|Here's the contents of the dinner books|
found in the archives
(Please excuse my pinkie)
|30 years before the Digital Humanities|
became an academic buzzword,
Lodge anticipated some of its
The problem was that my rudimentary Excel spreadsheet was full of holes and wasn't able to answer the queries that I asked of it. So this past semester, I have been working with an OpenOffice database that allows me the flexibility to address a range of queries as well as generate new ones.
|The same information in the OpenOffice database|
First, I tracked all the venison references made in the first fifteen years of the club's weekly meetings. Below, I show how often it was served as a gift versus how often it was served in the bill of fare without reference nor further comment. Venison was obviously something out of the ordinary, appearing as a gift 47% of the time it was served. But that's nothing too surprising.
It seems hard to believe that the members didn't care whether venison was served or not. After all, venison was the most frequently gifted food to the club, and annual gifts of a haunch could secure honorary membership for the donor. Perhaps the evidence suggests instead that gifts were not very well publicized. Venison dinners, as a result, took place on a largely ad-hoc basis. Sort of like a secret pop-up catering to the well-connected gentleman "in the know."