Philadelphia: E.H. Butler & Co., 1853. Hardcover. 180 pages. 19 x 12 cm. An early American cookbook with an inscription written by the husband of the original owner followed by the signature of the daughter whom the book was passed down to 23 years later after both parents had died.
For the many good repasts which I have eaten prepared by Elvira my dear wife and for the furtherance of that knowledge and skill which she already possesses in the Culinary Arts. I thoughtfully present this book to her - Jasper Browne - July 20th, 1853.
We know from records that Jasper Browne was a physician in Anderson, South Carolina and died in January 1876. His wife Elvira died the year before in 1875. Their daughter Mettie signed this book on March, 1876.
The Virginia Housewife, considered one of the first American regional cookbooks, became the most influential American cookbook of the nineteenth century. The cookbook is arranged practically with specific directions in weights and measures, making it simpler to follow than English cookbooks. Broad in it's range of recipes, it called on the variety of Virginia's pastures, fields, waterways and woods, demonstrating the remarkable variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, berries, meats, wild game and fish of that place and time. Also of that place and time, expressed in her Introduction, was Mrs. Randolph's disdain for the cooks, hired servants and slaves under her watch. Addressing her fellow Virginia ladies, Mrs. Randolph stresses the importance of Management and good sense as "we have no right to expect slaves or hired servants to be more attentive to our interests than we ourselves are."
[LOWENSTEIN 600] Foxing throughout. Covers heavily rubbed with splitting at spine. Quarter bound, marbled boards. Good. Item #2294