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July 10, 2006
Culinary and Women's Historian Barbara Haber to Speak Aug. 11
Barbara Haber, distinguished women’s history librarian and culinary historian, will speak on “Women’s History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life” at the Library of Congress at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
In addition, cookbooks and books of culinary interest from the Library of Congress collections will be on display, and a small collection of old cooking utensils will be on view. Family recipes representing the Library staff’s culinary heritage will be distributed, and samples of the recipes and Temperance punch will be served.
The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division.
Haber is the author of “From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals” (2002). In 2003, after 34 years of service, she retired as curator of books at the Schlesinger Library of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, a world-renowned resource for American women’s history. During her tenure, Haber increased the collection from 8,000 to 80,000 books. She assembled volumes on women’s history, health and psychology, and popular fiction in which women were protagonists. Because of her interest in the historical importance of food, Haber increased the culinary collection as well.
Haber told the Harvard University Gazette that cookbooks, as artifacts of social history, can illuminate the lives of people and culture in new ways. “Social history is all layering,” Haber said. “My layer has to do with women and food.”
Haber received a “Who’s Who in Food and Beverage” award from the James Beard Foundation and in 1998 won the M.F.K. Fisher prize, awarded each year by the culinary organization Les Dames d’Escoffier to a woman who has made a contribution to food and its history.
The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics, with the exception of clinical medicine and technical agriculture, which are the subject specialties of the National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library. The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world.
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