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March 28, 2011

Cookery Books in The Special Collections Research Center

As Women’s History month draws to a close we present some notes and selected title page images from an earlier study of the cookery books on our shelves. The Kelvin Smith Library's Special Collections Research Center has a collection of books in the subject area of Domestic Science with an emphasis on cookery books. One of the oldest books in the collection related to culinary activities is an elaborate treatise on the art of carving meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit published in Italy in 1581. Another early work, written by Frau Weckerin and published in Denmark in 1648, was so popular as to be translated into several languages in a time when books written by and for women did not commonly achieve international best seller status.

Other titles include French, English and American publications from the eighteenth to the twentieth century which provide instruction and advice on a wide variety of topics: distilling liqueurs and brewing beer, intricate instructions for elegant dishes for the nobility, shopping at the market, waiting on company, medical treatments, decoration of houses and management of children. Sources of this wealth of information include familiar names such as Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jean Anthelme Brillat- Savarin and corporate entities such as William Baker and Company. A common theme throughout these titles is that the work of women should be valued, honored, and studied, and that pursuit of culinary skills and practical management of resources available to women would be always to their benefit.

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March 03, 2011

Notes on Our Researchers: Professor Timothy K. Beal

February brought the much anticipated release of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: the Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.” by Professor Timothy K. Beal. Since accepting appointment as the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University, Professor Beal has been a familiar face in the Special Collections Research Center. We are, of course, pleased that the range of our holdings provided Professor Beal with a fine array of working material. Whether teaching a class in the Hatch Reading Room or conducting research among the many fine examples of printed Bibles in our collection, Beal promotes and expands the University’s exhortation to “think beyond the possible.”

In his personal introduction to Rise and Fall, Beal states: " Even in the early centuries of the print era, after Gutenberg, we find a burgeoning Bible-publishing industry with literally thousands of different editions and versions.” Of these thousands, relatively few copies remain in good condition and are preserved and made available to researchers as are those in the Special Collections Research Center. One of the most vital links to our holdings are our original cataloging records. Here are links to a few of the rare book cataloging records for some of our 16th and 17th century Bibles:

Bible. Latin. Vulgate. 1572
Bible. O.T. Hebrew & Latin. 1546
Bible. Polyglot. 1657

The Kelvin Smith Library's online catalog provides one measure of access to our book collections. Search results indicate a Special Collections item if the citation notes one of the following locations: UL Spec Col Stacks; UL Spec Col Reference; UL Spec Col Vault. Contact with Special Collections staff for further assistance can be arranged by voice (216) 368-0189/(216) 368-2993 or email kslspecialcollections@case.edu.

Lastly, we can’t close this post without providing a few of the many links available to online discourse on Rise and Fall. We hope that you will enjoy listening to and reading these as much as we have:

Salon.com review

Dr. Beal on YouTube

Kirkus Reviews

The New Republic. editorial

Off the Shelf Beal interview with Kelvin Smith Library’s Information Literacy Librarian William Claspy.

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