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Michigan State University

Cookbooks and Food History: Digital libraries

Cookbooks are a valuable resource for studying social history, ethnic traditions, folk medicine, and gender studies - and of course, culinary history!

*MSU* The Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Collection

Sunkist oranges recipe booklet

Atmore Mincemeat recipe booklet

Menu Collection at Culinary Institute of America


*MSU* Feeding America: Historic American Cookbooks

Presents page images and full text transcriptions of 76 significant American cookbooks, from Amelia Simmons' American Cookery (1798) to cookbooks of the 1920s.

Recipes can be searched by title and ingredient. The site also includes essays and author biographies, and a gallery of antique cooking implements from the MSU Museum.

*MSU* Little Cookbooks: The Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Collection

The Sliker collection includes thousands of cooking and food-related pamphlets and booklets, from the 1860s to the present.

The collection is being digitzed as we obtain permission from copyright holders, so it's constantly growing. You can use the website to search all holdings in Special Collections, or limit your search to only those items with images.

*MSU* Michigan cookbooks

We have nearly 2300 Michigan cookbooks in Special Collections. The oldest is from 1845, just eight years after statehood.

So far we've digitized about 75 Michigan cookbooks, and the number is growing steadily.

*MSU* Cookbook data for digital humanities

Snippet of XML markup

MSU's digital humanities librarians have packaged the transcriptions of the Feeding America cookbooks for use in digital humanities projects!

The cookbook texts were transcribed manually (not OCR) for a high degree of accuracy. The files are marked up in XML and the text data is enhanced with encoding of terms and text features relevant to the genre: recipe, recipe type, ingredients, measurements, and cooking implements. The data package also includes the XML DTD, plain text transcriptions, and metadata.

Digital menu collections

Manuscript cookbooks

Manuscript cookbooks are handwritten recipe collections compiled by individual cooks, or sometimes by several cooks within a family.

Cookbook digital libraries

Manuscript Cookbooks Survey

The Manuscript Cookbooks Survey maintains an online database of manuscript cookbooks.

Note that this is not a digital library; the database is simply an inventory of English-language manuscript cookbooks known to exist in 30+ institutions around the United States (including MSU.)

As of summer 2016 the database does not appear to list holdings from libraries in any other English-speaking countries.