Purpose or Scope of Collection
A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The Cookery Collection supports the information, instruction, and research needs of the MSU faculty, staff, students, as well as visitors. The collection serves numerous University departments, colleges, and programs whose students and faculty pursue interests in food, foodways, nutrition, hospitality, history, agriculture, and literacy.
B. History of the Collection
The collection holds over 7,000 cookbooks spanning seven centuries from throughout the world. The earliest printed cookbook is a 1541 Apicius. The strength of the collection is 18th and 19th century British cookery and American cookery thanks to two outstanding donations over 25 years ago from Mary Ross Reynolds and Beatrice Grant, both former Home Economic professors at MSU. In the past quarter century collecting had focused on acquiring cookbooks to bolster these strengths, but within the past several years collecting interests have expanded thanks to the Beatrice Grant Cookery Endowment and a desire to highlight diverse and/or under represented cuisines from the United States and the world. Special attention will be given to African American cookery, Jewish cookery, African cookery, and regions in the Americas influenced and involved in the African slave trade. In addition, many community/charitable cookbooks representative of the vast ethnic influences on American cuisine have been acquired from throughout the country with special emphasis on the Great Lakes region. Cookery ephemera from the late 19th century to the present, important scholarly serials, along with menus will also be collected.