Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: A/W324

Cookbook of Mary Ishimoto Watanabe, 1979-1994


Handwritten cookbook containing recipes and notes by Mary Ishimoto Watanabe. Cookbook includes mostly recipes for American food and some for Japanese food; recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines; and recipes provided by food manufacturers.


  • Creation: 1979-1994


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the cookbook created by Mary Ishimoto Watanabe as well as 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

Collection consists of a handwritten cookbook containing recipes and notes by Mary Ishimoto Watanabe compiled during the 1980s and 1990s. The recipes are mostly for American food; there are recipes for onion beer bread, fresh apple pie, baked macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, beef stew, and roasting and stuffing a turkey. Watanabe also includes some Japanese recipes, such as nasu shigiyaki (grilled eggplant with bean paste). She documented the source and date of the handwritten recipes (e.g. New York Times), and sometimes dated her notes. In addition, there are also recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines, as well as recipes provided by food manufacturers, including Kikoman Soy Sauce; Knox Gelatine, and Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise. Watanabe also numbered the cookbook and created an alphabetical index.


Mary Ishimoto Watanabe was born September 29, 1920, in San Jose, California, to Santaro Ishimoto (1883-1938) and Umeyo Taketa Ishimoto (1892-1986), both of whom were born in Japan. She had a brother, Hideo, and a sister, Fumiye (who later changed her name to Carol and became a librarian at Harvard University). Watanabe attended school in San Jose and received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology from San Jose State College in 1942. As a result of anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II, the Ishimoto family was forced to live in incarceration camps in California and Wyoming in 1942. In 1943, Watanabe was released through the efforts of the American Friends Service Committee. She enrolled at Radcliffe College and Harvard University for graduate studies, where she earned a masters of arts degree (1944) and PhD (1950) in biology. In 1950, she married Warren H. Watanabe and they moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Watanabe joined the Army Quartermaster Corps. In 1954, she took a Japanese language course at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1961 she joined the university's Asian studies department as a lecturer in Japanese. After teaching for five years, she joined the Pacific Asian Coalition, eventually serving for three years as its president during the 1970s. Until the early 1990s, she spent her time promoting Japanese culture, helping Asian students acquire loans, raising funds for the Japanese House and Garden in Fairmont Park, and collecting Japanese woodcuts, including some she and her husband donated to the Philadelphia Museum. Watanabe died in Philadelphia in 1997.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M67

The cookbook of Mary Ishimoto Watanabe was acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Franklin Gilliam Rare Books in April 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: December 2021

By: Paula Aloisio

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 gifts from the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library and Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund.

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.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA