Traverse City: Herald Job Office, 1884. First edition. Original rust cloth over drab card boards. Some spotting and toning front and rear. Ownership signature of May S. King, Empire Mich. to rear wrap and front endpaper. Additional gift inscription to front endpaper. Minimal soiling to the contents; offsetting from inserted recipes to pages 38-39, 48-49, 54-55, 78-79, and 106-107. Small snag to center of page 33-34 affecting 4 words. Annotated throughout by an early owner, with x's marking favorite recipes, notations of "good" to several, and a few updates to ingredient measures. An early and scarce cookery from the Midwest, The Herald Cook Book does not appear in Axford, Brown, Cook, or Wheaton & Kelly and is reported at only two institutions by OCLC.
1884 was a groundbreaking year for the women of Michigan. It was in this year that the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association was formed in Flint, and that Senator Thomas W. Palmer (MI) made the first U.S. Senate speech in support of women's suffrage. Traverse City itself was also expanding. Founded as an official town only 32 years before, the construction of its first road in 1864 assisted with transportation to a site that had previously only been accessible by water. The sawmill and lumber business provided employment for most men. Unmarried women frequently took jobs, while married women frequently took up housekeeping responsibilities for their families. "Across the state, middle class homemakers shaped numerous new and expanded charitable and professional associations, promoted mothers' pensions, and expanded forms of social welfare" (Ciani). From this context emerged projects like The Herald Cook Book -- funded by the local newspaper, it gave women an opportunity to share their knowledge as wives, mothers, and homemakers, and it assisted unmarried women in making new contacts and expanding their skillsets in writing, publishing, and project management. In various sections there are "Hints to Young Housekeepers," in which more seasoned matrons give advice from experience to their younger readers about everything from the best temperature for cake eggs, the freshness of milk, and the best methods of blanching almonds. And to the rear, the compilers include "A Few Simple Remedies" for colds, headaches, chicken pox, and other ailments -- a reminder that in a rural town with minimal access to doctors, women also bore the responsibilities of caring for families' health. Each recipe bears the name of the contributor, to give credit where it is due. An early and scarce example of a rural community cookery from the midwest. (Item #3068)