Category: <span>Genealogy</span>

The Century Cook Book

We found a box of old books when my last living grandparent passed away that seemed to have been given to her by her mother-in-law and contained some pretty old books from even grandma’s mother-in-law’s mother (my 2x great grandmother).  While there’s no indication whose writing is in the book or a name printed in the front or back, one of the pieces of paper stuck in the book certainly looks like great grandma Olga’s handwriting.  My 2x great grandmother and her husband married in 1891, both immigrants from England – Alfred had come over with his adoptive parents in 1872, and Jessie had arrived in about 1890.  It certainly feels like the most likely scenario, that the book belonged to Jessie and her family, given the other books in the box as well as the handwriting belonging to her only surviving daughter.  The book has a copyright date of 1894, and this edition is marked on the front cover, “Compliments of the Pittsburg Press” (yes, Pittsburgh without the ‘H’ as the newspaper titled itself).  The inside cover notes the book cost $1.50.  I can’t be entirely sure when this particular edition was printed, but the newspaper did advertise the book in 1894, and by 1908, it was called, “The Standard Domestic Science Cook Book,” by the same author.  I couldn’t find any information in the newspaper about it offering the book for sale at a discount or as a gift to subscribers.  The book has clearly been used quite a bit since the leather on the spine has nearly completely separated from the rest of the book, held on by only two pieces of well-aged tape.

Inside the book are tucked random bits of newspaper articles containing recipes, notes on pages, and the end few pages were left blank to contain, “Recipes Gathered by the Way.”  All those pages are filled in, so I’ve scanned them here for you because they’re pretty interesting.  There were no oven temperatures listed, just “Moderate” or “Quick” oven, but fortunately there’s a temperature chart available here to help convert these recipes.  I may even give them a try at some point!  Small thumbnails here, click the images to see the larger version in case you want to try your hand at any of these.


The full book has been digitized by Google Books (available here), so you can have a look through the recipes in the book.  Beyond recipes, there’s a section on napkin folding, one on meal planning, personal care, stain removal, and how to care for your home.  The back quarter or so of the book involves a “Medical Adviser” which is obviously and somewhat hilariously outdated, but worth a glance if just to appreciate how far we’ve come in terms of medical knowledge in just over 125 years.  I’ll leave you with what’s easily one of my favorite pages because it’s SO cringe inspiring today.

Woman’s Chances of Marrying at Various Ages

Reese’s Johnny Bar

Trying to get back into regular blogging this year, so here’s another item from Grandma’s scrap book.  It’s a Reese’s Johnny Bar wrapper from probably about 1941 based on the other items on the same page (dated postcards in particular).  I couldn’t find a whole lot on the internet about this, nor could I find another photo of the wrapper anywhere.  There’s a Wikipedia article about H.B. Reese who created the bars and named this one after his son – a companion bar to the Lizzie Bar, named after his daughter.  The difference between the two bars was that the Johnny bar contained nuts (you have to laugh, it’s just too funny).  The bar was made at the H.B. Reese candy co in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and was probably one of the last few Johnny bars made before being discontinued in 1942 due to wartime rationing in favor of producing only their best seller, the peanut butter cup.

The full ingredient list:
Fresh Cocoanut [sic], corn syrup, cane sugar, creamery butter, molasses, freshly roasted peanuts, milk chocolate, salt.

Why grandma saved this may remain a mystery.  It’s on a page that also includes a ticket stub for an airplane flight she took with her then boyfriend (later husband), a bingo ticket, postcards, and a few newspaper articles.  I suppose the most likely reason she saved this is that grandpa bought it for her or they shared it on a date or something like that.  Whatever the reason, it was a neat piece to find in the scrapbook, even if I’ll never know why she held on to it!

The Fighting XX Corps

It’s not exactly the right season right now, but this was a little unique piece of history I only found one other place online, so it seemed like a good idea to post it!  The image is a piece of World War II history, issuing Season’s Greetings from the Fighting XX Corps.  Now, I’m not a military historian at all, but Wikipedia has an article for that!  On the back, my grandpa John noted,

This is a card my brother Stanley sent me, a Christmas card from the outfit he is in, some card isn’t it?

I know Stanley served in the military, but I couldn’t verify via available records which exact division or corps he served in while overseas.  The shield on the soldier’s back matches the insignia on the Wikipedia page, and the date on the card shows 1944 which all lines up with the details in the Wiki article.  There’s also another history page about the XX corps here (link to page) that contains what I assume are personal photos from a soldier in the corps.  Again, I’m not a military history buff, so I’m more just posting this to be digitally preserved or in case someone interested in military history finds it interesting.  Grandpa definitely sent this to grandma who preserved it in her scrapbook as part of a wide variety of postcards and tidbits he sent her while he was away with the Army Air Force.

Let’s Get Acquainted

Another item from grandma’s scrapbook.  John (grandpa) was sending her funny things all the time apparently, since there are a TON of postcards, newspaper clippings, and oddball little pieces like this tucked into that scrapbook.  I’m really grateful she saved all this because it gives us a little glimpse into the life they led while separated by World War II.  John entered the Army Air Force while they were dating, and they married in 1943 while he was home briefly.  He served almost two more years after they married, so the majority of their correspondence via postcards is tucked into this scrapbook.  Grandpa died in 1984, so I have one or two vivid remnants of memories of him (I was very young when he passed away) and I don’t recall grandma ever really talking about him much.  I suppose we just didn’t talk about the past, so I didn’t know anything about our family history before I started all this and grandma wasn’t around to ask anymore either.

On to the card!  On the back, John (grandpa) wrote,

One Fellow had these cards printed just for fun.  He gave me one of them and I am sending it to you.  How do you like it?

I haven’t looked into who “Chuck” Frailey might have been since it’s probably a little too common of a name to pin down to one person, especially without any details about birth, death, where he lived, or his real name since Chuck is in quotes.  Obviously, the card is from the 1940s (probably 1941-ish based on the other items on the page), and the humor is definitely of the time period though more that a little bit cringeworthy now.  I did a little searching and apparently these type of cards arose out of the Victorian era as Acquaintance cards or Escort cards as a way of introducing oneself without arousing the suspicion of a woman’s chaperone.  They’d largely fallen out of favor by the time this one was printed, but I did happen to find a nearly identical one on flickr with the same lines about “Special attention to other fellow’s girls” and “Sole owner of lovers lane.”

If you want to see more of these, there’s a great gallery on Flickr.