Blog Archives

Dress the Part! The Costumes of Conundrum Suppers

Oswego Palladium. October 28 1919.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Protestant Churches would often host fundraising events called Conundrum Suppers. At these events, guests would order from menus entirely composed of riddles! Yet riddling menus were not the only entertainment. Performances and

Portrait of Dinah Lauterman

A French version follows. Une version française suit. By Jane O’Brien Davis, Museum Database Assistant, McGill Visual Arts Collection What’s in a name? The Blackader-Lauterman Library of Art and Architecture is named after two people: Gordon Home Blackader and Dinah Lauterman.

The Biblical Business of Riddling Repas

In many ways, the history of the riddle is the history of the Bible.[1] Riddles are scattered throughout both the Old and New Testaments, present in some of the most well-known stories, such as the riddle Samson told at his

Comical Conundrums: What’s So Funny?

Good dinners by William Heath Rare Books and Special Collections

Have you ever ordered food, just to be greeted with a dish of roaring laughter? At the fin de siècle of the 20th century, guests would gather at events called Conundrum Suppers, in which diners would order from menus written

Call Me By My Name: The Nomenclature of Riddling Dinners

When we first discovered Conundrum Suppers – events in which guests order from menus written entirely in riddles – the name seemed oddly fitting. It described a meal served forth as  unsolved puzzles. Funnily enough, it is because of the

Festive Fundraising with Conundrum Suppers

“All who attend will be assured of having a good social time, an excellent supper, and of becoming acquainted with the wonders and mysteries of a ‘Conundrum Supper’.”[1] Eager participants in Conundrum Socials, fashionable dining entertainments of late 19th and

Tap to Begin: Exploring McGill’s Archives with a Touch Table

By Emily Zinger Archives might have a reputation for their antique holdings, but step into McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room and you’ll find an example of how technology can bring a collection to life. The Taylor White

What is this?!

Table setting riddle, Smithson Riddle Book. Photo: Kat Despain

Look closely at this page from an 1804 British manuscript and you might notice the diagram for a table setting. Do the labels reveal what diners might have enjoyed for dinner at a 19th-century mansion? Well, yes and no. While it

From Cardboard Boxes to Access

By Karis Shearer* Spending time in the Louis Dudek Collection at McGill over the summer of 2019, as I was finishing up my book manuscript, was immensely valuable to me, but it was not the first time I’d visited. You


We’ve turned our collections into colouring books! Today we’re sharing material from the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and the Blacker-Wood Natural History Collection. Participate by downloading the colouring sheets and sharing your finished work to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram,

Library Matters seeks to exchange and encourage ideas, innovations and information from McGill Library staff for our on-campus readers and beyond.
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