Our Culinary Blog!
Special Collections is pleased to announce a new blog highlighting the Culinary History Collection. Each week, "What's Cookin' @ Special Collections?!" will feature images and historical (hopefully entertaining, too) information about an item in the collection. Bonus posts throughout the week may include quotes, new acquisitions, links, and notes about culinary-related events. We encourage you to ask a question, post a comment, or just visit us to browse and learn a little more about our Culinary History Collection.
The Culinary History Collection
Out of the initial donation in fall 1999 that resulted in the establishment of the Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection, came the first of many donations to University Libraries and its Special Collections. The Culinary History Collection brings to the public over three centuries of historical information about the domestic sciences, including customs, eating behaviors, food choices and habits, social and economic history, and scientific and technological progress.
"Receipt books" (the old name for recipe books), photographs, curriculum materials, as well as cookbooks, nutrition literature, and social commentary have been donated by many generous individuals. To also see online pictures from this collection, browse or search the VT ImageBase.
To retrieve historical culinary titles from the library's online catalog, Addison, enter the keyword search phrase "culinary collection."
A list of manuscript collections at Special Collections relating to culinary history is available online. These collections can also be found through Addison.Donations and Donors
In 2006 Ann Hertzler, who was instrumental in bringing the Peacock-Harper Collection to the library, initiated a $100,000 endowed fund to establish and support the "Ann Hertzler Children's Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Archive." This is the first historical children's cookbook collection that also emphasizes nutrition literature. To retrieve historical culinary titles from the Hertzler collection, search Addison using the keyword Hertzler and/or "children's cookbook" and find other library materials on this topic using the subject "cookery--juvenile literature".VT's Online Rare Books One-of-a-Kind Digitized Manuscript Recipe Books
- Book for Receipts (1731) Acc. 2005-126 (PDF 5.4MB, 39 pages)
- Cooking Recipes (~1940s?) Acc. 2005-126 (PDF 5.4MB, 43 pages)
- Nancy Figgat Recipe Book (inscribed Oct. 29, 1860) (PDF 5.4MB, 144 pages)
- Receipts and home remedies (~ 1869) (PDF 3.7MB, 88 pages)
The Bibliography of Virginia-Related Cookbooks, compiled by Cynthia D. Bertelsen in spring 2006, has over 1300 entries. It is available in [PDF 226K] and HTML. In 2009 she compiled Resources for Studying the History of Jamestown and Food in Virginia. See several of Virginia Tech's theses and dissertations that have focused on culinary topics and other historical culinary arts collections.Developing the Culinary History Collection
The Culinary Collection continues to grow through gifts as well as purchases enabled by generous donors. We follow on these culinary collection development and related policies, such as
If you have materials that may be appropriate for the library's Culinary History Collection, donations may be made by contacting Special Collections at 540-231-6308, or write to them at Newman Library, Virginia Tech, P.O. Box 90001, Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001.
Jean Robbins chaired the initial Culinary History Collection Advisory Committee. Now known as the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Friends (PHCF), they sponsor several meetings for the public each year and continue to find resources to develop, preserve, improve access to the Culinary History Collection. Since Fall 2009 the PHCF are guided by
- Jo Ann Barton
- Cynthia Bertelsen
- Sandy Bosworth
- JoAnn Emmel
- Ann Hertzler, Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise
- Dorothy Herndon
- Jean Robbins, chair
- Frances Trent
- with advice about online resources from Gail McMillan, Director, Digital Library and Archives at Virginia Tech's University Libraries
The PHCF published the Virginia Culinary Thymes 2001-2007 to promote the Culinary History Collection at Virginia Tech and the growing interest in culinary history and food culture. Caryl Gray has revived it and the first issue of 2010 will soon be available.
If you have materials that may be appropriate for the library's Culinary History Collection, please contact Special Collections Reference at 540-231-6308. You may also write to them at Newman Library, Virginia Tech, P.O. Box 90001, Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001.
Support Virginia Tech's Culinary History Collection:
Peacock-Harper Culinary Friends
Aaron Purcell, Director, Special Collections