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History of Food & Drink
Development Policy


Donations to support the History of Food & Drink should support the academic, research, and service missions of Special Collections and Virginia Tech. Primary and secondary resources should document the history and science of food and the implications of social conditions and changes such as eating habits, food choices, customs; social, domestic, and economic history; and scientific and technological progress in food production and preparation. Donations may also overlap with other subject areas of interest to Special Collections, including local/regional history, the American Civil War, and science and technology.

The department reserves the right to accept donations without restrictions, to turn away gifts prior to donation, and to dispose appropriately of materials that, after receipt, are deemed unsuitable to the collection. Materials not selected for Special Collections, whether duplicates or outside the range of current policy, may be added to support the History of Food & Drink in Newman Library at the discretion of Special Collections and Newman Library staff.

Types of Donations Desired

The focus of the collection is culinary history of Virginia and materials that support research related to human nutrition, food science, exercise, and historical and sociological studies. In addition to cookbooks printed in Virginia or about Virginia foods, Special Collections is also interested in:

  • Regional cookbooks and materials from dietetics, extension agents/home demonstration professionals, chefs, etc.
  • Community cookbooks such as those from churches, junior leagues, schools, and special events
  • Brand-name cookbooks and product-based pamphlets
  • Menus, nutrition education (including children), and kitchen planning materials
  • Books that also document social, domestic, and economic history (i.e household guides); changes in food behaviors; and science and technology advances related to food
  • Papers from faculty members in relevant fields (human nutrition, food science/technology, etc.)
  • Handwritten receipt/recipe books

The emphasis is on historical materials (largely prior to the 1950s) in printed or manuscript formats and written in English. Periodicals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, to see if they fill gaps in the collection.

Types of Donations that are Inappropriate

In general, Special Collections does not accept duplicate copies of titles already in the department’s holdings, due to limited space. Different editions of titles will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Anything containing mold or mildew is potentially dangerous to the existing collections. Since culinary materials, especially cookbooks, were often used in conjunction with food preparation, particularly soiled publications and manuscripts cannot be added to the Rare Book or Manuscripts collections. These items can increase the risk of insects or mold.

Materials that require considerable restoration, conservation, or unique storage can only be accepted if appropriate funds accompany the gift. In addition, the department and the library generally cannot accept large artifacts/museum-type pieces due to space restraints.

How to Donate

Please contact Special Collections staff regarding potential gifts, so that you can be sure this is the appropriate repository. All donations should be accompanied by a Deed of Gift (http://spec.lib.vt.edu/DeedofGift.pdf), which may be downloaded and filled out in advance.

Contact Information

Email: specref@vt.edu
Phone: 540-231-6308
Stop by: 1st floor Newman Library
Write to:
Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
560 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

For information on general donations, other areas of collection interest, and tax deductions, see the "Gifts and Donations Policies for Special Collections" website: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/GiftsPolicy.html.

Send questions or comments to:

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

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URL: http://spec .lib.vt.edu/culinary/CulinaryCD.html
Last Modified on: Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 12:56:11 EST

modified by: kad