New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1998. First edition. Hardcover. 794pp. Quarto [25 cm] Blue cloth over boards with a gilt stamped title on the spine. With a pictorial dust jacket. New. Item #39361
From the publisher- "This comprehensive bibliography describes the American cookbooks in the Gernon Collection housed at the Lilly Library. AMERICAN BOOKS and its British/European counterpart, A MATTER OF TASTE, fully describe over 2,300 works in gastronomic literature and are testaments to the collecting achievements of Dr. and Mrs. John Talbot Gernon. The collection was donated to the Lilly Library in 1979 by Dr. and Mrs. Gernon, and their European collection of cookbooks were added in 1984. A MATTER OF TASTE, which describes the collection's British and European works, was published in 1990. The Gernon Collection also includes books on agriculture and gardening, brewing, distilling and wine-making, health and diet, household management, and the operation of restaurants and hotels. Famous American cookbooks include a first edition of Amelia Simmons' AMERICAN COOKERY (1796), a second edition of Mary Randolph's THE VIRGINIA HOUSEWIFE (1825), Robert Roberts' THE HOUSE SERVANT'S DIRECTORY (1827), the first book by an African-American to be commercially published; and Eliza Leslie's SEVENTY-FIVE RECEIPTS FOR PASTRY, CAKES, AND SWEETMEATS (1828) among many others. The publication of A MATTER OF TASTE marked a closure for Dr. Gernon regarding British and European cookbooks, but it encouraged his interest in American books, which he continued to purchase and donate to the Library until his declining health took its toll. His last gift was the first edition of Elizabeth Kirkland's SIX LITTLE COOKS (1877) in May 1993. However, the Lilly Library has been able to add over 300 more American works since the Gernon collection first arrived. In addition to rare and famous cookbooks, the collection's depth and breadth are also of great importance. Many 19th-century popular works are represented in multiple editions, providing bibliographers and culinary historians with publishing histories of these books. Since the collection documents many aspects of culinary customs and traditions, it also provides a social history of the United States."