Throughout its history, the University of Guelph has been at the forefront of foodways education and research. Guelph's Culinary Collections feature an impressive variety of books as well as manuscript and archival resources. With more than 17,000 published volumes, some of which date back to the 17th century, it ranks as one of the largest collections of cookbooks in North America. Two collections are especially large and contain a variety of important historical works: the Una Abrahamson Collection and the Canadian Cookbook Collection. They contain publications from many countries and highlight the development of cookery not only in Canada, but also in other parts of the world.
In addition to extensive book holdings, the Library's culinary resources include the archival records of important individuals such as Helen Gagen, Margo Oliver Morgan, Edna Staebler, Nick Schweizer, Margaret Fraser, Marie Nightingale, and Jean Fewster.
Guelph's culinary resources have also proved to be a valuable historical and sociological resource for understanding domestic sciences; food customs, choices, and habits; nutrition; medical remedies; social and economical history; and technological progress. They reveal aspects of daily life and provide evidence of the transformations occuring in society, for example, multicultural contributions and the changing roles of women. Early cookbooks (or "receipt books") often featured separate sections on cookery, medicine, and household matters. As a result, the receipt book was used in ministering to family household needs and providing advice for maintaining homes and arrrangements for food. Modern culinary works continue these traits but are usually more specialised. They are also a delight for book lovers who have their own favourite cookbooks.
|Canadian Cookbook Collection||This collection comprises books used and published by Canadians||1600-2015|
|Edna Staebler Collection||Published works and manuscripts belonging to Mennonite cook Edna Staebler||1900-1996|
|Helen Gagen Collection||Scrapbooks, photographs, recipes and manuscripts belonging to Helen Gagen (Gegenschatz) Magee||1926-1998|
|Jean Fewster Collection||J. Fewster was Director of Home Economics, Dairy Foods Service Bureau, Dairy Farmers of Canada in Toronto||1950-2003|
|Jean Paré Collection||Collection of books used by and published by Jean Paré and her company Company's Coming||1800-2010|
|Margo Oliver fonds||The fonds consists of articles and clippings from the "Weekend Magazine"||1959-1982|
|Marie Nightingale fonds||Consists of correspondence; manuscripts and broadcast scripts; clippings and promotional materials about her and her work||1949-2009|
|Nick Schweizer Collection||Materials belonging to Nick Schweizer during his culinary career||1947-2008|
|Una Abrahamson Collection||Collection of cookery books and social histories ranges from the 17th to 20th centuries||1600-2000|