Vintage Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

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From the Land of Tea

In this installment of "From the Land of Tea," we take a sneak-peek look at an upcoming page that will eventually be on display to the public. As a Patreon supporter, you have access to the page one full year before the public does.

  • Patreon Release Date: October 14th, 2022.
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  • Patreon Release Date: February 7th, 2023.
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American Tea Room Business Cards!
Vintage Tea Room Business Cards!


Today's topic is again Tea Rooms by Location. These are old business cards, and each one has a caption explaining it. These images will eventually be on display at the Mystic Tea Room web site. As a Patreon supporter, you have access to them one full year before the public does.

Vintage postcards depicting early to mid 20th century tea rooms are not excruciatingly difficult to acquire. Search the online auctions and postcard dealer sites and and you will soon get started on a a nice little collection. But try to collect business cards from tea rooms of the same time period and you will run into a brick wall. They are hard to find, no doubt about it.

To place this work in context, please read the following introductory pages




Building Pages As We Go

This page hosts a new batch of vintage Tea Room business cards and clipped newspaper and magazine advertisements plus older batches that were released to the public on earlier dates. It is becoming a cumulative snow ball of ephemeral goodness. In this, our THIRD iteration of unfoldment, we have 40 tea rooms represented.

Some of these establishments offer a free or paid tea leaf reading with every meal and some merely present as public tea rooms. They are listed alphabetically first by state and then by tea room name. Some of these tea rooms may also appear in the following sets of images:

You can use the site's search function (at left, in the directory bar, to search for tea room (and tea cup) names.

If the number of business cards grows too great for one page, they will be broken out into individual state lists, as with the Vintage Tea Room Postcards.

USA Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Alabama Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Alaska Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Arizona Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Arkansas Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

California Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Colorado Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Connecticut Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

London, Connecticut

Olympia Tea Room, 235 State Street, New London, Connecticut, business card. "The Store of Friendly Service" offered candy, soda, and luncheon, with "steaks and salads our specialty."

Delaware Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Florida Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Georgia Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Hawaii Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Idaho Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Illinois Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Chicago, Illinois

Ann Sauer offered the Scientific Interpretation of Tea Leaves at the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair, held in Chicago, Illinois. Oddly, she did so in the German-merican Building. Germany had just passed its first anti-Jewish laws and was beginning its rapid descent into fascist aggression, a world war, and crushing defeat, but there sat Ann Sauer, snuggled up with the Bund, presenting her "only original unique reading, which has made her famous."

Indiana Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Gary, Indiana

The Robinson Tea Shoppe Tourist Rooms, 2000 W. 4th Avenue , Gary, Indiana, business card with blotter back. This establishing meatured Southern Cooking and motorists were told to "Watch for the Copper Kettle."

Mishawaka, Indiana

Mishawaka Tea Room, Mishawaka, Indiana, business card. This card features illustrative line-art and lettering ("Good old fashioned Home Cooking") and a spot cartoon, with comic strip lettering ("We have the hunches for lunches") We also learn that the proprietor, C. L. A. Miller, serves "Strictly Home Cooking" and that the tea room was located at 220 N. Main Street in downtown Mishawaka.

Iowa Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa; newspaper advertisement from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Saturday, June 24, 1922. The Mad Hatters Tea Room served tea and restaurant food above an actual hat and clothing shop, with the "1/2" address. Cartoonish diners are dwarfed by an enormous electric fan, a modern novelty at the time, and the ad promoted "Appetizing Food -- Cool, Pleasant Surroundings," noting that, "Those who eat here are assured of tempting food, tastefully served in a cool, pleasant dining room." The ad ran on a Saturday, and asked readers, "Why not plan to eat your Sunday Dinner here tomorrow?" offering a "Special 85c Sunday Dinner from 12 to 2," while "on Week Days the hours of meal service are from 11 A. M. till 7 P. M." Indeed it seems only reasonable to "Plan to eat dinner tomorrow at the -- Mad Hatters Tea Room."

Kansas Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Kentucky Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Smith's Grove, Kentucky

Ko-Z Tea Room, Smiths Grove, Kentucky, newspaper ad, 1939; Mrs. Ree Greer, proprietor.

Louisiana Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Maine Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Gray, Maine

Rowenda Tea Room and Cottages, Crystal Lake, Gray, Maine. The sweet artwork depicts a young girl in Pilgrom costume, gazing upon blooming hollyhock flowers. Perhaps her name is Rowenda. "Situated on beautiful Crystal Lake in Gray, Maine, the ROWENDA TEA ROOM and COTTAGES offer the fastifious guest delicious home-cooked foods and attractive camps, under the pines on the shores of the lake. Special meals may be ordered, also reservations made in advance for camps. Telephone R-23. The ROWENDA TEA ROOM and COTTAGES are located on Route 26, three miles from Gray and only forty-five minutes by motor from Portland." Although it is undated, the early telephone number, the reference to a car as a "motor," and the Colonial Revival style of the art would seem to place this card in the period of 1920-1925. According to the Gray Historical Society, the property was 25 acres in size and the Tea Room was the regular meeting place for a women's association called the Optomystic Club. Frances Woodbury, the proprietor of the tea room. was the group's honorary president. When she died in 1932, her son Roliston inherited the property and the tea room was closed. Alice Welch purchased the property in the 1970s and as of 2021 she was operating an antique shop on the premises, named The Barn on 26.

West Jonesport, Maine

Seth Parker Tea Roon, West Jonesport, Maine, Charlotte D. Morton, Hostess. "Shore Dinners, Lunches, Bridge Parties. Rooms by the Day, Week, or Season. Prices Reasonable." This nicely embossed card relates to Seth Parker, a fictional character on radio portrayed by Phillips H. Lord (1902 - 1975) and broadcast on WEAF in New York City, with national syndication on the NBC network. Lord was a 28 year old radio writer, creator, producer and narrator when he began "Sunday Evening at Seth Parker's," which featured a wise old clergyman-philosopher based on his own grandfather, Hosea Phillips. The show featured old musical favourites, and the kind of homespun small-town story-telling that nostalgic Americans love. The stories were set in Jonesport, Maine, and it is here that the Seth Parker Tea Room was created, to capitalize on the popularity of the show. In 1932 the radio series made the leap to film with the RKO Radio Pictures release "Way Back Home," starring Lord as Seth Parker and co-starred Bette Davis and Frankie Darro. This was accompanied by a 1932 book, "Seth Parker and His Jonesport Folks: Way Back Home." In 1933 Lord decided to outfit a schooner named the Seth Parker, and to broadcast the real-life adventures of himself and his crew via shortwave radio as they sailed to Australia from 1934-1935. The ship was wrecked by a tropical storm and the crew was rescued by the Australians, but it came to light that the old Yankee schooner was actually a party boat, carrying alcoholic beverages and young women. Lord came home, dropped the Seth Parker persona at once, and created a new show for the CBS network, "Gang Busters," which opened with the sound of machine guns, wailing sirens, and police whistles and presented real-life accounts of contemporary crimes. He made a long-term success out of "Gang Busters," which ran for more than 1,000 episodes over two decade and was franchised as a DC comic book and spun off into several movies and a TV series.
Radio Guide, December 17th, 1931, featuring a front-page story on the popularity of the Phillips H. Lord show "Sunday Evening at Seth Parker's."

Maryland Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Massachusetts Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Bernardston, Massachusetts

The Cabin Tea Roon, George and Maude Varney, proprietors. "Home Cooking -- Refreshments. Maple Products -- Gifts. Greenfield-Brattleboror Rd., Bernardston, Massachusetts." This business card is unusual in that although it is located on athe Massachusetts-Vermont border, the freehand lettering is in an Asian brush-stroke style and the image (copyright "M A I" or "A M I") depicts a Japanese Geisha preparing tea on the floor. How this fits in with the rustic "Cabin" name and the maple syrup products, or the owners' surname, Varney, is a mystery to me.

Boston, Massachusetts

The Wishing Cup Tea Room, Boston, Massachusetts, business card. Tea Leaf Readings 50 cents by Ross, formerly of the Gypsy Tea Shop, he also offered card readings.
The Original Tremont Tea Room, Boston, Massachusetts, business card. Tea Leaf Readings 75 cents.

Michigan Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

While not strictly a business card or magazine ad, this glass ashtray from the Devon Gables Tea Room in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, qualifies as a nice piece of tea room advertising ephemera.

Detroit, Michigan

Newspaper advertisement for the Bohemian Cave Tea Room in Detroit, Michigan, which offered tea leaf readings with meals.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Private-labeled sugar cube for the Devon Gables Tea Room in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1930s.

Minnesota Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Duluth, Minnesota

Burgetta Moe's Tea Room in the Devonshire Apartments, Fourteenth Avenue East and First Street, Duluh. Phone Hemlocj 5000. A Restful Tea Room in the Residence District. Home Cooked Foods Attractively Served. Breakfast, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner." According to the Zenith City Press, "Burgetta Moe’s Tea Room operated as part of her Coolshanagh Inn at 742 1/2 East Superior Street -- the eastern portion of the Hartley Building -- beginning in 1921. The food was prepared 'as only Miss Moe knows,' and was famous for its roast chicken dinner. The tea house only opened for daily lunches and Sunday meals, served from noon to 2:30 pm. Today Patrick D. Francisco & Associates, a financial advising firm, operates from Miss Moe’s former location."
Compliments: -- ATLAS TEA ROOMS, 124-125 W. First Street, Duluth, Minnesota. "The finest and most up to date Tea Room in the Northwest. We serve the best home-cooked food in the city of Duluth. The best in pastries and courteous service. It's a pleasure for us to serve you, and you will find there is no better place to eat. Our Fountain is a place where you can enjoy a real drink or the best in Ice Cream. Come in and try one of our Specials. Our candies are made by us daily and are the best quality that can be made anywhere. A box of our Chocolates or other candy will be a treat to any lover of pure candies. ATLAS TEA ROOMS." According to the Zenith City Press, the Atlas Tea Room opened on December 20, 1922, offering a “full line of homemade candy, pastry, ice cream, and lunches.” An unknown woman wrote on this business card, "Lilac are just out here -- woods are lovely. We eat here -- 'We' means the 'Compton Advisors' as we are called (a party of 12 ladies)." For a view of the interior of this tea room, see Minnesota Tea Rooms.
A restaurant ware china creamer from the Atlas Candy and Tea Rooms, Duluth, Minnesota. I like to think that one of the "Compton Advisors" used it to add cream to her tea.
The backstamp on the bottom of the Atlas Candy and Tea Rooms creamer reads "E.F. Burg, Duluth." Burg would not have been the pottery company but a local hotel and restaurant ware supplier; it was common practice for such companies to pay the pottery to place their name on the goods for which they took orders, so that in the normal course of inventorying broken or stolen pieces, the proprietor of the tea room or restaurant would know who to look up to get replacements of their private pattern.

Mississippi Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Missouri Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Kansas City, Missouri

Egyptian Tea Room, Kansas City, Missouri, where Don Luis, "the Boy Who Sees Tomorrow," provides free readings.

Montana Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Nebraska Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Nevada Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

New Hampshire Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Hillsboro. New Hampshire

The Gables Lunch and Tea Room, Pierce Highway, Routes 9 and 202, Hillsboro, New Hampshire; Nerine Gilbert, proprietor; rounded-corner business card.

New Jersey Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

New Mexico Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

New York Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Buffalo, New York

Chapin Tea Room, Buffalo, New York. "Excellent Home Cooking. Chapin Tea Room. K. Sato. Luncheon 40¢ -- Dinner 60¢ - 75¢ - 90¢. Holidays and Sundays. Chicken, Duck, Steak Dinners 65¢ - 85¢ and $1.00. Chapin Tea Room, K. Sato. Luncheon 40¢ -- Dinner 60¢ - 75¢ - 90¢. Holidays and Sundays. Chicken, Duck, Steak Dinners 65¢ - 85¢ and $1.00. Tokyo Chow Mein and Chop Suey a Specialty. Orders Filled to Take Out. Special Attention Given To Bridge Luncheons. Phone Garfield 4678603 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, N. Y." Who "Chapin" was, i do not know, but K. Sato, the proprietor, was proud enough of being Japanese to mention Tokyo, while still succumbing to the American palate's love of Chinese food by offering Chow Mein and Chop Suey. Given the anti-Japanese sentiment that developed after the bombing of Pearl Harnor in 1941, it is pretty obvious that this tea room business card dates to the 1920s or 1930s.

Homer, New York

The Woodshed Tea Room, Gifts, and Antiques at the Hastins House, Homer, New York, business card front. This is an unusual photographic business card, like a miniature postcard.
The Woodshed Tea Room, Gifts, and Antiques at the Hastins House, Homer, New York, business card back. Here we learn more about the business at the Hastings House and what was offered.

New York City, New York

Gypsy Tea Kettle, New York City, New York, business card. Prof. Punditjee offers a free palmistry reading with meal. The Gypsy Tea Kettle had three locations in New York at this time.
Hotel Pennsylvania Tea Room, seventh Avenue, 32nd to 33rd Streets, New Your; Roy Carruthers, Manager; magazzine advertisement, mid 1920s. "Announcing the opening of Hotel Pennsylvania's Tea Room. The Tea Room of Hotel Pennsylvania offers afternoon service, tea and buffet, from 3 o'clock — except on Sundays. Music; a restful tea room of charming atmosphere; delicious tea and dainties. A ' Thé du Hour' — salad, ice cream, cakes, beverages — is seventy-five cents; service a la carte also, Lobby Floor,"
Mor Chong Co. Chinese Art Shoppe and Tea Room. 227 West 52nd Street, A Few Doors from Iceland, New York City, Phone Columbus 6541." On the back of the card the name "Geo. [George] Gong" is scrawled in a bold hand, in pencil. He may have been an employee at the Art Shoppe or Chinese Tea Room.

North Carolina Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

North Dakota Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Ohio Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Oklahoma Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Oregon Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Pennsylvania Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

A business card blotter advertising the Blue and Gray Tea Room, 441 7th Street, North, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "The Home of Good Eats, Famous for Home Cooking" was open as early as 1936, according to local newspaper ads, and the proprietor was Miss Emma Eshleman. The name "Blue and Gray" refers to the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, at which the blue-uniformed Union troops fought and prevailed against the gray-uniformed Confederate troops. Many tourists from both the North and the South visit the battlefield, making the tea room's name appear open and friendly to all.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Hand painted wooden sign, "1/2 Mile To 'The Little House' Tea Room. Open Saturday Afternoons." The Cross of Lorraine with the letters "S P" is, so far, of unknown significance to me. All i know about this tea room is that the seller of the sign said that the it had been located "near Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the 1920s."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

XXX

Rhode Island Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

South Carolina Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

South Dakota Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Tennessee Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Gatinburg, Tennessee

The M and O Tea Room in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Mrs Blanche D. Moffett, proprietor, business card, circa 1935. This tea room featured a famous Wishing Well, where visitors could throw in coins and make a wish.

Texas Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Utah Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Vermont Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Burlington, Vermont

The Mars Sweets and Tea Room, 59 Church Street, Burlington Vermont. A confectionary-turned-tea-room, the versatile Mars was the place to go "for a bite or a meal ... special luncheon served ... soda fountain service."
The Teacup Tea Room and Cake Shop, 17 Center Street, Burlington, Vermont. The business card blotter for this up-to-date establishment offered a "telephone connection," the equivalent of 21st century wi-fi, and also promised "good things to eat."

Virginia Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Washington Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

West Virginia Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Wisconsin Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Wyoming Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Unknown Location, USA

Madame Evelyn, Scientific Numerologist and Tea-ologist, reads tea leaves at the Spanish Court Tea Room, location unknown, newspaper advertisement. Tea Leaf readings free with meal.

British Commonwealth Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Australia Business Cards and Advertisements

Canada Business Cards and Advertisements

Alberta Business Cards and Advertisements

Calgary, Alberta

Professor Usher offered free tea cup readings at the Hotel York Coffee Shop in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Calgary Herald newspaper ad, May 19th, 1934. Thanks to Dixie M. Ford for bringing Professor Usher to my attention. For more information about Professor George Usher, see the page on Having Your Fortune Told At a Tea Room.

Quebec Business Cards and Advertisements

Montreal, Quebec

The new Devon Tea Room, 1318 St. Catherine West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; A Schmid, proprietor; air conditioned and featuring delicious Swiss Cuisine. This mid-century modern hang-out, with its vinyl upholstered stools and formica table-tops was memorialized in 1959 with a full colour photographic chrome-coat business card.
Devon Tea Room, 1318 St. Catherine West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; A Schmid, proprietor; back of 1959 bsiness card; the rise of Brush Script, a font that made it big!.

England Business Cards and Advertisements

All of England and Scotland

Fuller's Tea Rooms magazine advertisement, 1921. This chain of "Most Comfortable Tea Rooms" grew out of Fuller's Ltd., a company that provided in Sweets, Cakes, and Chocolates with "agents in all principal towns." At the time that this advertisement was published, the Fuller's outlets that featured tea room service numbered 28 in London, 5 in Liverpool, and 1 each in another 16 cities in England and Scotland, for a total of 49 locations.

Cornwall

Polperro, Cornwall

The Saxon Bridge Luncheon and Tea Rooms, Polperro, Cornwall, England,was located near the Bus Terminus. The proprietress, D. Ede, offered modest prices, catered for parties, and specialized in morning coffee, hot and cold luncheons, Cornish cream teas, suppers, and Cornish cream ices." Cornish cream, also known as Devonshire cream and clotted cream, is a thick dairy product made by heating full-cream cow's milk with steam heat or in a water bath and placing it in shallow pans to slowly cool. It combines the velvety texture of crème Fraiche or Greak yoghurt with the fatty richness of butter or whipped cream.

Gloucestershire

Gloucester, Gloucestershire

The Jap Tea Rooms, 35, Northgate, Gloucester, England; A. M. Latter, proprietor; 1907 magazine advertisement. Like quite a few early 20th century tea rooms, this one began its existence as a confectionary or sweets shop which sold ices during the summer months and added sit-down tea service during the tea room craze. The window signage advertises Cadbury Chocolates, with a large display. The name "Jap," now considered offensive, derogatory, and disrespectful, was in 1907 little more than a shortened reference to Japan, the provenance of the type of tea being served, the other types being Chinese and Indian.

Hampshire

Winchester, Hampshire

Norman Palace Tea Rooms, High Street, Winchester, England, magazine advertisement, 1913. This establishment offered Teas, Light Luncheons, and Home-made Cakes of all kinds, as well as Scones and Shortbread. For those so inclined, there was a Smoke Room attached.

London

London

The Ellikan Tea Rooms, 7 Crawford Street, W. 1, London, England; magazine advertisement. Mrs. Ellen Kreuger, proprietress offered All kinds of Swedish Bread, Cakes, and other specialties and served "Morning Coffee, Delicious Shopping Lunches, and dainty Teas." Her slogan was, "Meet your friends at Ellikans."

Sussex

Worthing, Sussex

Old English Tea Rooms and Tudor Cake Shop above the bookshop of W. H. Smith and Son, Ltd. South Street and Montague Street, Worthing, Sussex, England; magazine advertisement, 1913. "Modern Service in a Deightful Old English Setting at the Old English Tea Rooms of W.H. Smoth and Son. When in Worthing have Lunch or Tea in these delightful Tea Rooms, which are an authentic reproduction of Tudor domestic architecture and decoration, Popular tarriff. Home-made cakes a specialty."

Ireland Business Cards and Advertisements

Dublin, Ireland

The Suffrage Tea Room, Dublin, Ireland, advertisement.

Scotland Business Cards and Advertisements

Europe Tea Room Business Cards and Advertisements

Switzerland Business Cards and Advertisements

Locarno, Switzerland

Kunzi Cafe Tea Room, Locarno, Switzerland, oversized linen business card, 1940s. Printed like a oversized linen-finish postcard, this is non-mailable, so it must be considered a very large business card.
Kunzi Cafe Tea Room, Locarno, Switzerland, oversized business card, back.

Acknowledgements

Thanks, as always, to dear nagasiva yronwode for help with scan clean-ups and social media.

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

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