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 16th 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:

These two collections 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:

  • Elizabeth Baird
  • Jean Fewster
  • Margaret Fraser
  • Helen Gagen
  • Norene Gilletz
  • Margo Oliver Morgan
  • Rose Murray
  • Marie Nightingale
  • Jean Pare
  • Nick Schweizer
  • Edna Staebler
  • Anita Stewart

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.

Culinary Collections

A list of Archival & Special Collections Resources
Title Description Dates
Anita Stewart fonds Published material, research files and manuscripts by Anita Stewart, food writer and activist. 1945-2020
Canadian Cookbook Collection This collection comprises books used and published by Canadians. 1521-2015
Coles Catering fonds Materials related to events catered by Coles Catering. 1909-1930
Edna Staebler Collection Published works and manuscripts belonging to Mennonite cook Edna Staebler. 1900-1996
Elizabeth Baird fonds Personal cookbook library of Elizabeth Baird, C. M. Late 19th century to 2015
Helen Gagen Collection Scrapbooks, photographs, recipes, and manuscripts belonging to Helen Gagen (Gegenschatz) Magee. 1926-1998
Jean Fewster Collection Jean Fewster was Director of Home Economics, Dairy Foods Service Bureau, and Dairy Farmers of Canada in Toronto. 1950-2003
Jean Paré Collection Collection of books used and published by Jean Paré and her company, Company's Coming. 1800-2010
Margaret Fraser Collection The collection consists of correspondence, publicity, research materials and recipes. 1900-1997
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, and 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
Norma Bidwell Collection The collection consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, column writings, awards, cooking schools and tours, and photographs. 1955-2006
Rose Murray fonds Published material and manuscripts of Canadian food writer, Rose Murray. 1902-2011
Una Abrahamson Collection Collection of cookery books and social histories ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries. 1600-2000