Culinary Ephemera Collection Culinary Ephemera Collection, c.1900s-2000s Ms.2013.028

Culinary Ephemera Collection, c.1900s-2000s Ms.2013.028


Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Business Number: 540-231-6308

Kira A. Dietz, Archivist

Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Culinary Ephemera Collection c.1900s-2000s
0.7 Cubic Feet, 2 boxes; 1 oversize folder
English .
The Culinary Ephemera Collection was established in 2013. The collection consists of materials in a variety of formats (postcards, menus, children's activities, advertising pamphlets, and more) that relate to food, nutrition, and medicine, dating from the early 19th century to the present.

Administrative Information

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Culinary Ephemera Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Alternate Form Available

Selected items from this collection have been digitized and are available online: . Additional items will be added to the digital collection as they are scanned.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Culinary Ephemera Collection, Ms2013-028, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

Initial materials in the Culinary Ephemera Collection consisted of several purchases made and donations received in 2012 and 2013. Additional materials are expected in the future.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Culinary Ephemera Collection was completed in July 2013. Further description is expected as new materials are added to the collection. Additional description and reorganization of the collection was completed in September 2015, February 2017 and July 2017.

Scope and Content

The Culinary Ephemera Collection was established in 2013. The collection consists of materials in a variety of formats that relate to food and nutrition, dating from the early 19th century to the present (although many of the materials are undated). Materials include: advertising and promotional materials for food products, games and other children's activities, menus from restaurants and events, pamphlets on nutrition and health topics, notecards inspired by food products and food publications, and postcards.


The collection is arranged in series by material format. Additional series (and possibly subseries) are expected as the collection expands.

Series I: Advertising and Promotional Materials includes broadsides and other single sheet advertisements, product labels, and a variety of trade cards. Advertised items include food technology and production items like stoves and small appliances, agricultural products, and individual foods and companies like Carnation and Kellogg. This series contains a set of trade cards from Libby Meats featuring image of and quotes from Shakespeare, miniature trade cards with calendars, and a large Royal Baking Powder broadside, among other ephemera.

Series II: Games and Puzzles contains puzzles intended for play cocktail or theme parties, as well as items for children from restaurants and product boxes and trivia/informational tools.

Series III: Menus includes printed menus for locations and restaurants for adults and children.

Series IV: Nutrition and Health consists of informational pamphlets on diseases and specific illnesses, as well as their treatment, plus advertisements and information on patent and practical medicines, and a small group of items relating to nutrition. This series includes ephemera specific to children's health and nutrition.

Series V: Correspondence Artifacts consists of postcards and notecards featuring food products, food labels, and images from institutions with agriculture and food collection holdings. Some postcards contain messages on the back.

Series VI: Recipes includes ephemeral items that contain recipes or are individual recipes.

Series VII: Coupons and Stamp Books includes savers, booklets for collecting stamps (to be traded for items), and coupons.

Related Material

Virginia Tech Special Collections also includes a number of similar and related collections of ephemera and culinary publications:

Ms2011-002, Culinary Pamphlet Collection. Finding aid available online.
Ms2011-022, National Agricultural Publications. Finding aid available online.
Ms2012-040, State/Regional Home and Agricultural Publications. Finding aid available online.
Ms2013-027, Cocktail Ephemera Collection. Finding aid available online.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Advertisements
  • Advertising cards
  • Ann Hertzler Children's Cookbooks and Nutrition Literature Collection
  • Children -- Nutrition
  • Ephemera
  • Folk, historical, and patent medicine
  • Food Technology and Production
  • Games
  • Health
  • History of Food and Drink
  • Medicine
  • Menus
  • Nutrition
  • Patent medicines
  • Postcards
  • Puzzles and games
  • World War, 1939-1945

Container List

Series I: Advertising and Promotional Materials
  • box-folder 1 folder: 1
    Broadsides and Ephemera
    • Carnation Milk information dial
    • Frozen Drumstick (I. C. Parker) wrapper
    • Garfield Tea (Stillman Remedies Co.) table top advertisement
      1880s, likely c.1885?
      Scope and Contents

      At the earliest, this item probably dates to around 1885, four years after the death of James A. Garfield. Produced by Stillman Remedies Co. Garfield Tea was a laxative that came in loose or bagged tea form, as well as a syrup. There's no clear indiciation as to why it was named after Garfield (there is no clear connected between the late president and the company), though it may have been an attempt to capitalize on his image somehow. Records suggest there was no "Dr. Stillman," but the company was in the patent medicine business well into the 1910s. For more on this item, see the post " A Tea, a Counter-top Ad, and a Dead President " on the Special Collections blog.

    • Hermitage Country Brand Hams (E. M. Todd Co., Inc.) cooking suggestions
    • "How Dixie's French Friend Popt Corn is Made" mini-pamphlet and coupon
    • The Icy-Hot Bottle Co. (Cincinnati, Ohio) advertisement
    • Jell-O broadside
    • Magee Cooking Stove (Wm. WE. Smith & Co.) advertisement
    • Nelson Morris & Co. ham products advertisement
    • Nursmatic Special Duraglas Nurser pamphlet
    • Pig folding activity page (8 copies)
    • Puritan Hot-Air Cooker and Preserver (C. J. Parker) advertisement
    • Royal Tropicaroma Cake (Royal Baking Powder) recipe
    • "The Singing Lady" (Kellogg Company) advertisement letter
    • Sweet Brier Oats (The Midland Grocery Co.) coupon
    • Town Talk Bread lipstick tissues
    • Woodward's Fine Candies (John G. Woodword & Co.) bookmark
    • Tums "microphone" and envelopes
    • Union Coffees advertisement
  • oversize folder: 1
    Broadsides and Ephemera
    • B. Staubach Factory (Fishkill, NY) "Butcher's Fixtures" poster advertisement
    • Butter Nut Bread window display
    • Cream of Wheat Co. advertisement (from The Modern Priscilla)
    • Dryden & Palmer's Double Refined Rock Candy Syrup advertising pamphlet
      Scope and Contents

      This folded pamphlet includes five full-color illustrations of the factory in Baltimore, depicting steps in the manufacture and packing process, along with a color image facsimile of the company's label. The inside pages include information on the company, the product, and prices.

    • J. F. Lawrence Printing Company (Chicago) prospectus
      Scope and Contents

      The J. F. Lawrence Printing Company operated at least from about 1890 until at least 1913. This prospectus includes samples and descriptions for patent medicine boxes, labels, and labels available for purchase.

    • Jell-O advertisements (from The Ladies' Home Journal and Country Life)
      1923, 1925
    • Mellin's Food advertisement
      Scope and Contents

      Original pen and ink illustration of Percy Wilbur Witwer of Dallas, Texas, used as an advertisement for Mellin's Baby Food, c.1907.

    • Morris' Supreme Bacon window display
  • box-folder 1 folder: 2
    • Baker's Chocolate (Walter Baker & Co.), 2 different labels
    • Bonson Apples (Hill Crest Orchards), 3 different labels
    • King-Cola (Salem, Virginia) label (x2)
    • Mack's Milk Chocolate
    • S. Nye & Co's Improved Patent Mincing Sausage and Other Domestic Machines
    • Shine Brand fruit crate label (Orlando, Florida)
    • Southwest Virginia Co-Operative Exchange (Rural Retreat, Va.)
    • Wells & Richards Lactated Food
  • box-folder 1 folder: 3-8, 18
    Trade Cards (7 folders)

    This group of materials is organized by product/type of product. The finding aid does not include a list of individual cards or companies.

    • Appliances
    • Baby Products & Food
    • Baking Products & Candy
    • Beverages
    • Meat & Seafood
    • Medicine & Insurance
    • Other
Series II: Entertainment
  • box-folder 1 folder: 9
    Games & Puzzles
    • The Adventures of the Big Boy
    • The California Raisins 3-D
    • Fun at the Breakfast Table (2 puzzles)
    • Hostess Puzzle
    • Kellogg's Story Book of Games, Book Number One
  • box-folder 1 folder: 10
    • Kellog's Wheel of Knowledge
Series III: Menus
  • box-folder 1 folder: 11
    • "Children's Menu" (Unknown restaurant)
    • Empire State Building, New York
Series IV: Nutrition and Health
  • box-folder 1 folder: 12
    Health Pamphlets
    • Davis, Robert B., "How to Detect Drugs in Food."
    • French, James M., "The Colitis of Infants," 1891
  • box-folder 1 folder: 13
    Medicines (Patent and Practical)
    • Chamberlain, C. S., "Eusoma (Echinacea Compound)," 1904
    • "Dr. Morse's Indian Root Pills"
    • "Fellows Medical Monthly," 1879
    • Hollis, Thomas, "Jaundice Bitters"
    • "Non Multum sed Multa (Kola-Cardinette)"
    • "Old Manse Syrup (Oelerich & Berry Co.)"
    • "Physicians Essentials [Keith's Nerve Tonic]
  • box-folder 1 folder: 14
    Nutrition Information
    • "The Adventures of the Vita-Men"
    • Canadian Mothercraft Ephemera
    • Dairy Council of Wisconsin, Inc., [collection of educational materials and activities for children]
    • Dairy Council of Wisconsin, Inc., "Nutrients from Food," 1989
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Caution: Baby Under Construction"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Digestion Dictionary"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Food Power: 1987-1988 Nutrition Education Calendar"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Guide to Good Eating," 1989
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Guide to Good Eating," 1992
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Nutrient Chart" (in English and Spanish)
    • National Dairy Board, "How to Care for Yourself and Your Baby," 1985
    • National Dairy Council, "The All-American Guide to Calcium-Rich Foods," 1987
    • National Dairy Council, "Are You at Risk for Bone Disease?" 1987
    • National Dairy Council, "Calcium," 1987
    • National Dairy Council, "How to Build a Better Baby," 1985
    • National Dairy Council, "Getting Along with Milk," 1987
    • National Dairy Council, "A Woman's Guide to Bone Health," 1985
    • Oregon State Board of Health, "Food for Fun"
    • War Food Administration, [Food Groups Bookmark]
  • oversize folder: 1
    Nutrition Information
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Digestion Dictionary"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Nutribot Adventures"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "Start the Day Right..."
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "This is the Miracle of Milk!"
    • Dairy Nutrition Council, Inc., "We Need Food for Growth"
    • The Milk Foundation, "Be Good to Yourself"
    • The Milk Foundation, "Our Good Health Clock"
    • National Dairy Council, "OK Snacks Shop," 1975
    • Wheats Food Council, "The Great Grain Caper"
    • Wheats Food Council, "Growing Strong with Grain Foods"
Series V: Correspondence Artifacts
  • box-folder 1 folder: 15
    • _The Delineator_ notecards (created by Cornell University Special Collections
    • SPAM notecards
  • box-folder 1 folder: 16
    • Heinz 57
    • The One Price Clothing House (Old Van Countlandt House)
    • Ristorante "Al Pappagallo" (Bologna, Italy)
    • United Airlines (4 items)
    • Wilson & Co.
Series VI: Recipes
  • box-folder 2 folder: 1
    Recipes bound book (unused)
  • oversize folder: 1
    Scientific American Supplement No. 732, January 11, 1890
Series VII: Coupons and Stamp Books
box-folder 1 folder: 17
  • S&H Green Stamps Book
  • Top Value Stamps Saver Books (4 items)
  • Cash-Here Coupon Passbook, 1973