The recipe books in this collection were produced by several prominent food manufacturers during the first half of the twentieth century. Three of the books were published by companies specializing in the manufacture of baking powder: Calumet Baking Powder Company, Rumford Chemical Works, and R.B. Davis Company. Both Calumet and R.B. Davis touted the superiority of their alum-based baking powder over the cream-of-tartar formula manufactured by their rivals, particularly the Royal Baking Powder Company. These claims highlight the longstanding feud between American baking powder companies during the early twentieth century, during which time rival firms advertised the purity and effectiveness of their own powders while citing the health risks of their competitors' products. In the 1931 edition of their cookbook, the Rumford Chemical Works chose to focus on the health benefits of the phosphates in their baking powder.
Several recipes laid in the Rumford Complete Cook Book were clipped from Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, newspapers between the 1920s and 1950s. Among these clippings there is a postcard dated 1922 and addressed to Miss F.L. Toppin of New Castle, Delaware. It is likely that Toppin collected these booklets and clippings and created the handwritten recipes in this collection.
Made in Chicago Museum website, "Calumet Baking Powder Tin by Calumet Baking Powder Co., 1913" (accessed November 29. 2017) https://www.madeinchicagomuseum.com/single-post/2016/1/22/Calumet-Baking-Powder-Tin-by-Calumet-Baking-Powder-Co-1908
Heckers Ceresota website, "History of the Ceresota Brand" (accessed November 29, 2017) https://www.heckersceresota.com/Ceresota/Ceresota-History/
Information derived from the collection.
This collection consists of cookbooks, recipe booklets, and newspaper clippings with household hints incorporating brand-name products, dating from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The cookbooks and recipe booklets in this collection were produced by large food manufacturers to dispense household hints and promote their products. Most of these materials outlined standard weights and measurements and specified level measurements of flour and other ingredients. The manufacturers focused heavily on their products' purity. The Calumet Baking Powder Company claimed that their product was "chemically correct, as it is made by the most modern methods," while the makers of Ceresota Not Bleached Flour noted that they had "never yielded to the temptation to 'doctor' their fine flour." A pamphlet produced by the manufacturers of Alka-Seltzer provided an overview of the five years of clinical research conducted on their product. Although these cookbooks and booklets were created to promote a branded product, not all of the recipes included the baking powder, flour, or corn starch being advertised. Many booklets added "household hints" about laundry, stain removal, and housecleaning.
This collection also includes a group of clippings and notes that were laid in the Rumford Complete Cook Book. Most of these items were clipped from Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, newspapers and provided recipes for pickles, preserves, pies, and other dishes. There are also several newspaper clippings with information on sewing, cleaning, and gardening. Among these items is a postcard dated 1922 from Atlantic City, New Jersey, addressed to Miss F.L. Toppin of New Castle, Delaware. It is likely that Toppin clipped these recipes and created the handwritten recipes and grocery lists in this grouping.