"PUTTING TOGETHER THE FIRST WOMAN SUFFRAGE COOK BOOK IN 1886 MUST HAVE BEEN A LOT LIKE HERDING CATS": AMERICA'S FIRST SUFFRAGIST COOKBOOK: FIRST EDITION OF THE WOMAN SUFFRAGE COOK BOOK, 1886
BURR, Hattie A. The Woman Suffrage Cook Book. Containing Thoroughly Tested and Reliable Recipes for Cooking, Directions for the Care of the Sick, and Practical Suggestions, Contributed Especially for this Work. Boston: Published in Aid of the Festival and Bazaar, 1886. Octavo, original half red cloth expertly recased with original pictorial tan paper boards printed endpapers retained. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of this cookbook intended as a fundraising tool for Massachusetts suffragists, in original pictorial boards.
"On Dec. 13, 1886, America's first suffragist cookbook, The Woman's Suffrage Cook Book, was launched on a drizzly but sold-out evening at a fundraiser at the Boston music hall. The hall was decorated with a white banner bearing the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association motto, 'Male and female created He them, and gave them dominion'" (NPR). "Putting together the first woman suffrage cook book in 1886 must have been a lot like herding cats for Hattie A. Burr of 12 Wayne St., Boston. The cookbook raised money for the Woman Suffrage Association. It included recipes from famous suffragists, Boston Brahmins, a governor's wife and prominent women doctors, ministers and journalists. Firebrand suffragist Abby Kelley Foster missed the deadline. Two famous suffragists contributed screeds against some of the recipes. The most eminent suffragist of all, Julia Ward Howe, sent in a lame paragraph about working women instead of a recipe. Louisa May Alcott, a member, didn't send in anything, and not because she didn't have any recipes. But Hattie A. Burr managed to keep it all together, and the Woman Suffrage Cook Book inspired at least a half-dozen other such subversive publications. Women, after all, didn't get the vote until 1920… The Woman Suffrage Cook Book tried to show women's traditional roles did not conflict with the vote. It communicated with women about food and housekeeping, but also about women's suffrage. The recipes themselves mixed traditional Yankee tastes and modern, cosmopolitan cuisine. The cookbook had recipes for quintessential Boston baked goods such as Parker House rolls and Brown Bread. There was Mother's Election Cake, Old-Time Baked Indian Pudding, Last Century Blackberry Pudding and a method 'To Fry Spring Chicken and Make Gravy as Mother Did It'… The fight for women's rights grew out of the abolitionist movement, which had also held fairs and bazaars [like the one where this book was sold]… As cookbook editor, Hattie A. Burr tried to muffle the radical call for change with a cloak of respectability and tradition" (New England Historical Society). Some of the most prominent contributors include: Mary A. Livermore and Lucy Stone (both, oddly, offering recipes for homemade yeast), Zilpha Spooner, Lillie Devereux Blake, Alice Stone Blackwell, Hulda Loud, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Rev. Louise S. Baker. Contemporary title page owner signature of Mary Shannon of Newton, Massachusetts. Mary Shannon was the shared named of a woman and her aunt who lived in the same Newton, Massachusetts house. Along with their father/brother-in-law, Oliver, they made a name for themselves in both the suffragist and abolitionist movements. "[T]he Shannons became intimates of many of the well-known educators and abolitionists of their times such as: Horace Mann, Cyrus Pierce, Theodore Parker, Elizabeth Peabody, Booker T. Washington, Samuel Gridley and Julia Ward Howe and the Durant family who founded Wellesley College" (Historic Newton). Handwritten recipe for lemon pies affixed to half title with a straight pin. Owner signatures on half title and rear board.
Scattered kitchen soiling to interior, a few expert paper repairs, expected wear and soiling to binding. A very good copy.