Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

Special Collections Library
Hatcher Graduate Library
913 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 764-9377 (p)

A collection of American culinary history: cookbooks and other materials from the 16th through the 20th century

We are not just what we eat, but how we eat — not to mention when, where and with whom. Cookbooks, menus, advertisements, manuals of table etiquette and the like may not be written to preserve the history of everyday life, but that’s exactly what they do.

And this is what makes the library’s Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive so valuable. Containing more than 15,000 items, it paints a rich and unique portrait of American life over the centuries.

“On one level, the collection is about what people cooked and ate — but that’s just a doorway to explore how people saw themselves and their neighbors,” says collection curator JJ Jacobson.

Through the culinary archive one can explore changing attitudes towards diet and health, homemaking, commercial dining and the industrialization of food production. It also reveals historical ideas about race, class, and gender.

“This is the kind of history that’s not concerned so much with empires, kings and battles, but with where the wheat comes from, how the bread is made, how ethnic groups adopte each others recipes, and what their cultures tell women and men they should be like,” Jacobson adds.

And food continues to be an important part of our culture — contemporary discussions about organic produce, fast food, Atkins and other diet fads, concentrated feed lots, vending machines in schools and the merits of vegetarianism all stem from historical contexts chronicled in the archive.

The collection is shaped by the donation of a rich assemblage of cookbooks, menus, and other material collected over many years by Jan Longone, an adjunct curator in the U-M Special Collections Library, and her husband Dan.

Not so long ago, even the concept of American culinary history was met with skepticism.

“[Critics] said America had no cuisine or culinary history to speak of; all we ate were hamburgers,” Jan Longone wrote of attitudes at an Oxford University food symposium in the 1980s. Yet today the archive is recognized as a premier collection for the study of American culture as it relates to food and home life.

Writing in the Boston Globe, renowned chef James Beard called an exhibit of works from the collection “an unequaled feat of culinary scholarship.”

“Not all the cookbooks are good cookbooks, but they are all interesting and the authors, mainly women, were an amazing group who did a great deal to influence American history,” Beard wrote in the 1984 column.

And the collection has only continued to grow and evolve since then. Formerly held at U-M’s William L. Clements Library, it was transferred to the U-M Library in 2013 where its potential for teaching and scholarship can be fully realized.

Page maintained by JJ Jacobson
Last modified: 06/30/2014

In Between Worlds

In Between Worlds, an integrative project by Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design senior Elaine Czech, reimagines humans' relationship with primates through a series of carved wooden masks inspired by Japanese Noh Theater masks. 

Event Information

Dates
April 19th, 2013 through May 5th, 2013
Location
Current Periodicals Reading Room
Event Type
Exhibit

On View: Art and Exhibits

Enjoy refreshments and make mini works of art as you take in exhibits across the Shapiro and Hatcher Library buildings. Start things off with light appetizers in the Library Gallery and work your way toward dessert in Bert's Study Lounge, a digital exhibit space on the first floor of the Undergraduate Library.

Event Information

Date & Time
September 19, 2014 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Location
Hatcher Library, Gallery; Hatcher Library, 7th Floor Special Collections; Hatcher Library, Stephen S. Clark Library; Shapiro Library, Bert's Study Lounge
Event Type
Open House

Publish Not Perish: Faculty Advice for New Academic Authors

Stack of books

Are you an undergraduate, graduate student, or faculty member interested in learning more about academic publishing? Please join us for a distinguished panel of faculty members from across the disciplines who will discuss the academic publishing experience for aspiring authors from a variety of viewpoints.

Event Information

Date & Time
March 14, 2013 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Location
Gallery, 100 Hatcher Graduate Library
Location Information
Event Type
Panel Discussion

Joseph A. Labadie Collection

Special Collections Library
Hatcher Graduate Library
913 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
(734) 936-2314 (p)

A collection documenting the history of social protest movements and marginalized political communities from the 19th century to the present

In the 1930s, the U-M Library’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection — the oldest such collection in America — was called “probably the most complete record of the social unrest of our times that has ever been assembled."

Since then, the collection has only grown, expanding from its original focus on anarchism to also encompass:

  • anti-war movements
  • civil rights
  • workers’ rights
  • second-wave feminism
  • the New Left
  • prison issues
  • radical environmental movements
  • Black liberation
  • national liberation movements
  • LGBT equality campaigns
  • and many others

The collection is named for Detroit labor organizer and anarchist Joseph Antoine Labadie (1850-1933), who in 1911 donated the books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, manuscripts, and memorabilia he had assembled over the years.

Today, the Labadie Collection is the most widely used of all of the library’s special collections and serves as a unique and important resource for students and researchers at U-M and around the world.

“This is a collection that documents history from below,” says curator Julie Herrada. “We are preserving, and making available to the public, the activities of under-represented groups, people whose ideas are considered marginal or dangerous.”

Labadie Collection materials have been used in numerous publications and exhibits. A single poster from the collection, for example, was recently sought out for inclusion in an art book, as well as displayed in exhibits at Cornell University and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

And new materials are being added to the collection all the time. “Not long ago we received a large donation of transgender rights research materials that greatly add to our existing strength in LGBT topics,” she adds.

Along with physical access to rare and unique archival materials, a host of materials are available digitally including scans of anarchist pamphlets, historic photographs and more than 1,000 political “pin-back” buttons on topics ranging from pacifism to sexual freedom, communism to student protest.

Because of the collection’s breadth and depth, several finding aids and guides to its holdings are available, including to many of the uncataloged manuscripts and letters.

"Melba Joyce Boyd, a well-known author and Wayne State University professor, says that an activist is a person with a certain level of consciousness who then incorporates that consciousness into what they do. So, I see my work as a curator as a kind of activism,” says Herrada, who has overseen the collection since 2000.


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Page maintained by Julie Herrada
Last modified: 01/30/2015

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