Hatcher North

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. 

Food preparation and consumption offers a doorway to explore how people saw themselves, their neighbors, and their larger communities. 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. 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.

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Last modified: 09/18/2015

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

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Unveiling the Secrets of Greek Manuscripts in American Libraries

End of the Gospel according to John, 13th c. Mich. Ms. 25
End of the Gospel according to John,
13th c. Mich. Ms. 25

Dr. Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann describes her project of cataloging Greek manuscripts in American Libraries and then focuses on the University of Michigan collection and the results of her research to date.

Event Information

Date & Time
March 21, 2013 - 4:00pm to 6:30pm
Online
Event Type
Lecture

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Open, individual study spaces abound across the library. We also offer a range of group study spaces — many of which may be reserved in advance. 

Shapiro Undergraduate Library and Shapiro Science Library

For Spring/Summer 2016 room reservations in the Shapiro Library will be available on a "first come first served" basis. An updated room reservation system will be in place for Fall 2016.

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