Category:Tea Rooms

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Blue Parrot Tea Room Foyer, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, postcard front
Chicago Northwestern Passenger Terminal Tea Room, Chicago, Illinoispostcard front
Mary Louise Tea Room, Los Angeles, California, interior, postcard front.
Marshall Field And Co Tea Room, Chicago, Illinois, postcard front
Entrance to the Culbertson Tea Room, Spokane, Washington, interior, circa 1920s, postcard front.
Maple Tea Room at Young's, Flathead Lake, Somers, Montana, interior, RPPC postcard front.
Garden Tea Room, ONeill's, New York City, New York, postcard front.

The term "tea room" generally refers to an establishment were tea (and sometimes coffee) is served at tables, often accompanied by light lunches and an array of pastries. The term "tea room" derives from the old British custom of taking a light refreshment called afternoon tea, generally around 4:00 pm. In America, however, it came to acquire specific connotations, and often referred to a place where women could dine unaccompanied by men, where alcohol was not served, and where those who lived in modest circumstances could arrange to meet with friends in a low-priced but delightfully furnished environment.


Tea Room History

For more information, see Tea Room History

The history of tea rooms is inextricably bound up with the history of a number of women-led progressive crusades of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the abolition of slavery, female suffrage, equitable marriage and divorce laws, the rights of women to own businesses, and, for a brief time, the abolition of alcoholic beverages.

Tea Room Decor Themes

Many tea rooms took the concept of decor and service to a level that we would now identify by calling them "theme" restaurants. There are Old Colonial tea rooms, English-style tea rooms, American farm-style tea rooms, Russian tea rooms, antique shop tea rooms, Bohemian tea rooms, Asian tea rooms (often referred to as tea gardens), and Gypsy tea rooms. These latter places generally offered a "free tea leaf reading with every meal," thus mingling the provision of the beverage of tea with telling fortunes by tea leaves.

Coming Soon: In 2021, after completing the upload of all the tea room images in my collection, i will begin tagging tea room images by decor theme. Any given tea room may, of course, carry more than one tag. Among the tags will be:

  • Exterior View
  • Interior View
  • Potted Plants
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Tea Room Gift Shop
  • Ancient and Repurposed Buildings as Tea Rooms
  • American Colonial Tea Rooms
  • Victorian and Edwardian Tea Rooms
  • Rustic and Rural Roadside Tourist Tea Rooms
  • Art Deco and Streamline Moderne Tea Rooms
  • Main Street Tea Rooms
  • Department Store Tea Rooms
  • Hotel Tea Rooms
  • Bed and Breakfast Tea Rooms
  • Asian Tea Gardens and Tea Rooms
  • Bohemian and Romani Tea Rooms
  • Psychic Fortune Telling Tea Rooms
  • Educational and Charitable Tea Rooms

Tea Room Galleries

For more information, see Vintage Tea Room Postcards

For more information, see Vintage Tea Room Business Cards

For more information, see Vintage Tea Room Matchbook Covers

The material culture of tea rooms includes Postcards, Business Cards, Matchbook Covers, Menus, and Restaurant Ware, each of which will have its own photo-gallery at this site.

Postcards have been the working project for the year 2020, and began as the "50 Tea Rooms - 50 States - 50 Days" project on my personal Facebook page from mid-August through early October, 2020.

There are several hundred more tea room images in my collection, and they will be uploaded to this site and shared to Facebook at a regular rate of production, alternating with my creation and uploading of more categories, pages, photographs, and texts to the galleries of The Museum of Fortune Telling Tea Cups and Saucers.. If you want to follow my progress, you can find personal Facebook page here:

Business Cards and Matchbook Covers are planned for expansion in 2021.

Menus will be added at a later date, possibly by 2022.

We Welcome Contributions

If you have a photo or scan of a vintage or contemporary tea room you want to share here, we welcome contributions!

We seek interior scenes of tea room furnishings and decor and exterior tea room views with signage; we like to have the postcard backs as well as the fronts, but recognize that this is not always possible. Contemporary close-ups of plated food on a table will not be archived.

Horizontal images must be a minimum of 600 pixels wide after trimming away backgrounds and should include the name, city, and state of the establishment, plus any other information you may have.

Please post your image donations in the "Tea Room Image Donations" thread in my husband nagasiva's Facebook group:

Thank you!

catherine yronwode
curator, historian, and docent
The Mystic Tea Room

See Also


This category has only the following subcategory.


Pages in category "Tea Rooms"

The following 69 pages are in this category, out of 69 total.










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