The Dame Durden Cook Book. Compiled by the Ladies of the Church of the Reconciliation, Utica, N.Y.

Utica, N.Y. Converse & Co., Job Printers, 38 Arcade, 1884.

Octavo (20.8 x 13.7 cm.), 49, [3] pages. Advertisements. FIRST EDITION. A slim but very enjoyable community cookbook, issued by a woman's church group from Utica, in Central New York State. The recipes, in narrative form, are often but not always attributed. Most pleasing is the array of typefaces used throughout, in the recipe titles and especially in the advertisements. Advertisers include S.S. Converse – "Dropsy Treated Free!", A.L. Owens' Dairy Parlors, Ferrill's Ladies' Oyster Parlor, E.E. Corliss' Human Hair Goods, Geo. Clark's Glove and Mitten Factory, and The Casino! amongst many more. ~ "Dame Durden" was a sort of shorthand for "housewife", with origins deep in English folk songs and tales. Dickens' Esther in Bleak House was referred to as Dame Durden and a song about her was sung by Gabriel Oak in Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. The song was sung to celebrate spring and the fecundity it brings. "Dame Durden" was used as the nom de plume of a cooking advice columnist, and there are at least two cookbooks with the name in the title: the present work, and a "Dame Durden's" Cook Book published in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1890. ~ In publisher's stiff paper boards, backed in brown cloth; some wear to the cloth backing. Near fine. With the attractive bookplate of bon vivant and cookbook collector Crosby Gaige. Unrecorded. [OCLC locates no copies; not in Cook, Brown, or Bitting].

Price: $500.00