In conjunction with some instruction sessions, classes, and other ventures, we have produced several resource guides for food-related topics. One is general and the other two are connected to specific subsets within the history of food & drink materials:
- Food & Drink History Resources @Virginia Tech (and Beyond)
- Infant, Child, & Family Nutrition Resources
- Cocktail History in America
- Special Collections Resources for APS1704: Food & Foodways Please note: This page is part of a larger guide on Appalachian resources in Special Collections and is only representative of items you might find here. The link will take you directly to the section on food & foodways (which also includes traditional medicine, farming, & agriculture).
We consider these guides to be continual “works-in-progress,” and we encourage you to check back in with them, as we add new resources and make updates as often as we can. And remember, you can always contact us if you need help locating resources!
About the Collection
In 1999, Special Collections received a donation of more than 700 books, now known as the Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection. The donation was the combination of two private book collections. This first group of materials contained publications documenting more than 3oo years of culinary history and was the inspiration to collection additional items relating to the history of food & drink. More information on the Peacock-Harper Collection is available online.
In addition to recipe books and guides on household management, the history of food & drink materials also include and help document nearly four centuries of local and community cook books in Virginia and nearby areas; the history of food processing and food technology; social, domestic, and economic history as they relate to food; food behaviors and eating; and nutrition. As of late 2011, we have expanded our collecting to include the history of the American cocktail from its roots in the 19th century through the modern age of entertaining. While a majority of the collection consists of published materials, we have nearly two dozen manuscript collections relating to culinary history, ranging from advertising ephemera to handwritten receipt books to faculty and department papers. More information about our History of Food & Drink collecting area online.
A subset of the History of Food & Drink collecting area relates specifically to children’s cookbooks and nutrition. In 2006, Dr. Ann Hertzler, a Professor Emerita of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, endowed the Ann Hertlzer Children’s Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Archive.” This collection contains both historic and contemporary children’s cookbooks, books about nutrition babies and children, and Virginia Extension publications. It also includes Dr. Hertzler’s professional papers and presentations. A website with more information about Dr. Hertzler’s research, publications, manuscript collection, and the endowed collection, as well as links to digitized and web content, is available online.
Over 200 books from this collecting area, including cookbooks and publications relating to the industrial arts are available online through the new VTechWorks digital repository hosted by Newman Library. A list of culinary book titles is available here. Four of our handwritten receipt books have also been digitized and can be downloaded in pdf format here. The earliest of these is dated from the 1730s and the most recent from about the 1930s.
In addition to any of the informational links about, you can contact us directly with questions, comments, and suggestions relating to the History of Food & Drink collecting area.