(Havana): 1893. Broadside dinner menu printed on yellow silk with hand-embroidery at head. Mounted at top to larger, folded piece of red silk, hand-embroidered with "Mr. R. A. C. Smith." The menu begins with a statement announcing the dinner's honoree: "The Phoenix Tourists, / - to - / Mr. R. Narganes, / In appreciation of his kindness to them / while on the Island of Cuba."
Ricardo Narganes was a very wealthy Cuban plantation owner and businessman, managing the gas company in Havana and the American company that constructed Havana's water supply system. Robert Alexander Conrad Smith was an Englishman who owned the gas company Narganes managed, and who also owned or operated several other companies implementing infrastructure projects in Havana. Smith and Narganes had a long and friendly relationship, having been both involved in the sale of tobacco holdings to the American Tobacco Company. The Phoenix Tourists, and their headquarters at the Phoenix Club, are apparently a business society, but their exact function eludes research.
Tipped on to archival linen. Fine. A fascinating, ephemeral look at upper-class society just before the Cuban revolution against Spain really took hold. Item #31707