Geneva, NY: Press of W. F. Humphrey, 1895. First Edition. Original gold and white publisher's cloth binding, with title and decorative motif stamped in blue to the front board. Gentle rubbing to boards, but externally pleasing overall. Front hinge cracked and rear starting, but both holding well. Contemporary ownership signature of "Edith E. Dunning. Auburn, NY" to front endpaper. Some pages bear slight chipping or toning to the edges not affecting text; a clean, about Near Fine copy internally with none of the expected signs of kitchen use. Contemporary advertisements throughout. Includes 8 pages of contemporary handwritten recipes and a calling card inserted loosely at the front; notation in pencil to verso of rear endpaper, else unmarked. An excellent and research rich copy of this rare charitable cookery book, which is currently the only one known on the market. OCLC reports only 5 examples at institutions worldwide.
First and only edition of this charitable women's cookery, which was produced "for the instruction of women in Culinary Science" with the goal "not only to increase the fund already in the Treasury which ultimately is to be appropriated for the equipment of that institution, but also to contribute a book which shall be of practical use to all house-keepers." Clearly a group of educated women, the Board compiling the cook book viewed house-keeping as an occupation that required knowledge and scientific workability. They reveal in the preface that all advice and recipes were researched and vetted to ensure that they created "a work of real merit," and their title page contains an epigram from Ruskin praising women's roles as sorcerers, chemists, and "loaf-givers." Including a range of recipes from breads and cheeses, to chafing dish meals, to meats, sauces, and salads, the book also contains advice on different service for lunch and dinner. The recipes' clear and easy to follow instructions suggest its compilers recognized the busy lives of women running homes, and that they opted to assist in making domestic cookery straightforward and efficient. Notably, the Geneva Hospital which the Woman's Board supported was connected to Geneva Medical College, which only 45 years prior had made history by granting an M.D. to Elizabeth Blackwell, the first degreed female doctor in the U.S. This connection signals that the women of the organization also hoped to ensure updated equipment and a solid infrastructure for an institution that had welcomed in students of their own sex.
Charitable Cook Books Collection of Helen Evans Brown 197. Near Fine (Item #4174)