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COLLECTION Identifier: A/A615y

Cookbook of Anonymous, 1887, undated


Handwritten cookbook of unidentified woman in the late nineteenth century who may have lived in the Boston area.


  • 1887
  • Undated


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the cookbook created by Anonymous is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library or whomever. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

This cookbook is a single volume consisting of mainly handwritten recipes with the last few pages containing pasted in recipes clipped from newspapers. The bulk of the recipes are for desserts, including cakes, cookies, muffins, puddings, pies, and floating island, as well as a recipe for Jenny Lind cake named for a famous Swedish opera singer popular in the nineteenth century. Also included are recipes for preserves; biscuits and breads, including two recipes for Boston brown bread; fried breads and fritters; seafood; salads and dressings; pickles; sauces; soups; meats; drinks; and candies. There is one recipe for a salve also included. Many of the recipes are attributed to various women, including a Mrs. Savage, Abbie Dyer, Mrs. Carpenter; Mrs. Baker; Miss Hemenway, Mrs. Lambert, Mrs. Chapman, and Mrs. Wells, all common surnames from the Boston, Massachusetts, area. In several instances recipes are crossed out, perhaps because they were unsuccessful, and one recipe for steamed suet pudding has an annotation that reads "reliable." A number of recipes include ingredients and measurements but little in the way of cooking instructions.


It is likely that this cookbook was kept by an unidentified woman beginning as early as 1887. Since most of the recipes were attributed to women in the volume, it is likely that a women collected the recipes from friends, neighbors, and relatives. It is possible that this woman was from the Boston, Massachusetts, area given that many of the surnames appearing in the volume are common to this area and included are several recipes for Boston brown bread, as well as recipes for cod balls, and salmon.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2013-M172

The Cookbook of Anonymous was given to the Schlesinger Library by Margaret Spratt in October 2013.

Processing Information

Processed: October 2013

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional description added: October 2020

By: Mark Vassar

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Elsie Rodd Fund in the Schlesinger Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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