Skip to main content

Historic Cooking Resources: Finding Historic Recipes

Related Guides

Oxford English Dictionary Browser Button

Add OED Online to your browser.

With this tool, you can highlight a word on any web page, click on the Search OED Online button on your browser toolbar, and the OED Online Find Word search will display the results in your browser window. (JavaScript must be enabled.)

Search Google Books

Getting Started

Find historic recipes in books, periodical (magazine or newspaper) articles, manuscripts, and other sources. Locate the books in the Morris Library stacks or in Special Collections. Locate the articles in print or online. Recipes in manuscripts are in Special Collections.

In Books

Many cookbooks providing old American recipes are shelved at the call number TX715 in the Morris Library stacks. Others are shelved in Special Collections. The call number TX715 corresponds to the Library of Congress subject heading “Cookery, American.” Do a search on that or related subject headings in DELCAT to get a list of relevant titles.

You may browse the shelves in the Morris Library stacks at this call number area. Many of the titles will be post-1945, so be sure to find one published before 1945 or else one that contains reprints of pre-1945 recipes.

You must fill out call slips in Special Collections for books to be retrieved for your use there.

Some pre-1923 cookbooks can be found in digital format on Google Books. Limit your search result to “Full view only.”

In Periodicals

In addition to being printed in books, historic recipes can also be found in magazines and periodicals. These resources are the magazizes themselves or indexes to them:

In Newspapers

Many newspapers published recipes, especially in the first half of the 20th century. They were generally in the feature section, on the “women’s page,” in the Sunday issue. You will can browse for recipes in a national newspaper (such as the New York Times); a local newspaper (such as the Delmarvia Star); or in an ethnic newspaper (such as the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper).

The New York Times is available in a fully digitized edition. Many other local and regional newspapers are included in the America’s Historical Newspapers database. You will find in them, for example, many recipes for “Indian pudding.”

Explore early Delaware newspapers in microfilm. You can find a complete list of the Delaware Newspapers in the University of Delaware Library. There is no index to Delaware newspapers, so be prepared to spend a little time in browsing Sunday issues.

An important African American newspaper was the Chicago Defender. This newspaper is available in the Black Studies Center database.

Other historic newspapers are available on the Web. Consult the Historical Newspapers tab of the Newspapers guide.

In Online Databases

The Library subscribes to many online databases that are not searchable on the “open Web.” Databases are listed on the Library Databases page.

Subject Guide

Erin Daix's picture
Erin Daix
Erin Daix
Director of Assessment
Office of the Vice Provost
(302) 831-6943
Send Mail

Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Disaster Studies, Gerontology, Legal Studies, Sociology

Ask the Library