Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, 1883, 1890, in Excellent Antique Condition



Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, 1883, 1890: First edition, 1890 printing of one of the most famous cookbooks of the United States, Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, first published in 1883 by Roberts Brothers, Boston. Probably the most famous American cookbook. This copy is from the 1890 printing of that edition, with the marbled green, reddish brown, and black boards and dark green linen spine cover and corners. 536 pages including index, 20 pages of illustrated advertisements, AND 22 blank pages for additional recipes. (All but two of these pages are still blank. The two pages with writing have recipes for pickled mangoes and for green tomatoes.)

We’ve had probably 20 copies of this cookbook in the 25 years we’ve been selling cookbooks on-line.  This copy is one of the best.  The boards are worn at the edges and on the corners.  The lettering on the spine cover is nearly perfect.    The hinges are perfect.  The binding is tight.  There are some minor spots on the pies and pastry pages and on some potato pages.  I don’t think you will find a better copy.

Of course, the book was used as the text for the famous Boston Cooking School, founded in 1879 by the Woman’s Educational Association of Boston.   Mrs. Lincoln, or Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln (Mrs. David A.) was invited to teach at the school in November, 1879; she later became the school’s first principal.  Following its successful start, the school was incorporated in 1883 as the Boston Cooking School Corporation.  Famous cookbook authors Maria Parloa and Fannie Merritt Farmer were also affiliated with the Boston Cooking School.  Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book has been continuously in print, in several formats, since its first edition in 1896.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cooking School must have been a difficult school.  Not only did the student have to master the entire comprehensive cookbook, but also at the back of the cookbook there are “Miscellaneous Questions for Examination.”  The questions include:  “What is food?  What is nitrogenous food?  What is carbonaceous food?  What are farinaceous foods?  What chemical changes take place in bread made with yeast?  What is meant by the economy of nature?  What are some of the simplest rules for table etiquette?  Give the order of courses at a fashionable dinner?” Whew!

Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book has a great subtitle:  What To Do and What Not To Do in Cooking.

(A copy of Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, first edition, first printing, in excellent condition would be priced at well over $1,000.)

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