Thomas Family Recipe Books,
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains two handwritten recipe books from the Thomas Family of Baltimore, Maryland. These cookbooks highlight Maryland specialities (oysters, clams, crabs, and terrapins), as well as preserves, cakes, puddings, and other dishes. The majority of the recipes range from the 1870s to the 1910s, but at least one dates back to 1831. Most recipes list an attribution and were probably handed down through several generations of women. Both volumes contain family recipes that would have been prepared, and possibly created, by slaves owned by the Thomas family prior to the Civil War.
One book has "Cookery Book, Alice Whitridge Thomas" stamped upon the front cover. It features a number of additional recipes -- either clipped from a newspaper or mailed from an acquaintance -- laid into the pages, including a letter from the head waiter of the Bellevue-Stratford who inclosed the recipe for sour cream dressing in exchange for three dollars. The dates given for these inserts span 1831 to 1917. This book contains recipes for soups, oysters, Sibby Grant's "Stewed Kidney's," preserves and jellies, desserts and baked goods, meat dishes, and multiples version of "Beef tea." Also included is a 1917 list of orders placed with Miss Nannie M. Hanson's Home-Made First-Class Preserves, Pickles, and Mincemeats. The second book contains recipes for pickled and preserved goods, terrapin, cakes, puddings, croquettes, and "Queen Victoria's Favorite Soup." Only a few of these recipes give dates, ranging from 1871-1883.
- 1831, 1870s - 1910s
- Thomas, Alice Whitridge (Person)
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the Thomas Family Recipe Books must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Douglas H. Thomas, to whom many of the additional in recipes are addressed, appears in the 1860 census as one of seven children for J[ohn]. Hanson Thomas and Annie C. Thomas. The 1880 census shows a J[ohn]. Hanson Thomas (b. abt. 1814) married to Annie C. [Campell Gordon?] Thomas (b. abt. 1820). The following seven children appear in the 1860 census: B. Gordon, J[ohn] Hanson, Raleigh C., Douglas[s] H., Nannie G., Mary B., and John Marshall.
Douglas H. Thomas (b. 1847), a prominent banker and later bank president, married Alice Lee Whitledge, whose name appears stamped on the 1895 cookery book cover. They had three children: Douglas, John Hanson, and Alice. Many of the inserted recipes from the 1910s are addressed to Mr. Douglas Thomas. The unstamped book contains a recipe addressed to Mr. D. H. Thomas Jr., presumably Douglas and Alice's son.
0.2 Cubic Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The collection contains two handwritten recipe books from the Thomas Family of Baltimore, Maryland. These cookbooks highlight Maryland specialities (oysters, clams, crabs, and terrapins), as well as preserves, cakes, puddings, and other dishes. The majority of the recipes range from the 1870s to the 1910s, but at least one dates back to 1831.
The Thomas Family Recipe Books were purchased by Special Collections in February 2012.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Thomas Family Recipe Books was completed in July 2013.
- Thomas Family Recipe Books, 1831, 1870s - 1910s
- Alexandra Dowrey, Graduate Assistant and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- © 2013 Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
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Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US