Practical Housekeeping: a Careful Compilation of Tried and Approved Recipes. Two Hundredth Thousand.

Minneapolis, Minn: Buckeye Publishing Company, 1884.

Thick octavo (21 x 16 cm.), 688, [2] pages. Index. Illustrated with in-text engravings throughout and frontispiece. Publisher’s advertisements. All edges red. Stated "Two hundredth thousand". The copyright page indicates that this "book is a revised and enlarged edition of Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping." In its origins a community cookbook, as well as a voluminous housekeeping reference, with a convoluted bibliographic history. The stirrings of Practical Housekeeping lay in a church cookbook compiled by women of the First Congregational Church of Marysville, Ohio, titled The Centennial Buckeye Cook Book (Marysville: J. H. Shearer & Son, 1876). Associated with its publication (in a manner not wholly clear) were Estelle Hemans Woods Wilcox (1849-1943), a native of Marysville, and her husband, Major Alfred Gould Wilcox (1841-1900), originally from Madison, Ohio, and a newspaperman recently of Cleveland. Sales exceeded expectations, contributing amply to the completion of the church’s construction in 1878. The Wilcoxes espied entrepreneurial opportunity and purchased the copyright of the Marysville cookbook – immediately, it would seem – as Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping appeared in 1877, uncredited, and identified as a “second edition” but not as a church fundraiser. In August 1878 the Wilcoxes relocated to Minneapolis and there embarked on a subscription publishing venture that would involve subcontracting the contents of the cookbook as well as extrapolating elements of it serially in the guise of The Housekeeper magazine. Several reworkings called Practical Housekeeping were issued in Minneapolis, and other versions eminated from Chicago, Dayton, and Denver (the succession is laid out in Katherine Bitting, Gastronomic Bibliography, pages 495-496). The frontispiece reproduces the popular wood-cut “Love in a Cottage” that had appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1875, after a drawing by the noted illustrator associated with Charles Dickens, Sol Eytinge, Jr. The frontispiece depicts a woman distraught over the mess created by her husband's efforts in the kitchen. Bump and crease to a few leaves; newspaper recipe clipping pasted-down to free front endpaper, otherwise surprisingly clean internally. Green oil-cloth, with black titling; some paper adhered to oil-cloth, but much better than usually encountered. With the bookplate of Will E. Frost, and a gift inscription, “Mrs. Helen K. Frost, from W.E.F.”. Also, a short ink quotation to a preliminary blank, and a single somewhat detailed recipe, for soap, handwritten on the rear free endpaper. [OCLC locates fewer than thirty copies of all printings of this title; Bitting, page 593].

Price: $200.00