This libguide was originally created by Jenny Castel, graduate student in the MLIS program at URI GSLIS, summer semester, 2017. The libguide meets the requirements of the PFE.
Community cookbooks are compiled by a group or organization in order to raise money and sometimes to share collective and collected knowledge within a group or to a wider audience. The recipes are collected from the members of the organization (such as a PTA, church group, Junior League, etc.), may or may not include the name of the person or family that submitted the recipe, and there is often a preface or forward in which a prominent member writes about the community, the event or the need to raise funds.
The books are usually locally published and printed, and more often than not, bound with plastic rings or in paperback. Some cookbooks are handwritten, while others are published by professional publishing houses and include boilerplate covers with pages such as “substitutions,” kitchen or home making tips or shortcuts, and the like.
Historically, community cookbooks have been created by women and there is some scholarly research about community cookbooks as meaningful historical, cultural, and even literary documents. See Resources for more information.
Though not an established “special collection” in its own right, there are many community cookbooks in the JWU library holdings dating from the early 20th century to the present day. This libguide features a small selection of these community cookbooks (a bibliography of community cookbook holdings published between 1918 and 1979 and thus, not exhaustive), resources for finding more information, and links to established digital and print community cookbook collections.