La Pierre House, Philadelphia 1854
Entrepreneurial Quaker William Penn set sail for North America shortly after receiving a royal charter from King Charles II of England to cover a debt, by which he became the proprietor of a huge tract of land in what is now Pennsylvania and Delaware. Arriving in the fall of 1682, he landed first at New Castle, before sailing further up the Delaware River to Upland (later renamed Chester) where he moored. Continuing his journey another fifteen miles by barge, he came to an area known today as Penn's Landing—a ten-block stretch along the river from Vine Street to South Street in Philadelphia. The importance once accorded this event is reflected by this superb menu from a banquet in 1854 celebrating the 172nd anniversary of his arrival. It was hosted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the dinner was held at La Pierre House, then, a new luxury hotel.
An American eagle appears at the top of the menu, perched over a portrait of George Washington flanked by American flags, creating a splendid trifecta of patriotic images. Gilded and tinted in a lithographic process using three stones, the menu was made by Eugene Ketterlinus, one of the first printers in the country to produce colored and embossed lithographs. He received an award for his work from the Franklin Institute in 1858, sixteen years after establishing his printing house at 40 North Fourth Street, a few blocks from the wharves that lined the river where Penn landed.
Courtesy Henry Voigt Collection
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.
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