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Food & Drink History Resources @Virginia Tech (and Beyond): VT Libraries

Special Collections in the University Libraries can help with your food & drink history research, including books, manuscript collections, ephemera & digital items. This LibGuide also includes resources you can find at other institutions.

A note on contemporary food and food culture resources

If you are interested in contemporary food science and technology, food studies, and nutrition, you may also want to consult the Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise guide and/or the Food Science and Technology guide. If you are looking for a broader historical context of food and its role in general or Appalachian culture, you may also want to consult the History guide or the Appalachian Studies guide.

Books and Publications @Virginia Tech

In Print

The History of Food & Drink collecting area has more than 7,000 publications. Books, relevant theses and dissertations, pamphlets, extension publications, and other printed materials can be searched through the library catalog or through the discovery system.  

About 2/3 of the book collection is located in Special Collections and University Archives and can be accessed through our reading room, Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm or by appointment (please contact us to arrange appointments). The remaining 1/3 of the book collection is housed in Newman Library or in the library storage facility and is available to be checked out. 


Over 200 books from the History of Food & Drink materials, primarily 19th century cookbooks, household management guides, and nutrition guides, are available in digital form (pdf). The university's institutional repository, VTechWorks, also includes more than 3,000 Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) publications in digital form. 

Theses & Dissertations @Virginia Tech

Many Virginia Tech graduates have written theses and dissertations on culinary topics. Many are available online in full-text, but please note, some may have restrictions regarding access from outside the Virginia Tech community. Links are provided whenever possible. 

  • Spencer, Maryellen. Food in Seventeenth Century Tidewater Virginia: A Method for Studying Historical Cuisines, Ph.D. 1982. (Chair, Dean Laura Harper.) 
  • Merrell, Mindy. Societal food-related values as reflected in magazine advertisements: A content analysis. 1933 -1983. 1985 (Chair, Dr. Janet Johnson)
  • Sheffield, Rebecca. The Nutritional Quality of the Diet of 18th Century Moravians (1775-1800) in Salem, North Carolina: A comparison of present dietary trends. 1993 (Chair Dr. Nancy Barclay.) 
  • Miles, Saranette Denise. A Fighter To The End: The Remarkable Life and Career Of Laura Jane Harper. Master of Arts.  
  • McSorley, Charles P. Forming A Culinary Architecture, Master of Architecture, 2003 (Chair, Prof. Paul Emmons.) 
  • Parrett, Matthew Barton. The Give and Take on Restaurant Tipping, PhD, Economics, 2003 (Chairs, Dr. Catherine Eckel, Dr. Mark Stegeman.) 
  • Shelton, Paul Hunter. The Cook as Physician: Medical Philosophy, Nutrition, and Diet in England, 1450-1650. 1990. 
  • Stauffer, Heather Elizabeth. Grocery Store, Master of Architecture, 1999 (Chair, Prof. Marco Frascari.) 

Journals & Serials @Virginia Tech

The University Libraries subscribe to a variety of journals on culinary history, food studies/culture, nutrition, and other related fields. We may also have back issues in print or online access to back issues of other titles to which we do not currently subscribe. 

Databases subscribed to by the University Libraries

The University Libraries subscribe to several databases which may of interest for researchers working on culinary history, food studies/culture, nutrition, and other related fields.

Subject Guide

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Kira Dietz
Assistant Director
Special Collections and University Archives
University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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