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  • 1.  Please make check payable to Martha Stewart

    Posted 03-19-2020 21:23
    Edited by Stacey DiFazio 03-25-2020 16:35
    In case you need a break from the ever-dramatic news this week, I would like to share a tale of fame, fortune and scandal from the New York Chapter's archives.

    I am processing our 15 boxes of archives, refoldering and writing a finding aid. Most of it is pretty standard fare -- annual reports, minutes of meetings, committee records. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I happened upon the attached invoices. It seems that in December 1977 the SLA New York Chapter hosted a party at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and in December 1978 they hosted a cocktail party at the U.S. Customs House. Both parties were catered by none other than Martha Stewart -- before she was Martha Stewart, of course.

    The menu for the 1977 party was "five or six hors d'oeuvres, baskets of grapes, wheels of brie cheese and unusual breads". Pretty exotic for 1977. And Stewart's invoice for the 1978 party was just shy of $3,500, which seems like a small fortune considering that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1978 "the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in U.S. cities ranged from 65 cents to 71 cents".

    It gets better. According to Stewart's Wikipedia entry:

    "In 1976, Stewart started a catering business in her basement with a friend from her modeling days, Norma Collier. The venture quickly became successful but soured when Collier alleged that Stewart was difficult to work with, and was also taking catering jobs on the side. Stewart soon bought her portion of the business."

    Interestingly, the New York Chapter may have unwittingly been one of those catering jobs on the side. You will notice that the attached invoices are on Stewart's personal letterhead, not the catering business letterhead (Uncatered Affair). (You may also notice that her personal letterhead is watermarked Tiffany & Co. Of course.) And at the bottom of the 1978 invoice it says, "Please make check payable to Martha Stewart."

    Just one of the many gems buried in the boxes of files. Aren't archives a good thing?

    Stacey DiFazio MLIS
    Archivist | SLA New York Chapter


  • 2.  RE: Please make check payable to Martha Stewart

    Posted 03-20-2020 09:45
    Stacey, this is amazing!! Thank you for sharing.

    all my best,

  • 3.  RE: Please make check payable to Martha Stewart

    Posted 03-20-2020 10:19
    Nice, Stacey, thanks! Definitely makes up for the burnt toast this morning (stupid toaster...). And yes, archives are always a good thing. 
    Cheers, everyone!

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone