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History of Food & Drink Collection

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The Virginia Culinary Thymes newsletter promotes the Culinary History Collection at Virginia Tech and the growing interest in culinary history and food culture.

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 History of Food & Drink Collection brings to the public over three centuries of historical information about the domestic sciences, including recipes, customs, eating behaviors, food choices and habits, social, domestic, and economic history, children's nutrition and literature, cocktail history, and food technology and production.You can read more of our collection development policy online.

Since 2000, Special Collections has received donations of or purchased "receipt books" (the old name for recipe books), photographs, curriculum materials, as well as cookbooks, nutrition literature, and social/domestic/economic commentary To see digitized pictures associated with the collection, browse or search the VT ImageBase.

Searching Book and Manuscript Materials

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.

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." To find other library materials on this topic using the subject "cookery--juvenile literature".

VT's Online Rare Books

The History of Food and Drink Collection includes more than 200 digitized books available online. They are also available through Addison.

Digitized Manuscript Recipe Books Other Resources

Developing the History of Food & Drink Collection

The Culinary Collection continues to grow through gifts as well as purchases enabled by generous donors. We follow on this culinary collection development policy. You can also see a list of past donations and donors online.

If you have materials that may be appropriate for the library's History of Food and Drink Collection or you would like to financially support the collection, please contact Special Collections at 540-231-6308 or via email. You may also write to:

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
560 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

About the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Friends

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 History of Food & Drink Collection.

For more information on the Peacock-Harper Culinary Friends group and how to join, see their website.

Aaron Purcell, Director, Special Collections
Kira A. Dietz, Acquisitions and Processing Archivist, Special Collections

Send questions or comments to:
University Libraries
Virginia Tech, P.O. Box 90001,
Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001

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URL: http://spec .lib.vt.edu/culinary/index.html
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