Food and Cooking Collection

[This post comes from intern Brittany Boynton and is part of our 2013 North Carolina Archives Week celebration.]

Food and Cooking Collection


Hi. My name is Brittany Boynton. I attend North Carolina Central University where I am working on my master’s degree in library science. I am currently working as an intern for the State Archives of North Carolina as part of my coursework. My internship consists of building the Food and Cooking Collection to support the 2013 North Carolina Archives Week theme of “Home Grown! A Celebration of N.C. Food Culture and History.” As part of my internship, I locate items on the topic of food and cooking in the collections at the State Archives. I also scan the items to create digital images and create the metadata for each of the items.
The Beginning

Trademark Application: New Prague Flouring Mill Company

Trademark Application: New Prague Flouring Mill Company, part of the Food and Cooking Collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections. Click on the image to see the original.

The Food and Cooking Collection for the State Archives of North Carolina was just an idea a little over two months ago. The beginning of the collection started a lot like most hidden object games. I asked questions about the types of items that were to make up the collection. I started with the private collections at the suggestion of Francesca Perez and Ashley Yandle in order to find handwritten recipe books and vintage cookbooks. I went through a good portion of the collections that had been indexed as having recipes or cookbooks within the collection. The interesting thing about the private collections is that the collections also contain letters, poems, and journals. A lot of the letters and journals contained the details of the writers’ lives, and on occasion a recipe would be amongst the day-to-day musings and correspondence. A few collections even contained full recipe books, which were called “receipt books.” Two books were published books, which definitely showed their age, but did not have any of the fun marginalia that is usually found in old books. After finding a few items of interest, I began scanning the materials. Thanks to a very fast book scanner, I was able to scan full books in a matter of hours rather than days. After scanning the recipe books that I found, I created the metadata. Creating the metadata was interesting.

The Middle

After creating the metadata for the recipe books, it was time to go back to the Search Room to find more items to add to the collection. This time it was suggested that I look through trademark applications. Going through trademark applications that have been filed in North Carolina has been a lot of fun; so far, I have looked through all of the applications from 1910 to 1928. A lot of the applications were for non-food related items, which I expected. The majority of the applications for food-related products was from flour mills and carbonated beverage companies. I was surprised by the amount of companies that were developing carbonated beverages during this time. I scanned and created metadata for some interesting trademarks as well. I am continuing to learn about creating metadata, which is more fun than I thought it would be.


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