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Selected Works on Gastronomy in the
Rare Books and Special Collections Division,
Library of Congress

Science Reference Section
Science, Technology, and Business Division
Library of Congress

1. Bartolomeo Platina. De Honesta Voluptate. Cividale del Friuli, Italy, 1480.
John Boyd Thacher Collection

In 1475 the Italian humanist Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481) compiled and published in Venice the first printed cookbook and was almost immediately appointed Vatican librarian. Many of the recipes for meats, broths, stews, pastries, and pies he had translated from the manuscript of Maestro Martino, "Libro de Arte Coquinaria," ca. 1450-60, that would eventually be added to the Bitting Collection by Dr. A. W. Bitting, Katherine Golden Bitting's husband. This second edition of Platina was the first of only two works printed in Cividale during the 15th century by its first printer, Gerardi de Flandria. It is opened to a recipe for roasted chicken stuffed with bread and walnuts.

2. Bartolomeo Scappi. Opera (Works). Venice, 1574. Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection

Engraved plates illustrate culinary activities in the Vatican kitchen where Scappi was private cook to Pope Pius V.

3. Ryori Shitsuke-sho. "Manner of Cookery" (In Japanese) [1642?] A block book, in two volumes, folded and bound Japanese style. Bitting Collection

This work on carving contains over five hundred illustrations depicting methods of carving, preparing and cooking fish and fowl. It is contemporaneous with the first works on carving published in Europe.

4. Hannah Woolley. The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet. 8th ed. London, 1684. Bitting Collection
First published in 1770, Woolley here offers preserving, candying and cookery laced with eloquent attacks on male chauvinism. Her cookery is mostly medieval and her medical receipts for digestive disorders may be required after tasting her dishes. Two copies of the 2nd edition, published in 1672 , are in the Pennell Collection.

5. Whole Duty of a Woman or a Guide to the Female Sex, from the age of sixteen to sixty. London, 1735. Bitting Collection

Beginning a gradual shift from men writing for men cooks to women writing for women housekeepers, this anonymous work makes cookery, church, and children the business of women. Physical conditions of housekeeping were backbreaking and continuous for all but the highest aristocrats, possibly explaining the need for advice on how to obtain virtues and avoid vices. The 3rd ed, 1701, in the Pennell Collection has no illustration.

6. Hannah Glasse. Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. London, 1747. Bitting Collection

First published in England in 1747, Glasse's cookbook, though similar to earlier works, became the most popular cookbook in England and the American colonies for the rest of the eighteenth century. She deplores French cuisine, stresses individuality, gives no diagrams for table settings, but provides a chapter for ships' captains.

7. Amelia Simmons. American Cookery. Hartford, Connecticut, 1796.
American Imprint Collection

First cookbook written by an American to be printed in the United States, it uses ingredients commonly available to American cooks including corn, squash, and pumpkin, and is the first to offer a recipe for pumpion (pumpkin) pie. It also includes four recipes for cookies and gingerbread that are the first known to recommend the use of pearlash, the forerunner of baking powder, as well as the first recipe for cake-like gingerbread to appear in American print.

8. Manuscript recipe books of home remedies and cookery: Mary Coates Book, [Philadelphia?] 1740; Book of Anne Booth of Savannah and Philadelphia, 1802; Rebecca Dawson's Book, 1821. Marian S. Carson Collection

All three manuscript compilations include culinary recipes, medical remedies and hints for solving household problems.

9. Lydia Maria Child. . The Frugal Housewife Dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy. Boston, 1829.

Child (1802-1880), one of the first women to make a living by writing, was best known for her abolitionist work, Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans, 1833, and Juvenile Miscellany, the first American magazine for children. In her household guide she recommends saving and recycling, wasting neither time nor materials, and urges folk to make rather than buy, for "Economy is a poor man's revenue, extravagance a rich man's ruin."

10. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Physiologie du gout. Paris,1852. Illustrated binding. Bitting Collection

French lawyer and gastronomist, Brillat-Savarin is known the world over for his witty 1825 treatise on the art of dining, The Physiology of Taste;or Transcendental Gastronomy. During the Reign of Terror he spent time in the U.S. teaching French and playing the violin and then returned to France in 1797 to serve as a counselor to France's Supreme Court of Appeal until his death in 1826.

11. Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The American Woman's Home. New York, 1869. Bitting Collection

This classic by the Beecher sisters is dedicated to "the women of America, in whose hands rest the real destinies of the Republic." It includes chapters on good air ventilation and heat, home decoration, exercise, cleanliness, domestic manners, care of children, the aged, and domestic animals, and giving to charity, as well as good cookery.

Drawing of a large room fitted out for cooking with a hearth, kettles, tables and plates.  A man sits near the hearth.

Kitchen scene from Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera, Venice, 1574?. Digital image from Prints & Photographs Division; original in Rare Book Division, Library of Congress.

Image of the title page of the book, "The Whole Duty of a Woman."

Title page of The Whole Duty of a Woman, or a guide to the female sex. Prints & Photographs Division, Library
of Congress.

Two engraved illustrations:  a woman on her knees praying, and a woman  working  with what appears to be food in a  basket that is on a table.

Engraved frontispiece with
two illustrations: 1. A woman
kneeling and praying; 2. A
woman preparing food.

Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Engraving of 6 scenes of women cooking and baking.

Illus. in: Hannah Wolley, The Queene-like Closet; or Rich Cabinet, London, 1684, frontispiece.
Prints & Photographs Division,
Library of Congress

12. Elizabeth Smith Miller. In the Kitchen. Boston and New York, 1875. Bitting Collection

This suffragist, abolitionist daughter of Gerrit Smith dedicated her cook book to the cooking class of the Young Ladies' Saturday Morning Club of Boston. She included some French and German recipes, many English and American, and some from family relations in the North and South. She notes that she has tested them all and supplied accurate weight and measures. Her last chapter, "Ho for the Picnic!" includes fare that was probably tested at Fossenvue, the summer camp she and her daughter Anne established on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. Their suffrage scrapbooks are in the NAWSA Collection and American Memory.

13. Chromolithographic illustrations of late 19th century kitchens in:

The Children's Object Book. London and New York. Printed by G. Loewensohn at Furth, Bavaria. [187-?] Juvenile Collection
The Diligent Girl as Lady of the House. A new amusing game for good girls. [Germany? 187-?]
Marian S. Carson Collection

14. Abby Fisher. What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cookery. San Francisco, 1881. Bitting Collection

Fisher is one of the first African Americans to publish a collection of recipes. After winning medals for her pickles and preserves at the San Francisco Mechanics' Institute Fair in 1880, the Women's Institute of San Francisco and Oakland commissioned a compilation of her recipes that was printed in the Women's Co-operative Printing Office. In her preface Fisher explains that although she has lately arrived from Mobile, Alabama, she has over thirty-five years of experience in southern cooking. Her limited formal education made it necessary for her to dictate her recipes for transcription.

15. Shakers share their knowledge of good cooking and healthy living:

How the Shakers Cook, and the Noted Cooks of the Country. [New York, 1888]

This pamphlet, which is essentially an advertisement for "Shaker Extract of Roots, or Seigel's Curative Syrup" and other Shaker remedies sold by A. J. White of New York City, includes an account of Margaret Sullivan's visit to the Shaker community at Mount Lebanon, N.Y.; Shaker recipes; illustrations and descriptions of noted chefs; and an almanac for 1889. Marian S. Carson Collection

Martha J. Anderson. Social Life and Vegetarianism. Mount Lebanon, N. Y., 1893. Shaker Collection purchased from J. P. MacLean.

Shakers are known for their simple, healthy living and hearty culinary arts. Here Sister Anderson stresses the importance of eating meals regularly, wasting neither time or materials, and living in equality and cooperation with brothers and sisters in the community.

16. Favorite Dishes. A Columbian Autograph Souvenir Cookery Book. Compiled by Carrie V. Shuman. Chicago, 1893. Bitting Collection

This compilation is an example of many in the Bitting Collection that feature women's recipes collected for special occasions or for fund raising. It includes 300 autographed recipes and 23 portraits provided by Lady Managers of World's Columbian Exposition. It was published to provide funds for less fortunate women to travel to the Chicago fair.

17. Examples of ethnic and regional cook books in the Bitting Collection:

Chong Jan & Co's Chinese Cook Book. A High Class Cook Book in English and Chinese. San Francisco, 1913

Includes French, German, Irish, and American recipes, as well as some traditional Chinese dishes. Offers advice on marketing, care of food, directions for freezing, and daily menus.

Aristene Pixley. The Green Mountain Cook Book. Brattleboro, Vt., 1934

Dedicated to Grace Coolidge. Notes Vermonters pride in self-sufficiency and individuality and offers simple and economical recipes featuring locally plentiful food including deer, wild turkeys, maple syrup, honey, cream and eggs.

18. Menus: Boston, 1869, n.d.; Philadelphia, 1872. Marian S. Carson Collection

19. Food Product Advertisements: Washington, D. C. 1847, n. d.; Boston, 1861. Printed Ephemera Collection

20. The Housekeeper's Manual, or Estimate of the Cost of Furnishing a House. New York, 1869. Copyright Deposit

21. Katharine Meynell. Eat Book. Illustrated by Meynell and Susan Johanknecht. Vermont, Janus Press, 1990. Artist book of rhymes and recipes, bound in wooden boards and wrapped in a linen dinner napkin.

22. Leonard N. Beck. Two "Loaf-Givers" or A Tour though the Gastronomic Libraries of Katherine Golden Bitting and Elizabeth Robins Pennell. Washington, Library of Congress, 1984.

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   February 24, 2017
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