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

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

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

Christmas riddle: What is the link between an eminent geologist, Christmas spirits, the founder of the Scouts and J.K. Rowling?

By: Éloïse Poncet, student, McGill University Archives I was walking around campus the other week when I saw the two enormous Christmas trees in the front entrance of the Arts building. Similarly, to the Montreal store’s Christmas windows, having these

Season’s Greetings that Pop!

Peeps into Fairyland : a panorama picture book of fairy stories. London: Ernest Nister, 1896.

The Library is closed for the holidays from Tuesday, December 24 at noon through Thursday, January 2, 2020, inclusive. All branches will open on Friday, January 3, 2020. Please visit the branch page listing for specific opening hours. Until then, we want to

Out of Harm’s Way : Second World War scrapbooks shine a light on the experience of evacuee children brought to Quebec

La version française suit By Elis Ing, Liaison Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections During the Second World War, Marjorie Kathleen Tovey, headmistress of a small independent school in Hertfordshire, England, decided to evacuate her students to Canada, just as

A monumental scan : Nobbs’ Bird’s-Eye View of McGill University

McGill crest detail from Nobbs' Bird's Eye View with scan in the background.

La version française suit By Greg Houston, Digitization Administrator & New Media Administrator Since its inception in 1996, the library digitization lab — formerly the Digital Collection Program — has captured and provided access to millions of pages and objects

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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