The Purple Cow, USA 1950s Menu Art
The Purple Cow, USA 1950s

The Purple Cow, USA 1950s

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Product Description

The Purple Cow was a short nonsense poem by American writer Gelett Burgess and was first published in his magazine The Lark in 1895.

It read: I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one. But I can tell you anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.

The poem became so popular – quoted everywhere – that two years later Burgess wrote a riposte in his magazine: Ah, yes, I wrote the Purple Cow, I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it. But I can tell you anyhow, I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!

Nevertheless, the Purple Cow lost none of its popularity and it was adopted by the Pick Corporation as the name of their restaurants attached to hotels, to signify that they were different to other establishments.

Hotelier Albert Pick had founded a merchandising house in Chicago in 1857, supplying hotels, restaurants, bars and soda shops with everything from table linen to glassware. In 1926, the company opened its first hotel and by the 1960s the family-owned Pick Corporation operated 31 hotels across the USA.

This delightful 1950s menu quoted the original poem and added its own jingles. Here are three examples.

The Purple Cow eats yellow hay, But our fresh eggs she does not lay, She eats green grass without a mutter, And gives white cream and yellow butter.

A cow is just a quadruped; Webster sez they’re brown or red. Tho’ you may search the whole world thru, You’ll find but one of Purple hue.

She wields a puff, this fair bovine, to keep a fresh complexion, Her charm and pancakes are divine, In fact, they are perfection!

Contemporary author and business expert Seth Godin has used the phrase in his book Purple Cow; Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

He suggests that a ‘safe’ idea for marketing a product will go unnoticed, like a normal-colored cow, while risky and imaginative ideas have a better chance of standing out from the mediocre, like a purple cow.

The Pick Corporation, run by descendants of Albert Pick, lasted until the 1960s. 

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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