Manuscript recipe book

Biographical and Historical Notes

Sarah K. Fotterall is the creator of this nineteenth-century manuscript recipe book. Certain recipe ingredients, such as oysters, tomatoes, and peaches, suggest that she may have lived in the mid-Atlantic region. Furthermore, the use of imported produce such as lemons, oranges, coconut, and pineapples indicate that the author had access to a port city, possibly Philadelphia.


Biographical information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

This nineteenth-century manuscript volume, containing food and medicinal receipts, belonged to Sarah K. Fotterall, whose name is engraved on the front cover. This small, leather-bound volume contains recipes for a variety of types of food and drink, home remedies, and housekeeping tips.

The food and drink recipes are arranged in categories such as meat preparation and pickling. They include instructions for preparing fish, beef, pastries, vegetables, bread, beer, and cordials. The medicinal recipes include instructions for treating colds, swelling, cough, and cramps. The housekeeping hints are much fewer in number and include instructions for cleaning silk and preventing hair loss. Some of the recipes throughout the book are attributed to others, such as the Brandy Peaches, which are noted as "Mrs. Birking's receipt."

Food receipts comprise the front three-quarters of the volume. Between the sections, some pages are left blank, preserving space for later additions. Several pages have also been torn out. The remaining quarter consists of medicinal receipts, followed by a small number of housekeeping receipts. Fotterall oriented the food and medicinal sections differently, so the reader must turn the volume upside-down to view the final section.

The volume consists of 152 pages, 118 of which bear writing in ink and pencil; marbleized pastedowns; and four items laid-in items, including instructions on how to wash blankets and a newspaper clipping dated 1864.