Until the 1800s, most cookbooks were written for chefs by other chefs. That's when upper-class women began writing cooking instructions for common families. The cookbook genre as we know it today, however, was developed in the late 19th century by Fannie Farmer.

Farmer, the Director of Miss Farmer's School of Cookery, taught practical cooking to housewives and self-published The Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1896. Whereas recipes used to call for a "sprinkle" of this and a "pinch" of that, Farmer implemented uniform measurements and syntax that is still in practice today. Versions of her book are still being printed.

Until the late 1700s, cookbooks in America were published in England or featured English foods. The first all-American cookbook was American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, published in 1798. These distinct recipes used foods natively grown in the U.S., such as pumpkins.

In the 1800s, cookbooks also contained information about how to keep your house, how to make soap, how to set the table, produce home remedies, and so on.

Big names in 20th Century cookbooks include The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker. Good Housekeeping published their first cookbook in 1903, and in the 1940s and '50s, other magazines and newspapers began publishing cookbooks.

Other collectible cookbooks are those created by churches or charities. Usually spiral-bound and created to be used as fundraisers, charity cookbooks date back as far as the late 1800s. The majority of cookbooks are soft-cover (although some do come in hardcover), and most were written by women.

With collecting cookbooks, the possibilities are endless - and you can put your collection to work and actually use the recipes!


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Cookbooks Photo Pool

Vintage Cookbooks Photo Pool

This Flickr photo pool features over 2,000 photos and scans of vintage cookbooks and old recipes from the 1940s to … [read review or visit site]

Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Want to do one quick search and pull up the mother lode of vintage books? Try Google Book Search, a database filled… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]

Bookscans.com

Bookscans.com

Bruce Black's gallery of paperback book covers from the 1940s and 50s. With help from numerous contributors, he's a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

A Treasury Of Great Recipes By Mary And Vincent Price 1965 First PrintingTwo Vintage Metal Recipes Boxes Full Of Handwritten Recipes L@@k!Vintage Lot (5) Betty Crocker's Pillsbury Better Homes And Garden Cook Books Traditional Ukrainian Cookery By Savella Stechishin Rare 1957 First Edition Hc"kevin Dundon's Modern Irish Food" By Kevin Dundon 1st/1st Hardcover 2013Julia Child Mastering The Art Of French CookingGone With The Wind Cookbook - Famous Southern Cooking Recipes - Vintage CookbookCzech Cookbook - Cleveland, Ohio - St. Procop's Catholic Church - Great Ethnic!!Lot Of 2 South Dakota Cookbooks/irene Sd & Watertown Sd/centennial & ChurchVintage Authentic La Posta Cookbook Original Famous Recipes De Mesilla MexicanThe Nourished Kitchen : Farm-to-table Recipes For The Traditional Foods...Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book, 1st Edition, 3rd PrintingLot Of 2 Vintage Home Economics Homemaking Cook Books 1910 And 1938 Wwi Wwii EraChicago, Illinois Cookbook - St. Daniel The Prophet Church - Great Ethnic!!! 3 Vintage 'cook Books'...someone Might Want ThemLot Of 32 Betty Crocker Pillsbury Bake-off CookbooksVictoria Kansas Cathedral Of The Plains St. Fidelis Church 125 Years Cookbook 1961 Cookbook Mastering The Art Of French Cooking Julia Child Simone BeckBetty Crocker's Red Pie Cookbook Hc 12 Printing Sears Special Holiday Edition Milwaukee, Wisconsin Cookbook - St. Helen Church - 1995 - Polish Heritage St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church Cookbook Mckeesport Duquesne PaMastering The Art Of French Cooking Julia Child Cookbook 1st EditionDavid Venable, In The Kitchen With David, Cookbook, Copyright 2012, SignedVintage Binder Cookbook Handwritten & Clipped 100s Recipes 1963 Betty Crocker's Cooky Book Cookbook First Edition First Printing. Vintage2 P Buckley Moss Cookbooks 1993 & 2000 A Taste Of Iowa 2000 Signed1950 Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book First Edition 2nd PrintCracker Barrel Old Timey Recipes Mobile, Alabama Temple Community Fundraiser Cookbook-jewish Recipes, 1971 SpiralBetter Homes And Gardens New Cook Book Revised Edition 1st Printing 5-ring Two Florida Jewish Cookbooks-hillel & Temple, Spirals, Community Fundraisers"new Church Supper Cookbook" Taste Of Home Cookbook CookbooksThe White House Cook Book Vintage 1929Beard On Bread 1973 First Paperback Edition By James BeardThe Joy Of Cooking By Irma S. Rombauer - Vintage - 1st Trade Ed; 1st Print -1936Vintage Marry Poppins Magic Cookbook *rare*Cooking Traditions Deluxe Recipe Binder * New Seasons 2011 DiscountVintage Set Of 20, 1958 Good Housekeeping Cookbooks. Good Condition. Lot Of 13 Vintage Cookbooks Local Spiral Bound, Patients Prescriptions, Md & PaAntique 1897 Swedish-english Cookbook The Engburg-holmberg Publishing CompanySet Of 22 Books ~ Cooking Magic Cookbooks ~ Culinary Arts Institute ~ VintageThe French Chef Cookbook By Julia Child (1968, Hardcover Dust Jacket)Betty Crocker Cookbook New The Wilton School 'decorating Cakes; A Reference & Idea Book' 1999 2nd Ed.Russell Kansas St. Mary Queen Of Angels Church - Catholic Women Cookbook - 2006"first You Steal A Chicken" Harp & Shamrock Society Of Texas Cookbook Cookbooks"a Continual Feast" Floresville, Texas Church Cookbook CookbooksHoly Trinity Church Favorite Recipes West Mifflin, Pa Hungarian CookbookPaula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible :the New Classic Guide To Delicious Dishs 4 Vintage 'cook Books'...someone Might Want ThemLot Of 7 Vintage 1963 Better Homes And Gardens Series Cookbooks Cooking HcVintage 1937 Jack & Mary's Jell-o Recipe Book"home Sweet Home Cooking: Company's Coming " Beta Sigma Phi Cookbook Cookbooks"east Texas Country Cooking" Huntington, Texas Church Cookbook CookbooksGrouping Of 4 Vintage Advertising Product Recipe Booklets Holiday Baking EnglishRoxbury Kansas United Parish Church Cookbook - 1984Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes - Vintage Spry Promotional Advertising Cookbook2 Old Cooking Ebook Cd Southern Cookbook Of Fine Old Recipes 322 Old DixieThe Wilton Way Of Cake First Edition' S - Complete 3 Volume Set Hc - GcPillsbury's Grand National Bake Off Cookbook 1st Edition, 1950