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

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.

About Special Collections and University Archives

New Theatre (the Lyric) and Store Building for the Blacksburg Realty Company
New Theatre (the Lyric) and Store Building for the Blacksburg Realty Company

Monday-Friday 8am-5pm & By Appointment

Contact us:
Telephone: 540-231-6308

Twitter: @VT_SCUA
Information for Visitors

Find us online!
Our website
Our digital collections
Our blog
Our LibGuide (Information about us and our collections)

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. 


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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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