This community cookbook, published in 1883, was compiled by the Ladies of the Presbyterian Church in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. With a population of just 1,776 in the 1880 census (and never exceeding 2,600), Wrightsville does not appear to have achieved major economic significance in its region and may not have had a great many commercial enterprises. It is not surprising, therefore, that this fund-raising cookbook carries no advertising. However, this did not prevent its church women from putting together a quite respectable fund-raising book.
A small-format hardcover, 108 pages, neatly made, with attractive typography, it presents between three and four hundred substantially American home recipes: chicken with dumplings, apple fritters, glazed sweet potatoes, pork cake, cottage cheese, and lemon beer. A number of pages have been left blank for users to write in their own recipes.
This is an excellent copy, the brown cloth case in strong condition with the exception of worn fore-corners, top and bottom spine wear, and two very small holes in the spine. The binding is strong; moderate opening of the interior hinges has no effect on the soundness of the book. Half a dozen pages have very small corner creases, accidental rather than dog-eared, and two pages have small tears that have been archivally closed.
Adding to its over-all appeal, eight or ten recipes are written in some of the available blank pages and on the rear endpapers. Two newspaper recipes by the nineteenth century celebrity food writers Maria Parloa and Marion Harland are pasted onto the front inside cover, and on the front free endpaper a previous owner’s name is inscribed with exquisite penmanship. Over-all this book is solidly Very Good.