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Culinary Ephemera Collection

Identifier: Ms-2013-028

Scope and Content

The Culinary Ephemera Collection was established in 2013. The collection consists of materials in a variety of formats that relate to food and nutrition, dating from the early 19th century to the present (although many of the materials are undated). Materials include: advertising and promotional materials for food products, games and other children's activities, menus from restaurants and events, pamphlets on nutrition and health topics, notecards inspired by food products and food publications, and postcards.


  • c.1900s-2000s

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Culinary Ephemera Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.


0.7 Cubic Feet (2 boxes; 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



The Culinary Ephemera Collection was established in 2013. The collection consists of materials in a variety of formats (postcards, menus, children's activities, advertising pamphlets, and more) that relate to food, nutrition, and medicine, dating from the early 19th century to the present.


The collection is arranged in series by material format. Additional series (and possibly subseries) are expected as the collection expands.

Series I: Advertising and Promotional Materials includes broadsides and other single sheet advertisements, product labels, and a variety of trade cards. Advertised items include food technology and production items like stoves and small appliances, agricultural products, and individual foods and companies like Carnation and Kellogg. This series contains a set of trade cards from Libby Meats featuring image of and quotes from Shakespeare, miniature trade cards with calendars, and a large Royal Baking Powder broadside, among other ephemera.

Series II: Games and Puzzles contains puzzles intended for play cocktail or theme parties, as well as items for children from restaurants and product boxes and trivia/informational tools.

Series III: Menus includes printed menus for locations and restaurants for adults and children.

Series IV: Nutrition and Health consists of informational pamphlets on diseases and specific illnesses, as well as their treatment, plus advertisements and information on patent and practical medicines, and a small group of items relating to nutrition. This series includes ephemera specific to children's health and nutrition.

Series V: Correspondence Artifacts consists of postcards and notecards featuring food products, food labels, and images from institutions with agriculture and food collection holdings. Some postcards contain messages on the back.

Series VI: Recipes includes ephemeral items that contain recipes or are individual recipes.

Series VII: Coupons and Stamp Books includes savers, booklets for collecting stamps (to be traded for items), and coupons.

Acquisition Information

Initial materials in the Culinary Ephemera Collection consisted of several purchases made and donations received in 2012 and 2013. Additional materials are expected in the future.

Alternate Form Available

Selected items from this collection have been digitized and are available online: Additional items will be added to the digital collection as they are scanned.

Related Materials

Virginia Tech Special Collections also includes a number of similar and related collections of ephemera and culinary publications:

  • Ms2011-002, Culinary Pamphlet Collection. Finding aid available online.
  • Ms2011-022, National Agricultural Publications. Finding aid available online.
  • Ms2012-040, State/Regional Home and Agricultural Publications. Finding aid available online.
  • Ms2013-027, Cocktail Ephemera Collection. Finding aid available online.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Culinary Ephemera Collection was completed in July 2013. Further description is expected as new materials are added to the collection. Additional description and reorganization of the collection was completed in September 2015, February 2017 and July 2017.

Culinary Ephemera Collection, c.1900s-2000s
Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
© 2013 Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US