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From the Cataloger’s Desk: Back to School with a Domestic Science Cook Book

September 1, 2016

The IHS library is fortunate to hold a rich variety of materials representing schools across the state. From 19th-century primers to20th-century yearbooks, elementary schools to universities, extracurricular activities to commencement exercises, we have it covered!

For this month’s blog, I am pleased to share a domestic science cook book published by the South Bend Board of Education in 1929. Although the subject matter is no longer taught in many schools today, the book itself is very interesting. It is filled with recipes for beverages, soups, salads, breads, meats, desserts, and so much more. There are even tips for packing a lunch box, setting a table, serving guests, and practicing proper table etiquette.

As you turn the pages, you will also see marginalia contributed by students who used the book over time. In some cases, it is a small change in measurement or the suggestion of an extra ingredient. In other cases, it is a detailed explanation of a cooking method or the addition of an entirely new recipe. Since it was used for practical purposes in a kitchen setting, the book is slightly worn, and there are smudges and stains on some of its pages. Perhaps these are a result of spilled ingredients or food-covered fingers? Regardless, these are fascinating details that shine a light on this particular textbook’s journey through time.

Be a good student by visiting the IHS library and learning all about early 20th-century domestic science! The record for this item can be found here.


Lindsay Borman is the cataloger of Printed Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: She can name all of the U.S. presidents ... in order!

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