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
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,
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
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.
scene from Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera, Venice, 1574?. Digital
image from Prints & Photographs Division; original
in Rare Book Division, Library of Congress.
page of The Whole Duty of a Woman, or a guide to the
female sex. Prints & Photographs
two illustrations: 1. A woman
kneeling and praying; 2. A
woman preparing food.
Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
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
The Children's Object Book. London and New York.
Printed by G. Loewensohn at Furth, Bavaria. [187-?] Juvenile
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
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
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
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
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.