Meatless Day Dinner Menu

This menu shows a scene of Lake Louise, but was used on one of Canadian Pacific’s Alaska steamships. The menu (whose price must have been included in the fare) offers salmon, cod, finnan haddie, and (for those who don’t consider poultry meat) roast turkey entrées along with appetizers, soup, salad, vegetables, desserts, and coffee.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this menu.

The cover painting is by Marius Hubert-Robert, who was born in France in 1885. In the late 1920s, his paintings caught the attention of the Astor family–possibly Vincent Astor–who paid for him to paint scenery in the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world. Continue reading

Honolulu Lunch Menu

Just as Canadian Pacific advertised its trains on the covers of some of its steamship menus, this menu advertises CP steamships on the cover of a menu used on the Mountaineer. The menu is undated, but it calls Honolulu a “new port of call” for CP ships. That would date it to 1929, when CP steamships began stopping in Honolulu.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu itself is unusual in that it has two pages of a la carte items and no table d’hôte. The most expensive item is a sirloin steak for $1.50, the equivalent of about $25 today. A whole meal with soup, salad, potatoes, vegetable, beverage, and dessert could get quite expensive. Continue reading

Canadian Rockies: 1936

The front cover of this booklet provides an early example of four-color photo printing in a railroad publication. The back cover also uses four colors but to print illustrations rather than photos. Inside, the photos are all black and white, but are crisp and clear.

Click image to download a 27.1-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet plus fold-out map.

Whoever designed this booklet either loved to golf or thought Canadian Pacific’s clientele did. In addition to the cover photo, there are eight black-and-white photos of the Banff golf course inside, all of them featuring the sale foursome and caddy as shown on the cover. Naturally, the booklet also devotes several pages to Lake Louise, plus a page or two each to Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake O’Hara.

King Tut Dinner Menu

King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922 but not fully excavated until 1930. It caused a sensation that had not diminished by 1931, when Canadian Pacific issued this menu for use on the Mountaineer. The back of the menu advertises Canadian Pacific steamship cruises for the winter of 1931-1932, some of which would visit Egypt. A 73-day cruise from New York to the Mediterranean was just CDN $900, but that would be US $12,000 in today’s money.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu itself is all a la carte, which seems peculiar. Someone ordering a full meal with soup, salad, potato, vegetable, dessert, and beverage based around a salmon entrée would have to spend around $2.50, while a similar table d’hôte meal from a 1936 Canadian Pacific menu would cost about half that.

Alaska Railroad: 1939

Alaska was still “America’s last frontier” in 1939, and though most of this booklet is oriented towards tourists, page 21 points out that the then-territory “offers opportunities for homestead settlement–free and exempt from taxes, adjacent to The Alaska Railroad.” The gold cover and plenty of references to valuable resources inside the booklet suggest that anyone moving to Alaska could, with a little luck, strike it rich.

This is the back cover; the front cover also has gold tinting but has text starting a story of the founding of Fairbanks. Click image to download an 11.5-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

The booklet claims that “approximately 32,000,000 acres are suitable for cultivation by clearing, and about the same acreage is suitable for grazing.” That was highly optimistic considering that, according to a recent USDA report, fewer than 110,000 Alaskan acres today are devoted to cultivation and pastureland combined, while another 201,000 acres is considered rangeland. Continue reading

L&NE Breakfast Menu

The London & North Eastern Railway was the result of a government-mandated 1921 merger of the Great Northern, Great Eastern, North Eastern, and four other railways. Among its famous trains were the Flying Scotsman. This menu doesn’t identify what train it was used on, but an ad for the “Empire Exhibition, Glascow” indicates that menu was printed in 1938.

Click image to download a 1.0-MB PDF of this menu.

The front cover has a painting by W. Russell Flint (1880-1963), a well-known Scottish artist whose florid works included many nudes that weren’t considered quite respectable. He nevertheless received a knighthood. The painting on this menu is respectable enough. Continue reading

Santa Fe 1979 Calendar

This 8″x10-1/2″ calendar isn’t really passenger memorabilia because Santa Fe was no longer running passenger trains in 1979. During most of the twentieth century, Santa Fe produced beautiful calendars using art from its own collection, and it continued to do so after Amtrak. But this is just a simple calendar, slightly enhanced by the fact that the 1980 calendar is on the back.


Click image to download a 1.1-MB PDF of this calendar.

Tesuque Valley Dinner Menu

The painting of Tesuque Valley, New Mexico, on the cover of this menu is by Sheldon Parsons, a New York portrait painter who painted such notables as William McKinley and Susan B. Anthony. When he contracted tuberculosis in 1913, he went to Santa Fe for the dry climate and fell so in love with the landscape that he never painted portraits again. The climate suited him, as he lived there for 30 more years. Parsons was one of the last painters in the Barbizon school, which was the favorite style of Great Northern founder James J. Hill.


Click image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu.

This menu has a date code of 8-11-1, which I suspect means it was issued in 1961. Near the date code, it also has the word “Valley,” which I suspect means it was used on the Golden Gate, which ran through the San Joaquin Valley. Before the Golden Gate, one of the trains on this route was called the Valley Flyer. The menu items are suitable for a secondary train rather than a premiere train such as the Super Chief or Chief.

The Hi-Level El Capitan in 1956

This brochure is almost exactly the same as a 1961 edition shown here previously. But this one is dated June 10, 1956, nearly a month before Santa Fe’s Budd-built hi-level cars went into service on the El Capitan.

Click image to download a 3.6-MB PDF of this brochure.

Other than the date and the names of some Santa Fe agents, the only significant change to the brochure was the cover picture. This version shows the El Capitan cruising across the New Mexico landscape. The 1961 version showed people getting of the hi-level lounge car (which normally wouldn’t open up for passenger boarding and deboarding). That image was based on a publicity photo that probably wasn’t available when Santa Fe designed the 1956 edition of this brochure.

Notes for Vacation Planners

Despite the title, this booklet really doesn’t have many “notes” for vacation planners. Instead, it consists of enticing photos with brief captions of the Grand Canyon; California; the Southwest; Colorado Rockies; and Texas. It also briefly lists eight streamlined and four heavyweight trains people can take “all the way” (at least from Chicago) to these destinations.

Click image to download a 6.8-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

The quality of the black-and-white photos isn’t as good as it should be for a 1947 publication. The photos in Santa Fe’s 1940 Colorado booklet were much better, and of course the color photos in the 1941 Chief and Super Chief booklet were sublime. But I suppose this booklet got its message across to Americans recovering from the war: they owed themselves a vacation and the Santa Fe was an excellent place to start.