Punch magazine published this nice piece by Robert Simonson on March 18 about the author of one of our rarest holdings: the second edition of Theodore Proulx’s Bartender’s Manual, from 1888.
Nice detective work!
This 1888 edition is quite slim, but was nicely put together with a rigid card stock-like cover:
The first edition—ostensibly from 1884—was probably more a pamphlet than a book, and until one turns up, we presume it lost to time.
Sounds like the type of thing that would be nice to have a digital scan of available… hint… hint…
At Cocktail Kingdom, they’ve made a Xerox of the book, as the original is off limits for handling now. I’ve suggested to Greg Boehm that he reproduce the book several times.
100% agree. After reading the PUNCH article last week I tried to do some digging on Mr. Proulx and the guy is a ghost. I would like to see more about him and his take on cocktails.
Very nice article–well done. One of the reasons Proulx is so hard to track is that his given name appears to have been Theophile, not Theodore, although he used the latter name professionally.
He died August 4, 1918. Here’s his death notice:
I don’t know the cause. He had been crippled August, 1904, when one E. F. Daigneau, “a dangerous character,” shot him in the hip in an argument over a kidnapping.
A question: does anyone know if the Langtry Punch appears in his book? Here’s the recipe, from a June 1888 article in the Chicago Morning News (the article is from June 27, p. 3; it mentions his book):
Thank you for this missing piece in the puzzle. And, yes, the Langtry Punch is in his book. It does not match that recipe though. Proulx’s is rum and whiskey based. It does call for a claret float and fruit, however. I’ll post an image of the recipe if I can figure out how to do so.
Well, thank you for the missing piece in my own Proulx puzzle: I suspected that the bartender and the lawyer were one and the same, and collected some information about the lawyer on that basis, but the only picture I found didn’t look much like the one from the book and I had no other direct link. The one you found is a much closer match.
Welp, here’s your PDF! (Not of the CK copy, but it’s the same book.)
Thanks a ton! Can’t wait to dig into this.
I get no credit. Just passing along the link.
We are so fortunate to have euvs as a resource.
We’re fast closing in on complete availability of all old bartender’s guides. Of course, we’ve had such a thing for, say, 17th century English literature since the 60s, and it’s still a foreign country that few indeed understand. Unfortunately, getting the books is the first stage, not the last.
Or perhaps, fortunately? What is the second stage?
This is very cool. First time I noticed the inscription “Property of August Goldback, Diamond City.” I assume that’s Wilkes-Barre, PA. Though it also says a hotel in Pittsburgh. Curious.
I was in Chicago last weekend and managed to visit the Mount Carmel cemetery, where 19th century Chicago bartender and author Theophile Proulx is buried. Here is a picture of his gravesite. I believe that is the last piece in the puzzle of this mysterious yet influential, bartender’s lost history.
Very cool. Very very cool.
Here’s a map link for the cemetery itself. Apparently, Proulx is to be found in Section P (see Robert’s Substack newsletter).