The Kellogg Family “Business,” Part II

Last week, we looked at one of the works of Ella Eaton Kellogg (1853-1920), an author, educator, lecturer, and advocate. This week, we’re continuing our exploration of the Kellogg food dynasty with one of her husband’s books. John Harvey Kellogg, M.D (1852-1943) was an interesting man. While we won’t delve too deeply into his biography (there’s a great deal to tell and choosing highlights is difficult!), we’ll discover a few things along the way. But first, a word from our “sponsor.”

c. 1882 advertisement for the Battle Creek (Michigan) Santitarium
c. 1882 advertisement for the Battle Creek (Michigan) Sanitarium. This advertisement was printed in one of Kellogg’s books from the period, but it would have likely appeared in other sources, including newspapers.

The Battle Creek Sanitarium opened in 1876 (Kellogg took over the existing “Western Health Reform Institute, previously run by the Seventh-Day Adventists, of which Kellogg was a member until 1907). Although the buildings and campus would see continued use through World War II and beyond–the tower building became a hospital in World War II and later, in the 1970s, the facility was a psychiatric hospital–the sanitarium as Kellogg imagined it did not last much past his death in 1943.

Our feature item this week is The New Dietetics; A Guide to Scientific Feeding in Health and Disease. It was first published in 1921 (the year following Ella Kellogg’s death–not surprisingly, this book is dedicated to her). Our copy is a third edition, published in 1927.

I haven’t included too many pages this week for a couple of reasons. One, this text, as well as earlier editions, are available online in their entirety (see links below). Two, the few illustrations/images are included are…well, not all that exciting. Unless you’re intrigued by depictions of starch granules, the effect of rickets on children, and the digestive tract, of course. And three, there just aren’t that many images. Lots of tables (you’ll see a few above), but Kellogg came from a medical background and his books are very text-based. He was prolific in a variety of formats, writing more than 50 books and at least as many articles. His works shared his theories on health, nutrition, hygiene, sex, and raising families and children.

You can find the full version of our copy from 1927 online through VTechWorks: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/10319. You can find first edition from 1921 online through the Hathi Trust: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/umn.319510004428083. Hathi Trust also includes a second edition.

If you’d like to know more about John Kellogg himself, there are some great resources on and off-line! I recommend you check out the “Further Reading” and “External Links” sections in the Wikipedia page about him, as well as this online biography (which also includes more resources).

Next week, we’re going to look at some pamphlets and advertising materials from the Kellogg company/Battle Creek AND we’ll take on the topic of corn flakes (it’s more exciting then you might realize!).

The Kellogg Family “Business,” Part I

Welcome to 2015! Many people out there may have New Years’ resolutions that are diet-related. That being said, this week’s feature may either inspire or frighten you. (Hopefully the former, but my apologies in advance if it’s the latter!)

In January 2013, we featured a two-part post about vegetarian cookbooks created by religious organizations. In both posts, there was mention of the work of John Harvey Kellogg, M.D (1852-1943). Dr. Kellogg is a fascinating man to read about and we have a number of publications from Battle Creek, Michigan, where he lived, preached, practiced, and taught a rather interesting lifestyle. In other words, January 2015 [Has it really been two years since January 2013 already? Time flies when you enjoy blogging!] is going to feature a multi-part series on another unique organization that touted the benefits of vegetarianism in the 19th and 20th century! But, before we get to the Kellogg-Kellogg feud, the Kellogg-inspired launch of Post Cereals, or Kellogg-Post feud, let’s start with Ella. Well, at least one of her works: Science in the Kitchen: A Scientific Treatise on Food Substances and Their Dietetic Properties, Together with a Practical Explanation of the Principles of Healthful Cookery, and a Large Number of Original, Palatable, and Wholesome Recipes (1898).

Science in the Kitchen, 1892

You can read a bit more about Ella Eaton Kellogg (1853-1920) on the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame website. For now, you should know a few things: 1) she was an early founder of what we now consider the field of dietetics; 2) she founded a cooking school and a school of home economics; 3) she was a prolific book and article editor and author; 4) at various times, she led organizations focused on childcare, motherhood, dietetics, hygiene, and “social purity; 5) she helped raise more than 40 adopted children; and 6) oh, and she was married John Harvey Kellogg (they were married for 41 years from 1879 until her death in 1920). Ella was quite the culinary/domestic Renaissance woman!

Science in the Kitchen was first published in 1892 and was in its third edition by 1898 (it went through at least two more in 1904 and 1910). The book was inspired by all of her work, but the first edition was published not long after the school of home economics, the the cooking school, and the “School of Domestic Economy” were established in the late 1880s. All of these activities fed into her writing a manual for those who weren’t in Battle Creek, Michigan.

In short, Science in the Kitchen was Ella Eaton Kellogg’s guide to almost everything domestic. There are introductory sections on the purpose and properties of food, the digestive system, cooking techniques, and kitchen planning and management. The majority of the text focuses on types of foods and preparations: grains/cereals, breads, fruits, legumes, vegetables, soups, breakfast dishes, sauces, beverages (alcohol and mostly caffeine-free, of course!), dairy, eggs, meats, and even desserts. The fact that there is meat section, when the Kelloggs’ themselves were vegetarians, is a rather interesting side note. Like many domestic guides, it also features recipes for the old, young, and sick, tips for food preservation, meal planning, service, etiquette, and holiday dinners. One of the more unique sections is a chapter about clearing the table, washing dishes, table linens, caring for dishware/utensils, and how to deal with garbage (more specifically, how to deal with food garbage that will be fed to animals)!

If you’re curious, you can read and view this entire work online through VTech Works, the University Libraries institutional repository here: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/10316. [To be honest, now that I’ve been skimming it, I hope I’ll have a chance to read some more of the full 565 pages myself!] From how to light a fire to school lunches, Mrs. Kellogg has something to say on just about everything and household need.

Next week (and perhaps for another week or two after that), we’ll look at more from the food, nutrition, and health focused Kelloggs. They and their publications have a lot more story to tell!


Bonus: Food History Podcast Recommendation

On a nutrition/diet-related note, I did want to share a wonderful podcast on the history of health, nutrition, and dieting in America from Backstory. It is a rebroadcast I first downloaded in late November (I don’t know the original date), but I was finally catching up on my podcasts before the holidays. You can listen to “Health Nuts” online at the Backstory website here. It runs about an hour, but you can pick and choose segments, too. If you only pick one or two, I recommend “Meatless Moralism” and “Cereal Dating.” The former has a fair bit in common with today’s feature item and the latter is just plain fun! [Backstory features three historians, each one focusing on a different century of American history (18th, 19th, and 20th). Each week, they take on a new topic, including other historians and experts in the conversation.]

Women’s History Month, Part 7: Mrs. Sarah Tyson Rorer (1849-1937)

This week’s Women’s History Month profile is on Sarah Tyson (Heston) Rorer. Born in Pennsylvania in 1849, she grew up in Buffalo. Her family moved to Philadelphia around 1870, where she met and married her husband, William Albert Rorer. In 1882, she began taking cooking classes at the New Century Club. Within two years, she launched the Philadelphia Cooking School, to educate other women in the art of cooking, dietetics and nutrition, and healthy eating. Over the course of her professional career, she was an educator, author, editor (Ladies Home Journal), columnist, radio show host, dietitian, and lecturer. Her desire to emphasize healthy cooking led her to develop “Philadelphia ice cream,” the recipe for which appears in the works of many later cookbook authors. Her style of ice cream omitted thickening agents (even eggs) and relied instead on fresh ingredients. Her work in dietetics was a significant factor in the creation of the field of hospital dietetics and the feeding of the sick. Some of her later life was spent in state and local politics in Pennsylvania. Rorer died in 1937.

Here in Special Collections, we have 8 of Rorer’s many titles, including two available online:

  • Mrs. Rorer’s Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual of Home Ecomonics, 1886 edition, 1914 edition (available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10919/10354)
  • Hot Weather Dishes, 1888
  • Home Candy Making, 1889
  • Dainty Dishes for All the Year Round, 1890
  • Good Cooking, c.1898
  • Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book: A Manual of Housekeeping, 1902
  • Mrs. Rorer’s Vegetable Cookery and Meat Substitutes: Vegetables with Meat Value, Vegetables to Take the Place of Meat, How to Cook Three Meals a Day without Meat, the Best Ways of Blending Eggs, Milk, and Vegetables, 1909
  • Mrs. Rorer’s Diet for the Sick: Dietetic Treating of Diseases of the Body, What to Eat and What to Avoid in Each Case, Menus and the Proper Selection and Preparation of Recipes, Together with a Physicians’ Ready Reference, 1914 (available online: http://hdl.handle.net/10919/10355)

One of the striking things you might notice, even from this short list of her works, is the trend in titles. Sarah Rorer was a household name and her book titles seem to build on her brand and identity. If you were to look at some of her other titles (check out a previous Culinary Thymes article from the Peacock-Harper Culinary Friends and a wonderful biography from the Pennsylvania Center for the Book), you’ll notice the trend continues. A good percentage of her works begin with “Mrs. Rorer’s.”

Sarah Rorer’s more than 50 year career focused on healthy eating and good nutrition. She continued to influence generations of cookbook authors and educators, as well as the everyday cooks she reached through her columns, lectures, and radio programs. She’s no longer a household name (unless, perhaps, you are a culinary historian), but modern dietetics owes her and her work no small debt.

Sarah Tyson Rorer bridged the 19th and 20th centuries when it came to cooking. Next week, we’ll have our last Women’s History Month profile of 2014,where we’ll go back in time a little further. Without our 18th century author (or maybe authors!) for next week, American cooking may not have developed as it did!

24/7 Resources for Your Historical Cooking Needs

Happy Thursday! Not our usual day for features, but loyal archivist/blogger Kira (that’s me!) had been working a short presentation until this morning. To help celebrate Black History Month, Newman Library has been hosting all kinds of events. Today, I gave a talk about African-American influences on American food, especially from the 1820s-1920s. I was in my home library, too, so I got to do a show-and-tell. All that sharing and talking got me thinking about our efforts to make resources available to researchers everywhere. So rather than a single feature item today, how about many?

Back in the days when Special Collections was part another unit the library, the Digital Library and Archives, there were some awesome efforts made to digitize books out of copyright. Around 200 books were scanned and converted to single-file pdfs. The list of books is online here. Topics range from household management and industrial arts to cookbooks and dietetics. They are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s name. If you have a few minutes to browse, I highly recommend it! There are some great surprises. Each item has two links: The first is to the pdf file, which you can read online or save to your computer at home; the second is to the catalog record for the item.

The Michigan State University Libraries is home to a large collection of cookbooks. Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project has more than 10,000 books in the collection and the digital collection has pages from more than 75. You can browse here and read more about the project here.

The Internet Archive has digitized books from several source, conveniently consolidated in one place! From there text page here, try searching for “cooking, american” or culinary keywords. You’ll find all sorts of books.

While there aren’t digital copies of all your favorite culinary history publications, and I’m certainly not advocating giving up your local library, special collection, or archives, sometimes you need a good historic recipe. And sometimes you need it 9pm when we aren’t always here. It never hurts to have a few good resources in your digital recipe box. There are some great online menu projects, too, but that’s a post for another day. 🙂

Presenting the History of Food & Drink at Special Collections

This week, I’m giving our loyal blog readers something a little different. Yours truly, archivist/blogger Kira, was invited to give a presentation on the culinary collection to library staff and faculty as part of an in-house training day. Happy (as always) to share the collection, I spent an hour yesterday sharing images of items, talking about how we’re re-imagining the collection, and poking a little good-natured fun.

We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and describing all our collecting areas in terms of formats, but we’re trying to break away from that model. Instead, we’re beginning to talk about collections and collecting areas thematically. Whereas we used to talk about the culinary collection in terms of books and manuscripts, we’re now talking about it in terms of larger themes: receipts and recipes, domestic/social/economic history, the history of cocktails and entertaining, changing food technology and processes–just to give a few examples. The presentation I gave was almost entirely image-based, so I’m including it here. It has a nice cross section of the collection.

(Use the arrow buttons below the slides to click through. Clicking on the button showing four arrows pointing out in different directions will show the slides at full screen size.)