This week’s postcard focuses on the best part of Thanksgiving – the food!

Postcard, circa 1910

We are pulling some historic cook books from the Museum’s collection to showcase some holiday favorites.

The first American cook book was written by Amelia Simmons in 1796 – The American Cookery. She combined classic British recipes with ingredients found in America.

A 100 years later, Fannie Merritt Farmer of Boston wrote the first modern American cook book The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. It provided exact measurements and detailed instructions, so that cooks could replicate these recipes at home. With the advent of industrialization, cooks at this time would be more familiar with standardized weights and measurements. Plus, you could more easily regulate the temperature in your oven.

Setting the Table

We hope you enjoy these glimpses into our cook book collection. I chuckled while reading this section from The American Woman’s Cookbook (1946). It dared to ask the important question…can you entertain without a maid?

Selected Recipes and Menus for Parties, Holidays and Special Occasions by Marian Jane Parker, Published by Calumet Baking Powder, circa 1930.

Starters and Sides

Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes and Household Discoveries, 1925.

Joys of Jell-O, circa 1950.

Onto the Main Event

The White House Cook Book, 1887. This cook book is aspirational and grand. Certainly not for the every day cook.

The Rumford Complete Cook Book, 1908.


The New England Cookbook, 1956.

Peabody’s Treasured Recipes, Fundraiser for the Peabody Historical Fire Museum, 1992.

Don’t forget the leftovers for the next day!

Polish Cookery: Poland’s Most Famous Cook Book Adapted for American Use, 1985.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!