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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 957: Vt-261: T-507

Papers of Martha Rose Shulman, 1966-2010


Papers of cookbook author, food writer, journalist, and teacher Martha Rose Shulman.


  • 1966-2010

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the unpublished papers created by Martha Rose Shulman is held by Martha Rose Shulman during her lifetime. Upon her death, copyright will descend to her heir, Liam Grantham. Upon the death of Liam Grantham, copyright, if it has not already expired, will transfer to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. 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.


12.93 linear feet ((31 file boxes) plus 2 folio+ folders, 10 photograph folders, 3 audiotapes, 4 videotapes, 1 archived web site)

The papers of Martha Rose Shulman include personal and professional correspondence; personal journals; drafts of Shulman's cookbooks and columns; publicity and clippings; recipes; notebooks regarding her catering work and Supper Clubs in Austin, Texas, and Paris, France; photographs; and audiovisual materials consisting of interviews and cooking demonstrations. The materials in this collection document the evolution of Shulman's cooking and writing career from the 1970s through the 2000s and illustrate her consistent focus on cooking health-conscious and vegetable-centered foods. The collection also documents the many friendships and relationships that sustained and supported Shulman personally and professionally.

Folder headings are those of Shulman; archivist's titles are in square brackets. One cookbook, as well as two menus which are from restaurants Shulman visited during a trip to Brittany in May 1983, Hostellerie du Vieux Moulin and Le Galion, were removed and cataloged separately.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1966-2007 (#1.1-17.5, F+D.1, E.1), includes Shulman's resumé, personal journals, and extensive correspondence. The correspondence with Shulman's extensive network of friends traces her life in Austin, Texas (1972-1981), Paris, France (1981-1993), and in California (1993-). The correspondence is also with family members, such as her stepsister Melodie (Geraldine); her brothers, particularly Max; her father; and her stepmother, Mary Gordon Shulman, whom she affectionately called Mumsie or Mumz. Shulman had a close relationship with her stepmother who taught Shulman how to cook and supported her career throughout her life. Shulman's letters, as well as her personal journals, include descriptions of her daily life and activities, relationships and friendships, and career. The letters from Austin, Texas particularly address her early professional life, including teaching cooking classes, her start in catering work through the founding of Moondream Catering Service and Moon House Supper Club, selling food to co-ops and modeling for artists to make ends meet, as well as writing articles and cookbooks, including her first cookbook, The Vegetarian Feast (1979) and the associated television/radio appearances and book signings. She also writes about her bout with hepatitis beginning in the late 1970s, which informed the focus of at least one of her food columns (#24.10). In her letters from France she writes about her travels; coordinating her Supper Clubs; working catering jobs; her work in general; friendships; and her romantic relationships, including her marriage to Bill Grantham in 1987. Correspondence files from California also include about the birth of their son Liam (1998). There are also many holiday cards, birthday cards, postcards, birth announcements, and family updates from friends. This series also includes correspondence with Christine Ruiz-Picasso (#14.8-15.6). Picasso and Shulman met in 1980 and became friends. Picasso, who is the widow of Paulo Picasso, the son of Pablo and Olga Picasso, rented her Paris apartment to Shulman from 1981 to 1992. Their correspondence is mostly in French. Of note is a key to Shulman's primary correspondents (#1.3) where she identifies and describes her relationship with many of these friends and family members. In Shulman's personal journals she comments about her work, meals she has eaten, recipes, dinner parties, and travel, as well as personal observations, descriptions of her dreams and moods, poetry, and her relationships and sex. The journals often contain loose materials such as clippings and correspondence. Also included is Shulman's web site, which is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. Series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, PROFESSIONAL, 1974-2010 (#17.6-31.7, F+D.2), includes correspondence, drafts of books, Shulman's columns and articles in draft and published form, reviews of Shulman's books and clippings about her, research materials, notes, and catering and Supper Club notebooks. This series documents the development of Shulman's career promoting and preparing healthy food with a focus on vegetarian cuisine. Content covers her early days in Texas running a catering service and progresses through Shulman's numerous writing projects, from her first cookbook hand-written in 1975 (#24.5) through the latest draft manuscript of Mediterranean Harvest published in 2007 (#31.5-31.7). Also included are the multiple food columns and articles she wrote for newspapers and national magazines, starting with the Austin-American Statesman and Vision magazine based in Texas, and expanding to include Food & Wine, Self, Eating Well, Prevention, Los Angeles Times, etc.

Professional correspondence includes with publishers, magazine editors, and Shulman's literary agents, Molly Friedrich from the Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency and London-based Abner Stein. The content relates to the publication of Shulman's cookbooks, articles and columns, and other cooking projects and publicity. Correspondence folders also include advice and rejection letters she received from publishers; cooking related projects and events; clippings; publishing agreements; and royalty statements. Of note are letters with M. F. K. Fisher and Julia Child wherein Shulman discusses her work and receives advice and support. Shulman also participated in collaborative cookbook projects. One example is her association with Dr. Dean Ornish and the Ornish Cardiovascular Research Project in the 1980s (#25.9-27.2). For Ornish's study of cardiovascular patients, Shulman developed recipes and menus, set up the kitchen and supervised the cooking. The recipes developed were included in the book Stress, Diet, & Your Heart. Supper Club and catering notebooks (#19.4-22.1), contain recipes, menus, guest lists, seating arrangements for guests, guest comments, list of expenses and supplies, etc. Series is arranged alphabetically by groupings and then loosely chronological within each group.

Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS AND AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS, 1971-ca.2004 (#PD.1-PD.10, T-507.1-T-507.3, Vt-261.1-Vt-261.4), includes photographs, audiocassettes, and videocassettes. Photographs include publicity images as well as Shulman with friends or working. Of note are a set of photographs Shulman took of women demonstrating against police brutality in Pharr, Texas in 1971 (#PD.1). The audiovisual materials include Shulman's appearances on news, lifestyle, or cooking programs, sometimes demonstrating recipes and techniques, and promoting her cookbooks, such as Provençal Light and Mexican Light. Also included in this series is Chez Martha Rose. Gourmet Health in Paris, a program where Shulman prepares for a dinner party, including visiting outdoor food markets in Paris, and step-by-step preparation of the meal (#Vt-261.1). This series is arranged by type and chronologically within each grouping.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Cookbook author, food writer, journalist, and teacher Martha Rose Shulman was born on March 14, 1950, in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her parents were the American writer and humorist Max Shulman (1919-1988) and Carol Shelley Rees (1921-1963). Shulman has three brothers, Daniel, Max, and Peter. One year after Shulman's mother's death, Shulman's father married Mary Gordon. Shulman attended Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts (1965-1968) and Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1968-1969). She dropped out of Radcliffe and traveled to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to help organize farm workers through the United Farm Workers union. She also worked with children through Head Start in Texas (1969-1972) and attended the University of Texas at Austin (1972-1973).

Shulman began her career in Austin, Texas, in 1973 when she developed a series of vegetarian cooking classes that she taught through the University of Texas Extension. In September of that year she founded the Moon House Supper Club, where once a week she prepared a three-course dinner for 25-30 people in her home. She also started Moondream Catering Service, specializing in vegetarian cuisine. Her catering work included parties, conferences, and a breakfast in bed service, where she would prepare the breakfast food in the client's home. Her first widely published cookbook, The Vegetarian Feast, came out in 1979. Starting in 1978, she began writing weekly cooking columns focusing on vegetarian and healthy food for the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, as well as articles for Texas Monthly and Vision magazine, where she had a regular column (1980-1982).

In 1981, Shulman moved to Paris, France, where she lived for twelve years. During this time she continued her Supper Club and catering work, wrote articles for newspapers and magazines, and published more cookbooks, including Fast Vegetarian Feasts (1982), Supper Club Chez Martha Rose (1988), Mediterranean Light (1989), The Almost Meatless Diet Book (1990), and The Bread Book (1990). On November 27, 1987, she married the entertainment lawyer Bill Grantham in London. She had met Grantham while working as a reporter at the annual Television Festival at Monte Carlo (1982-1986). In 1993, Shulman and Grantham moved to California, first to Berkeley, where Grantham attended law school at the University of California, Berkeley and then to Los Angeles, California in 1996. Shulman and Grantham had one son Liam, who was born in 1998. They divorced in 2006.

Shulman has written over 27 cookbooks, several of which have been nominated for awards. Shulman received the 1979 Tastemaker Award for The Vegetarian Feast, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award in the Health and Diet category for Entertaining Light (1991), and the Julia Child Award for Provençal Light (1994). She has also worked on many award-winning collaborative writing projects. In 2001, she worked with Wolfgang Puck's Executive Pastry Chef, Sherry Yard on The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts, a James Beard Award winner (2003). In 2013, she received a James Beard Award along with Jacquy Pfeiffer for his book, The Art of French Pastry. The book also received the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. Since 2008 Shulman has also been contributing recipes to The New York Times online.

Shulman married the opera set and costume designer Robert Israel in January 2019. They live in Los Angeles, California.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Biographical and Personal, 1966-2007 (#1.1-17.5, F+D.1, E.1)
  2. Series II. Professional, 1974-2010 (#17.6-31.7, F+D.2)
  3. Series III. Photographs and Audiovisual Materials, 1971-ca.2004 (#PD.1-PD.10, T-507.1-T-507.3, Vt-261.1-Vt-261.4)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2013-M170, 2013-M226, 2014-M188, 2015-M198, 2017-M182

The papers of Martha Rose Shulman were given to the Schlesinger Library by Martha Rose Shulman between September 2013 and October 2017.

Processing Information

Processed: November 2018

By: Laura Peimer, with assistance from Ashley Thomas.

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.

Shulman, Martha Rose. Papers of Martha Rose Shulman, 1966-2010: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by Class of 1956 Schlesinger Library Fund and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing 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.

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