Culinary archive illuminates centuries of family life

September 3, 2013
from the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

The University of Michigan Library has acquired the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive, which was formerly held at the university’s William L. Clements Library. A portion of the extensive collection is on display as part of the exhibit American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution. Jan Longone talks about the exhibit on September 24 at 4:00 pm in the Hatcher Library Gallery, followed by a reception provided by Zingerman’s.

The Longone Archive is recognized as a premier collection for the study of American culinary history. Jan Longone, adjunct curator in the U-M Special Collections Library, has spent much of her life building a diverse culinary library of cookbooks, menus, magazines, advertisements, and ephemera related to culinary history. More than a decade ago, Jan and Dan Longone donated the collection to make it available to students and scholars. Housed in the Clements Library for more than a decade, the collection was transferred to the U-M Library in July in order to fully realize its potential for teaching, learning, and research at and beyond the University of Michigan.

The collection illuminates more than just cooking and eating; it draws a picture of family life and social relations over a span of four centuries. Its contents include information on how food was grown and how animals were butchered, what ingredients were available, advice for housewives, government publications, and more, and braid together family and public life. Researchers use the collection to study in areas such as gender roles, history of race and ethnicity, food and drink marketing, and rationing.

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Last modified: 09/09/2013