Food & Drink History Resources @Virginia Tech (and Beyond): Home
Special Collections Culinary Links
From Knox Gelatine: Desserts, Salads, Candies and Frozen Dishes, c.1936
- History of Food & Drink Manuscript Collections
- Digitized Manuscript Collections
- Digitized Books
- What's Cookin' @Special Collections (blog)
- About the History of Food & Drink collecting area
- History of Food & Drink LibGuide
- Infant, Child, & Family Nutrition Resources LibGuide
- Cocktail History in America LibGuide
About Special Collections and University Archives
New Theatre (the Lyric) and Store Building for the Blacksburg Realty Company
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About this Guide
This site includes a variety of culinary, food, foodways, and food culture history resources you can find at Special Collections and University Archives, throughout the Virginia Tech University Libraries, and online through other academic and research institutions. You'll also find a list of other academic and research organizations with significant physical collections. There might even be one near you!
If you have questions about the collection, locating resources, need help with a project, or just want to find a historic recipe for fun, feel free to contact me. Also, I have a new one page resource, created in 2021, for finding materials in our collections, how to find us on social media, and how to learn more about the Food Studies Program at Virginia Tech. You can read it online or download it!
About the History of Food & Drink Materials at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech University Libraries is home to a history of food & drink collecting area of more than 7,000 books and publications, as well as more than 100 manuscript collections. In November 2020, we also took over management of The Food Timeline and the private book collection of the site's late creator, Lynne Olver. The majority of the food and drink collecting area is housed in Special Collections and University Archives. The history of food & drink materials covers a variety of subjects and topics. Specific subsets of this collecting area include:
- The Peacock-Harper Culinary Collection began with a donation of more than 500 books given to Special Collections in 1999. This group of materials contains two private cookbook collections and you can read more about its history online.
- The Ann Hertzler Children's Cookbook and Nutrition Literature Collection includes more than 500 cookbooks for children, books about feeding and raising children and families, and storybooks which feature food in some way. You can read more about its history on a related resource guide.
- The History of the American Cocktail Collection houses more than 200 books and a dozen manuscript collections that document the role of cocktails and entertaining in American history, as well as the social history and culture that have evolved along side. You can find suggestions and help for researching cocktail history on the resource guide.
- The Food Technology & Production Collection consists books and manuscripts relating to the "life cycle" of food. This subset includes materials documenting aspects of the history, as it relates to food, of farming and agriculture, marketing and advertising, transportation, technology in the home and kitchen, and changes of products over time. A resource guide about this collection is forthcoming.
More broadly speaking, in addition to sharing 350 years of recipes and cookbooks, the history of food & drink collecting area also helps document early American cookery, southern cookery, social history, household management, home remedies, domestic economy/economy history, dietetics/nutrition, customs and eating habits, food processing/preservation, and eating/cooking in wartime. You can read more about the History of Food & Drink materials on our website.