Recent Publications | March 15, 2023

New Library of Congress Books on Food and Photography

Library of Congress

American Feast: Cookbooks and Cocktails from the Library of Congress

A new series from the Library of Congress invites readers to experience the Library’s treasures in compact, accessible books that curate a unique collection of objects and bring them to life with color reproductions, historical context and fascinating anecdotes. The first two books in the new Collection Close-Up series are released this week.

American Feast: Cookbooks and Cocktails from the Library of Congress by Zach Klitzman and Susan Reyburn traces the evolution of American recipes from the earliest founding-era American household manuals to 21st century themed cookbooks. The book showcases some of the tens of thousands of books related to cookery in the Library’s collections, along with vintage advertisements, movie posters and other illustrations of food and drink.

Highlights include American Cookery (1796), the first cookbook written by an American and printed in the United States, the first Yiddish cookbook published in America, the first cookbooks written by an African American man and woman, and the first appearance and first definition of “cocktail” in American newspapers in 1803 and 1806. It covers everything from the classic Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) to the offbeat The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet (2003).

The Joy of Looking: Great Photographs from the Library of Congress by Aimee Hess and Hannah Freece showcases 108 thought-provoking images selected by photo curators and subject specialists from the 17 million photographs in the Library’s collections.

The book situates early forms of photography — daguerreotype, ambrotype, and reproductions from glass negatives — alongside contemporary images captured digitally and printed via inkjet. It includes familiar photos such as Dorothea Lange’s 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson, commonly known as Migrant Mother along with street photographer Anthony Angel’s lively series of two women sitting on a New York City park bench in 1952, which was virtually unknown during the photographer’s lifetime.

Additional highlights include: Maurice Terrell’s 1954 photograph of Betty White ice skating, Flip Schulke’s 1961 image of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) training underwater, and Salwan Georges’s 2015 inkjet print of a young Syrian refugee in Michigan.

“These books are like miniature exhibitions,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “They convey a sense of intimacy, a personal invitation to experience Library collections up close.”