Guide to the Culinary History Manuscript Collections
This guide describes the manuscript collections containing materials for Culinary History research in Special Collections at Newman Library, Virginia Tech. Collections include handwritten "receipt" (recipe) and home remedy books, household account/household management ledgers, papers of Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty and professional chefs, and pamphlets and promotinal materials from food/food technology related companies.
The entries are arranged in alphabetical order. Entries may contain a brief biographical or organizational history if one is available, and a description of the materials in the collection. The size of each collection is given in cubic feet (abbreviated "cu. ft."), with 0.1 cu. ft. the smallest designation used. Where transcripts of letters or digital facsimiles are available, this is noted.
The Special Collections Department is located on the first floor of Newman Library at Virginia Tech. Please refer to the general information page for hours and directions. Researchers interested in obtaining more information about any of the collections described below are invited to inquire in person or to contact:
Special Collections Online Reference, or (540) 231-6308 or
Special Collections Department
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001
AMERICAN EGG BOARD. COLLECTION, 1974-2004. 0.2 cu. ft. The American Egg Board is an organization that works with egg producers to successfully market eggs to the public. This collection contains a variety of American Egg Board publications, such as recipe cards and information brochures. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2009-124.
BALLARD & BALLARD COMPANY. (1880-1951). COLLECTION. c.1925. 0.3 cu. ft. Ballard & Ballard was established in Louisville, Kentucky in 1880 and specialized in the production of flour and a line of refrigerated foods. The collection includes a string of cardboard cut-out advertisements and a booklet titled, "It's Ballard that's Enough." Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2010-032.
"BOOK FOR RECEIPTS" RECIPE BOOK. n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. Recipe book written in England in 1731. At least two authors, names unknown. Some contributors are named. Recipes focus largely on delicacies--not on staple meals--and home remedies. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage Database. Images available in PDF format. Ms2008-024.
CAMERON, JANET L. COLLECTION, 1931-2001. 0.4 cu. ft. Home demonstration agent in New York, 1924-1931; Foods and Nutrition Specialist for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, 1931-1964. Collection includes biographical information about Cameron and Mary L. Thompson; memoirs about Cameron; publications by Cameron, Thompson, and both women. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-021.
CAMPBELL, FRANK LESLIE (1898-1979). PAPERS, 1953-1979. 2.4 cu. ft. Entomologist, Virginia Tech visiting professor during the 1970s. More than 5,000 wine bottle labels, collected by Campbell and his wife, mounted on index cards bearing comments on date, place, and method of acquisition, together with notes on vineyard and quality of wine. Also includes a typescript draft of the Campbells' 1964-1966 European travel memoir, "Better Late: an Entomologist's Postretirement Renovation." Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms1980-005.
CARY, KATHERINE G. (b.1895). MANUSCRIPT RECIPE BOOK, c.1915? 0.1 cu. ft. Richmond, Virginia resident. Collection consists of a recipe book containing printed and handwritten recipes compiled by Cary; Recipes include soups, breads, fish, salad dressing, sauces, pickles, and more. Finding aid available online. Ms2013-005.
"COOKING RECIPES" RECIPE BOOK. n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. Recipe book containing hand-written recipes for soups, salads, puddings, cookies, cakes, icings, and biscuits. Date, location, and full author name remain unknown. From the book's appearance, one can surmise that it dates from around the 1930s. Finding Aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Images available in PDF format. Ms2008-023.
J. E. COOLEY [NEW YORK]. ADVERTISING BROADSIDE, 1863. 0.1 cu. ft. Single-page advertising flyer for J. E. Cooley, merchant, New York, NY, dated 1863. Flyer lists prices for a wide range of grocery items, including cheese, butter, fruits, grains, poultry and "sundries." Prices are handwritten alongside item listings. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2012-007.
CULINARY PAMPHLET COLLECTION, c.1900-1990. 2.8 cu. ft. Collection includes small publications and pamphlets created and distributed by culinary, appliance, and food-related companies from about 1900 to 1990. Most pamphlets contain advertisements, recipes, product information, testimonials, or some combination of all four. Finding aid available online. Ms2011-002.
ENGLISH RECEIPT/HOME REMEDY BOOK, c. 1830s-1840s? Collection includes recipes and home remedies, with the last few pages devoted to a description of quilting designs and a "list of plate in use" for 1838; recipes consist largely of meat or fish dishes as well as puddings, desserts, and even ginger beer. Finding aid available online. Ms2013-013.
FLETCHER, TIMOTHY (1779-1864). HOUSE EXPENSE BOOK, 1825-1833. 0.1 cu. ft. This collection contains items created by Timothy Fletcher, a Maine-based school teacher and farmer: one home expense ledger that features foodstuff purchases and two papers listing the sale of personal effects like furniture, books, and maps. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2010-080.
HERTFORD RECEIPT BOOK, 1800-1833. 0.1 cu. ft. Handwritten book of recipes for home remedies, household items, rat poison, cakes, breads, meats, stews, beverages (ales), and more. From Hertford, England. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2008-027.
HERTZLER, ANN A. COLLECTION, 1863-2003. 7.5 cu. ft. Extension Specialist at the University of Missouri-Columbia; professor of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise at Virginia Tech; Extension Specialist, Virginia Cooperative Extension. Collection contains biographical information, publications, project and subject files, and artifacts relating to food and food programs, and Extension publications from both colleges. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2001-004.
HOME REMEDIES MANUAL, c. 1921. 0.1 cu. ft. A handwritten manual containing personal recipes and instructions on how to cure common ailments in people and horses, as well as how to concoct household items like paint. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2010-073.
HOW TO COOK A HUSBAND MANUSCRIPT BOOK. 0.1 cu. ft. This collection contains a hand-made book called, A Novel Recipe "How to Cook a Husband," c. 1880. The book has no known creator and contains a version of the popular story for newlywed women that compares treating a husband well to cooking a good meal. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2010-079.
GIOVANNI, GARY ANN (1940-2005). PAPERS, 1997-2004. 3.0 cu. ft. Caterer and cooking instructor of California and Blacksburg, Virginia. Papers include meticulous records of catering jobs and class notes for Blacksburg YMCA Open University classes; some material about family (including her sister, poet Nikki Giovanni); menu, recipes, and notes from the Greenbrier Cooking School; and miscellaneous food and cooking-related ephemera. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2006-011.
"KOCH-RECEPTE" GERMAN RECIPE BOOK. n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. This collection consists of a recipe book handwritten in German. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2009-050.
LACTAID, INC. COLLECTION, 1984, n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. Developer and supplier of lactose intolerance products; Collection contains a promotional folder from LactAid, Inc., including information on products and samples. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-008.
LITCHFIELD FAMILY. HOUSEHOLD LEDGER, c.1870s-1890s. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection consists of a handwritten collection of recipes, household accounts, and schoolwork from Litchfield family of Abingdon, Virginia. Finding aid available online. Ms2013-008.
LOWENBACH BROTHERS PRICE LIST, c. 1910s. 0.1 cu.ft. One page advertisement for Lowenback Brothers liquor distributor in Alexandria, Va., with detailed price list. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms 2012-006.
MCCORMICK & CO. ADVERTISING. COLLECTION, 1905. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection consists of a letter, booklet, and circular addressed to McCormick & Co. distributors in Marion, Virginia, in 1905. Items address a change in advertising and/or updates on spice markets. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-079.
MACON, ALABAMA. HOUSEHOLD AND RECIPE BOOK, 1842-1918. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection consist of a handwritten household management/recipe book. In addition to a variety of recipes, including those with measurements like saltspoons and wine glasses, the book also contains a list of duties for household slaves. Several letters and clippings were also found in the book. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-088.
MANUSCRIPT COOKBOOK [MID-ATLANTIC REGION?]. c. 1840s-1915? Collection consists of a manuscript cookbook that includes a series of recipes dating from approximately 1840-1915; recipes for wine, syrups, baked goods, and preservation and pickling instructions. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-060.
MANUSCRIPT RECIPE BOOK. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection contains a half-filled manuscript recipes for baked goods, vegetables, main dishes, desserts, and candies. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-050.
MANUSCRIPT RECIPE BOOK/SCRAPBOOK, late 19th-early 20th century. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection consists of a late 19th century book of Maine school reports, repurposed as a recipe book/scrapbook, including calling cards, advertisements, and dessert recipes. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-019.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL PUBLICATIONS, 1917-1990. 0.8 cu. ft. collection contains United States Department of Agriculture and other national agency publications relating to food, cooking and nutrition; home economics and household management; home organization; and farm and garden. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-022.
"NATIONAL DIARY" RECIPE BOOK. [1914?]. 0.1 cu. ft. Daily diary filled with handwritten and newsclipping recipes. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2009-051.
OBENSHAIN. CULINARY COLLECTION, c.1930s-1980s. 0.2 cu. ft. Collection includes recipes that are both handwritten and clipped from magazines, boxes, and newspapers. In addition, the collection contains a number of nutrition and recipe pamphlets. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-089.
QUALITY CHEMICAL COMPANY. COLLECTION, c.1920. 0.1 cu.ft. The Quality Chemical Company was founded by Harold C. Breckenridge in Detroit, Michigan. The collection contains a promotional letter, special offer flyer, a catalog of chemicals, and an order blank and addressed envelope from the Quality Chemical Company. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2010-039.
"RECORD" RECIPE BOOK. n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. This collection contains a record book filled with handwritten and newsclipping recipes. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2009-052.
STARBIRD, DAISY. MANUSCRIPT COOKBOOK, c.1905. 0.1 cu. ft. Brunswick, Maine resident, c.1905. Manuscript cookbook containing recipes, home remedies, and crochet instructions written in several different hands. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-003.
STATE/REGIONAL HOME AND AGRICULTURAL PUBLICATIONS, 1934-1994. The collection contains state agency and regional publications on topics including, but not limited to: war-time food use and victory gardens, home planning and organization, food and cooking, home demonstration, and household management. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-040.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA COUNTIES COLLECTION. PAPERS, 1783-1878. 0.5 cu. ft. Letters, deeds, promissory notes, invoices for goods and services, toll bridge fee receipt, child's watercolor, pen and ink drawings of weaver's coverlet designs with titles of designs included. Leather bound volumes include accounts, recipes (including the Nancy Figgat recipe book and a book of home remedies), and more. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2000-092.
SWEET 'N LOW AND BUTTER BUDS. PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS, 1979-1985. 1.9 cu. ft. Collection consists of materials relating to Sweet 'N Low, including advertisements, flyers, distribution and purchasing information, and recipes; Collection also includes a 1979 display board for Butter Buds with pamphlets. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-058.
WILDASIN, BERTHA R. COLLECTION, 1946-1987, n.d. 0.6 cu. ft. Collection contains two series--Culinary Papers and Ephemera--whose materials range from 1946 to 1987. Culinary papers include clipped and handwritten recipes. Ephemera includes genealogy notes, newspaper clippings about famous people, and sewing/home craft information. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2011-091.
WILSON, SALLIE. RECIPE BOOK, n.d. 0.1 cu. ft. Resident of Liberty (Bedford County), Virginia. Recipe book, probably from the late nineteenth century, devoted largely to desserts and breads but also containing recipes for other fare, as well as home remedies and household goods. Finding aid available on the Virginia Heritage database. Ms2009-002.
WINDLE, MARION. RECIPE BOOK, 1918-1974. 0.1 cu. ft. Collection includes a compiled recipe book with recipes dated from 1918 to 1974. The recipes were most likely collected by Marion Windle, whose name is found on the cover. Finding aid available online. Ms2012-069.