Digital Collections

Bakers' Cocoa bar ''fac-similie'' from Choice recipes [p. 31], 1900

DeGolyer Library Cookbook Collection

Bakers' chocolate bar ''fac-similie'' from Choice recipes [p. 31], 1900

The London art of cookery, and housekeeper's complete assistant [title page], 1787

The London art of cookery, and
housekeeper's complete
assistant [title page], 1787

The peerless cook book [cover illustration], 1901

The peerless cook book
[cover illustration], 1901

[Recipe for

Recipe for "Soft Jumbles,"
Mrs. William Hart Carr recipes,
circa 1850-1870 [p. 12]

Cookery [cover], 1883

Cookery [cover], 1883

[Design for Jaletin de Noche Buena, Socorro Aceves de Clever. Cocina. p. 43]

Design for Jaletin de Noche
Buena, Socorro Aceves de
Clever. Cocina. [p. 43]

Ad for Baker's Cocoa from Choice Recipes, 1900

Ad for Baker's Cocoa from
Choice Recipes, 1900 [p. 30]

The household treasure: containing several hundred valuable receipts for cooking well at moderate expense, making dyes, coloring, cleaning & cementing... [cover]Holding library: DeGolyer Library

View more collections held by DeGolyer Library


Cookbooks have been collected at the DeGolyer Library for decades, with especially strong holdings of regional cookbooks from the western U.S. states. Because of the DeGolyer Library’s interest in women’s history and business history, the cookbook collections are broad, including charity cookbooks, household guides, and advertising and promotional cookbooks issued by food companies. Currently, the DeGolyer Library holds some 6,000 cookbooks. The largest single collection came to the DeGolyer from George Anne Myers, who in 2006 donated over 1,300 cookbooks.

While cookbooks are obviously storehouses of recipes, they also illuminate many other aspects of the past: technological (in the shift from fireplace to stove, from pump to running water, from icebox to electric refrigerator), sociological (family composition and the relations between husband and wife, parent and child); religious and scientific (church fundraisers; nutrition theories and fads); and commercial (promotional and advertising cookbooks). Cookbooks are important in printing history. In many cases, cookbooks were among the earliest non-serial imprints from small-town printing presses.

One of the oldest culinary resources at the DeGolyer Library, the Resetas de guisos particulares para el uso de Dona Maria Josefa de la Luz Tapia, is a bound volume of 276 pages, dated 1816. The handwriting is clear and the manuscript was prepared for the use of Doña Maria Josefa de la Luz Tapia (about whom we know nothing at present). The manuscript is a unique source for culinary history, women’s studies, and Mexican cultural history.

In addition to regional cookbooks, the DeGolyer Library has a strong collection of cookbooks and pamphlets that companies used to advertise and promote their products (Gold Medal, Betty Crocker, Wesson, Oscar-Mayer, Borden, Kraft, General Foods, Baker’s Chocolate, Waring, Frigidaire, Austex Chili, Jello, etc.). These documents are useful for students of advertising and American popular culture, as well as culinary historians.

The DeGolyer Library is also building its collections of printed books on the subject of domestic management theory, kitchens and their furnishings, the history of American eating habits, and manuals of brewing, baking, and confectionery. These books provide the historical and sociological background of domestic economy in general, the “business” of the household.

Due to the limitations of optical character recognition (OCR) software, not all text in printed items may be fully searchable. The best way to view and search them is to download the files.

In addition, due to their large size, many files in this collection may take some time to load.

Items in SMU Libraries Digital Collections are digitized following the nCDS Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the Digital Collections Workflow and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.

Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting

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