This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"Mr. Sol. Sayles, the well-known butcher of Sixth avenue, gave his annual clam bake to his sixty odd employes at his country seat, Eleanor Villa, beautifully situated at Long View, on the Raritan River, N. J., on Sunday afternoon. A special train of the New Jersey Central Railroad conveyed the guests, who numbered, including the employe's, 110 persons, to Plainfield, the nearest station, where they were met by carriages in waiting and conveyed over a delightful road to the grove in which the feast was prepared under the guiding hands of J. C. Shields, who, as the steward of the Glen Island restaurants for several seasons, has justly earned a reputation as a constructor of toothsome Rhode Island clambakes. At 4 o'clock the feast was ready, and ample justice was done to it under the appetizing rest imparted by the long drive in the bracing air. The bake was composed of one thousand hard and soft clams, 50 lobsters, 150 ears of corn, 50 bluefish, 50 white ba6S, 2 bushels of white potatoes, 2 buseels of sweet potatoes, 75 spring chickens, 150 hard crabs, 100 pounds of tripe and 75 watermelons. Flanking this steaming pyramid were 200 bottles of iced champagne.
When the feast was concluded Patch photographed the entire group on the lawn".
"A hole, some four feet deep, is dug in the ground, and smooth flat stones are laid on the bottom; on these a fire of wood is kindled, which is kept up half a day or more, until the stones are of a red heat. Then several bushels of clams in the shell are poured over the stones, and on these are laid a layer of seaweed. Indian corn in the ear is placed, in quantity propotion-ate to the number of bushels of clams, upon this; then follows another layer of seaweed, and more clams, then a few dozen chickens prepared for cooking; then another layer of seaweed and more clams; potatoes in their jackets come next, although some put the potatoes in an anterior stratum, and more clams. Any game in season may be added, and the top layer is always seaweed, preceded by more clams. In Rhode Island turkeys are deemed the essential layer late In the autumn. The heat evolved from the stones and retained from the fire in the sides of the pit, and the steam rising from the seaweed, serve to 6lowly and thoroughly cook each and every layer in about two hours, and then they are deftly taken out and served on long tables, with much care and neatness. The choicest wines accompany the feast, although cider is the common drink of the people.
The service is scarcely in regular courses, as the tooth-someness of the repast lies in the fact that the juices are so assimilated and interpenetrated by the mode of cooking that the guests desire not to stand upon the order of their eating, but take in thankfulness that which is set before them, with one proviso - that the supply of clams be endless".