Mayflower Donuts, Optimist's Creed, Rear Cover, World's Fairs, 1939
Doughnuts and coffee are one of the world's great food pairings and this menu is from the famous Mayflower Donuts chain of shops. Established in New York in 1931 by Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia, he shortened the name to donut and developed the first automatic doughnut making machine. Eventually there was a chain of 18 Mayflower Donuts shops across the country. Levitt printed the famous jingle on Mayflower donuts boxes, showing two men dressed as old-fashioned jesters, facing away from each other, one smiling at a fat doughnut with a small hole and the other frowning at a thin doughnut with a large hole: "As you ramble on thru Life, Brother, Whatever be your Goal, Keep your Eye upon the Doughnut And not upon the Hole." Sally Levitt Steinberg, granddaughter of the founder, recalls: "My grandfather found this motto, the Optimist's Creed, as it is called, inside a cheap picture frame he happened to buy in a dime store. He adopted it as his philosophy of life." The phrase became so popular that Franklin D Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, campaigning in 1932 during The Depression, worked the phrase into their campaign speeches and also ate at Mayflower Donuts. For decades, Mayflower donuts were so popular there were constant lines outside the shops with people waiting eagerly for plump, brown and sugary doughnuts to emerge hot from the machines. Sadly, the chain closed in the 1970s. This menu dates from 1939 and celebrates the San Francisco and New York World Fairs with the slogan: "The Bite of the Nation from Fair to Fair".
Courtesy Private Collection.
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