Culinary History Collection


Current Editor: Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Issue 5 Winter 2004


by Jo Anne Barton

The Committee serves as an advisory group to the Collection. It does more than offer advice, however, as committee members have actively promoted the Collection by giving presentations, newspaper interviews, and by setting up exhibits. They have solicited contributions of books and money, conducted fund raisers, shopped for and bought books to add to the Collection. Dr. Ann Hertzler and Dr. Jean Robbins are credited with establishing the Committee.

When the development of the collection began, Dr. Hertzler was given the assignment of finding a home for a large collection of books donated by Dr. Markham Peacock and Dr. Laura Jane Harper to the Department of Foods, Nutrition, and Exercise (HNFE). She approached the Alumni Board of the College of Human Resources & Education (now the College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences), who agreed to support the project. Jean Robbins was named the first chair of the committee. Jean and Ann made contacts with library personnel and identified other persons who they thought would be interested in the collection. The Committee met for the first time in June of 2000 and agreed they would serve as a Steering Committee for the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Collection and as a liaison between the College and the Special Collections unit of Newman Library.

Jean and/or Ann gave many of the presentations regarding the Collection and set up a number of exhibits. They are very knowledgeable about cookbooks and their authors. They have shopped for books and purchased several for the Collection. They also worked diligently to raise funds to support Collection. Jean made a presentation to the Kroger Company which resulted in a $5000 donation. Ann's work on and for the Collection was recognized in 2001 when she received the Mary Abbott Hess Award from the American Dietetics Association Foundation for an innovative food or culinary endeavor. Ann donated the cash award of $1000 to the Collection to support student research. Committee members also contributed to a cash gift to honor Ann on her retirement. She generously donated the fund to support the Collection. She was also able to transfer funds from a research project to the Library for digitizing images.

Jean Robbins is a South Carolinian and ever the gracious, southern lady. She became friends with Dr. Peacock and kept him apprised of the activities of the Committee. He gave money to be used for the purchase of rare books for the Collection. Scott Hunter, chef at Hunting Hills Country Club in Roanoke, had been in a class that Jean taught for chefs in the Roanoke Valley and became an active member of the Committee at Jean's invitation. Chef's Challenge, a fund raising activity for the committee, was his idea and he assumed the primary responsibility for it.

Jean has degrees from Winthrop College and VA Tech. She has been a hospital dietitian, an extension home economist, an extension specialist in foods and nutrition, a public health nutritionist, and a consultant. She and her husband Mal moved to Roanoke when he accepted a job as pharmacist with Lewis-Gale Hospital. They have two daughters and 5 grandchildren.

Jean teamed with Barbara Morlang, a Public Health Nutritionist, to produce a cookbook Kitchen Memories, A Collection in 1998. The recipes came from their own kitchens and those of family and friends. They included nutrient information for each recipe and also gave suggestions for modifying many of them to meet special dietary needs.

Ann Hertzler is a native of Pennsylvania and holds degrees from Drexel, Penn State, and Cornell. She came to Virginia to be an Extension Specialist in Foods and Nutrition from a similar position in Missouri. She also taught courses in the Department of Foods, Nutrition and Exercise. Her research interests were in designing educational materials and evaluating their effectiveness. She is a prolific writer with numerous extension publications and articles in referred journals to her credit.

On retirement, Ann moved to Kure Beach, NC. She has become active in the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society in Wilmington where one of her contributions has been to edit a cookbook Modern Recipes From Historic Wilmington which combines information about historic homes in the area and recipes which might have been served in those homes.

Ann continues to work with the Peacock-Harper Committee electronically and is able to attend some meetings.

Ann and Jean share a vision of what the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Collection can become and are working actively to achieve that vision.

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Last modified on: 06.08.04 by Mark B. Gerus
Created 12.29.03 (MBG)
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