To create a historical design archive, New York hotel the Waldorf Astoria has launched an amnesty program, asking people with swiped memorabilia to return the items along with a note explaining how they were taken. What’s being returned? A lot more than bathrobes.
One note reads: "My mother would go to fancy hotels and take demitasse spoons. She gave them to me years ago. I still use them."
"We suspect this ashtray was taken by a bachelor uncle, Princeton 1928, who worked in New York. Did he succumb to youthful temptation?"
"This coffeepot was taken by my dad on his honeymoon in 1938. They splurged on this one special night."
This soup terrine was swiped in 1947 by a then-impoverished couple. The woman returned it in person: "I don’t want it anymore."
Frank Sinatra and his wife moved into a suite at the Waldorf in 1964. Old Blue Eyes’s monogrammed shower doors went missing during hotel renovations.
Istockphoto (Spoon); Image Source/Getty Images (Ashtray); Gab Archive/Redferns/Getty Images (Sinatra)
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.