Service Through Sponge Cake: Cookbooks Shaping Communities

Bookmark and Share

When and Where:
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
at Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library

Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

Service Through Spongecake
Anne L. Bower


Event Description:

What does sponge cake have to do with philanthropy? Since the Civil War era, collaborative cookbooks have been bringing women together in service to their communities. As the home of the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, the IUPUI University Library will be focusing on charity cookbooks in 2010 with:

  • a digital, searchable collection of Hoosier community cookbooks on the World Wide Web, plus support and information about how to print these unique materials on demand,
  • and a public presentation and discussion about charity cook books with author Anne L. Bower, a pioneer in the area of using cookbooks in historical inquiry.

These projects explore the intersection between a variety of fields of interest including the culinary arts, social history, and philanthropy. The digital collection of cookbooks is a collaborative effort between the University Library and the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library and will focus on Indiana cookbooks dating from the turn–of-the-century, with a special emphasis on fundraising cookbooks published by churches, synagogues, and other community organizations.

The University Library will create the community cookbook collection using unique materials from the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library’s collection of historic Indiana cookbooks. The online collection will include digital images of each cookbook in its entirety, plus in-depth descriptions of each item. The collection will be fully text searchable and broadly available on the Web. Community users who wish to “publish” their own copies of cookbooks in the digital library that are not under copyright will be able to do so. The University Library will provide sources and information about publishing on demand within the context of the collection itself.

A free public lecture and discussion featuring historian Anne L. Bower, formerly of Ohio State University, will explore the traditions of community cookbooks and how they have influenced American life, especially for women. Anne Bower is an author and editor of Recipes for Reading: Community Cookbooks, Stories and Histories. During this event, the University Library will also formally “launch” the online cookbook collection, with a virtual tour of the collection and a brief introduction to digital repositories and how they can support scholarship and the work of cultural institutions today. This event will be preceded by a reception featuring recipes from the community cookbook collection.