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The core of the collection was assembled by Oscar Tschirky (1866-1943), known throughout the world as Oscar of the Waldorf. As maitre d'hotel of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, from 1893 to 1943, he began a lifelong hobby of collecting menus, some of which were for functions he himself arranged, but most of which were of historical, gastronomic, or artistic importance. Upon his death, his menu collection, papers, and personal memorabilia were donated to Cornell University. The Hotel School Library has continued to add to the collection.