The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections contains more than 3,000 rare cookery books dating from the 15th century onwards. These materials trace the evolution of recipes and home remedies, restaurants, the rise of national cuisines, food production, distribution, and marketing, nutrition, dieting, and home entertaining. Other works feature the writings of great cooks and food authors, past and present. French culinary history is especially well represented by the works of noted chefs and gourmands, such as François Pierre de La Varenne, Menon, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Marie Antonin Carême, and Auguste Escoffier.
The foundation of Cornell Library's rare cookery book collection is the Herndon/Vehling collection, a gift from James B. Herndon, Jr. and Joseph Dommers Vehling. Originally housed in Cornell's School of Hotel Administration Library, the Herndon/Vehling collection was transferred to the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in 1994.
The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is actively acquiring resources on food and wine. Recent additions to RMC's cookery book collections have focused on deepening Cornell's resources for the study of evolving cultural practices relating to cooking, eating, drinking, and entertaining.
Related Online Resources:
- Selected highlights from the collections are featured in the electronic exhibition "Not by Bread Alone: America's Culinary Heritage" (Cornell University Library: Ithaca, NY, 2002).
- The Nestlé Library of Cornell's School of Hotel Administration holds a large collection of contemporary cookery books and other publications on food and wine.
- Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project from the Michigan State University Libraries and the Michigan State University Museum. The site features full-text reproductions of 76 historic American cookbooks.