We obtained our data from the New York Public Library's menu collection. Some of the data was pulled from our specific menus that we used from New York City in the years 1920 - 1939, whereas some was from Dish.csv, taken from the New York Public Library that contained food data from across the United States from the years 1920 - 1939. In our analysis we do not address pricing, as the pricing data was inconsistent, and merely focus on the foods themselves and the menus. We do not address anything outside of our given time period (1920-1939) or outside of the New York City area.

Word Cloud 1920 - 1928

Word Cloud from 1920-1928

Pictured above is a word cloud from 1920-1928. Some of the foods that appeared frequently in this time period were potatoes, olives, salad, celery, and cream. As you can see in the word cloud from 1929-1939, celery, olives, and eggs did not appear as frequently found foods. Olives did still appear, just not quite as frequently as it did in 1920-1928. This data was taken from the specific menus we uploaded from the New York Public Library from the given years.

Word Cloud 1929-1939

Word Cloud for 1929-1939

Pictured above is a word cloud from 1929 to 1939. Some of the foods that appeared frequently in this time period were salads, cream, chicken, potatoes and sandwiches. As you can see in the word clouds from 1920 to 1928, less food variety appeared during the Great Depression than in the roaring 20s.

Word Cloud for Roaring 20s and Great Depression


Picture above is a word cloud for roaring 20’s (from 1920 to 1928), and Great Depression (from 1929 to 1939). Food data was collected throughout the menu in United States, and it was to compare to our food data collected within New York area specifically during those period of time. Some of the foods that appeared frequently in this time period were chicken, potatoes, cream, beef and cheese.

Frequency Over Our Time Period

Word frequency visualization

This visualization shows the frequency of certain foods over time. As you can see parsnips are the least eatten food over time followed by beef and cream. Dishes with chicken and sauce seemed to be the most popular over time. 

August 1st, 1936 Agricultural Report

1937 Drought

Since we didn't procure any menus in New York from 1936, we found an agricultural report that documented the drought that affected virtually all of the United States. It was especially devastating as the drought compounded the effects of the Great Depression. However, the West Coast actually did well and even increased yeild for certain crops like pear and potatoes. In the East, which New York City is a part of, "Pastures are brown, oats almost a failure, corn, potatoes, and other late crops a very poor prospect in those areas"

The biggest effect of the draught would be on the decreased availability of meat. This is due to the decreased levels of pastures, feed, and water. The draught also de"creases the supply of wheat and potato. Also, the prices of milk, butter, fresh vegetables and fruits have risen due to supplies going down. Conversely, there is more cheese being produced due to higher prices driving up the supply.