Collegiate Book Collectors: Ashley Young

In August, the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America announced the 2013 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest winners. First prize went to Elias Serna of the University of California-Riverside, Ashley Young of Duke University won second prize, and Amanda (Mande) Zecca of Johns Hopkins University took third. 

Because this contest was launched by FB&C back in 2005, we continue to take an active interest in it. To that end, I asked each of this year’s three winners to complete a shortened form of our ‘How I Got Started’ interview (which usually runs on the magazine’s back page) to tell us more about them and their book collection(s).

Ashely-small.jpgUp today is Ashley Young of Duke University, pictured here at left.

Age: 25

Residence: I am splitting my time between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New Orleans, Louisiana

Main area(s) you collect: Historical Southern Cookbooks, 19th Century Southern Folklore, and Creole Literature. My PhD research in history focuses on 19th century Southern food cultures, particularly in the city of New Orleans. My current research project focuses on the representation of food vendors in 19th century cookbooks and other print media such as newspapers and magazines.

Number of volumes in your collection: 63

When did you start collecting: In the summer prior to my senior year at Yale, I interned at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans and began making frequent visits to Kitchen Witch Cookbooks in the French Quarter.

Most recent acquisition: Lena Richard, New Orleans Cook Book, First edition. Houghton Mifflin, 1940.

Holy grail: The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, First edition. New Orleans, Louisiana: The Picayune, 1901.

Favorite bookseller: Off Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi

Future plans (for you & your collection): As I embark on my dissertation research, I am eager to expand my historic Creole cookbook collection and hopefully acquire more hand-written cooking manuscripts. I am particularly enthralled with the scribbled notes, drawings, and quirky commentary on the pages of cookbooks. These notations provide clues about the lived experiences of my research subjects and the ways in which they incorporated cookbooks into their daily lives.

You can read more about Young’s collection and the Duke book collecting contest here. Stay tuned to the blog this week for more Collegiate Book Collectors.

For those in and around Washington, D.C., an awards ceremony to celebrate these young collectors will take place on October 18, 2013 at 5:30pm at the Library of Congress (if the Library of Congress has re-opened by then; it has been closed due to the government shutdown since Oct. 1) and includes a lecture by noted collector and scholar Mark Samuels Lasner. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Image: Courtesy of Ashley Young. 
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