Helps for Young Housekeepers. Prepared for the Fair Given by “The Bethany Band of Merry Workers,” Monday and Tuesday evenings, Dec. 20 and 21, 1875, [and] Revised for the Benefit of the Church Building Fund, January 1879 by Mrs. Helen W. Pond.

San Francisco: [The Church; Printed by] Bacon & Company Printers, 1879.

Small octavo (17 x 11.75 cm.), [ii], 82 pages. Advertisements. Stated revised (thus second) edition. A fair-related fundraiser that was subsequently revised as a church cookbook; one of the earliest but less widely known among California cookbooks. With approximately two hundred brief recipes, unattributed, but tested by the compiler “in my own home.” A preponderance of baked-good entries not only testifies to the original context for which the contributions were solicited, but also clarifies the intended audience, namely, New Englanders transplanted to the West Coast: Hanover Cakes, Kittery Cakes, (White) Mountain Cake, Newburyport Cake, Bangor Cake, Indian Baked Pudding. New England is kept in view, as well, in various evocations of Codfish and Chowder. In addition: Rice Fritters, Sago and Apple, Squash Pie, Popped-Corn Pudding, Currant Jelly, Raspberry Vinegar. A rather nice chapter with “odds and ends” – expanded for the revision – includes recipes for tinctures, liniments, detergents, and stain removers. ~ Helen Woodhull Pond (1836-1913) was the second wife of the Reverend of Bethany Congregational, on Bartlett Street, William Chauncey Pond (1830-1925), a seminarian educated in Maine, and one of very few California pastors in the 1870s to be permanently installed over an urban church. Her compilation Helps for Young Housekeepers proved unusual among community collections in that its explicit purpose – to fortify the building fund – was declared in its very title. Bitting asserts that some of the recipes “are somewhat casual even for the period” – by which is meant not brevity, which was typical, but candor, even familiarity. Young housekeepers might well benefit from such advice as that contained in the instructions for Amber Soup: “This is a fine ‘company soup’ but you will not want company often.” For clarity’s sake it can be noted that, while the entries are not attributed, a “community” context is preserved nonetheless, in numerous recipes identified at least informally: Mrs. B’s Fruitcake, Mrs. H’s Silver Cake, Nina’s Gingerbread. ~ Sewn, in grey printed wrappers, with a small edge tear and a bit of light staining and age toning; otherwise very good. Rare. [OCLC locates three copies of the revised edition (and none of the first); Bitting, page 376; Brown 27; Cook, page 23 (noting that the first edition was known only by mention in the second; however, a copy of the original edition, published by Cuberry and Company, is retained by the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne); Glozer 250; not in Cagle or Strehl].

Price: $2,500.00