellaneous

9 responses to “Finds of the day

  1. Besimple

    OMG! I have the Florent card, although it’s got a thumb tack hole in it. I think 1986 may be a little too early. I would have picked it up sometime from 1989-1996 at the restaurant. I guess it could have been printed earlier than when I got it. It sure represents a certain kind of restaurant that doesn’t really exist in NYC anymore.

  2. Ann Lemons Pollack

    Hi, Jan, I see I am not the only Arcadia Press author to enjoy your work. I’m in St. Louis, and write about food – my late husband was the restaurant critic for the Post-Dispatch, and we worked together and separately. Working on my first solo book, Lost Restaurants of St. Louis, I found some lovely menus on tea rooms that I couldn’t dig up much else about. But they were so nice, it reminded me of some of the things you’ve offered up, so I’m tossing this in the mix, and I hope you are intrigued. Best wishes, Ann Lemons Pollack

  3. Small world. A story I was working on a couple weeks ago also involved a Sans Souci club, in Chicago. It was a dance hall in a struggling amusement park. My story involved a 1903-1913 serial killer/con man and a tango dancer. Coincidentally a dear friend, now gone, was a Kalman.

  4. Norman Cowie

    I remember the Florent card. I helped a carpenter buddy install sheet rock there before they opened and spent a bit of time there as patron in the 1980s.

    It’s not there anymore I gather?


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