Alexander Family Recipe Book in German and English

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[Library Title: Alexander and Hillhouse Family Papers, 1758-1998 ]

Manuscript Location
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library
Holding Library Call No.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Composition
English section, late 18th or early 19th century
This recipe book is part of the library's collection of the papers of the Alexander and Hillhouse families of Sunbury, Georgia, Washington, Georgia, and Savannah, Georgia. The library has identified the book as belonging to the Alexander family, which was established in this country by physician Adam Alexander (1758-1812). Born in Scotland, he emigrated to Sunbury (Liberty County), Georgia, where he acquired land and married Louisa Frederika Schmidt (1777-1846), who was born in Stuttgart, Germany. The couple had a son and a daughter. The Alexanders' son, Adam Leopold Alexander (1803-1882), was a plantation owner in Washington (Wilkes County), Georgia, Chatham County, Georgia, and Maury County, Tennessee.

The recipe book bears original pagination through page 100, then supplied pagination on  approximately 55 additional pages. Pages 1 through 79 contain recipes written in German; pages 80 through 96 contain recipes written in English, except for a German-language recipe written on the bottom of page 89. Page 97 contains a clipped print recipe for making candles, pages 97-98 are blank, and page 100 contains a German-language recipe. The unpaginated pages are mostly blank except for a few sporadic recipes, a table of the German recipes (possibly incomplete), and a few decorative drawings. The compilers of the book are unknown, but presumably the German material is somehow connected to Louisa Frederika Schmidt or her family.

The pagination of the English-language section skips from page 80-83 to pages 86-96. The recipes on pages 80-89, written in a single, handsome hand, are of the late 18th or early 19th century. These recipes are British in idiom and may have been copied or paraphrased from print. Thirteen of these recipes are culinary; two other recipes, appearing on pages 88 and 89, are medical. Eleven of the culinary recipes outline sweets (minced pies, various puddings, and cake icings); the remaining two culinary recipes outline mango pickles and the preservation of winter hams. The recipe "To make a Suet Pudding" page 82, is followed by the date 1772. If the date indicates when the recipe was written in this book, the book's author could not have been Louisa Frederika Schmidt, for she was born in 1877. But the book's author, whoever he or she was, could also have copied this recipe from some other source with the date already attached. 

The English-language recipes on pages 90-96 are written in several hands different from the hand of pages 80-89 and are all medical except for one on page 93. This recipe is titled "to make jeast!" Presumably the word is "yeast" spelled with a "j," which, in German, designates the sound of "y" in English. But what is the reason for the exclamation point? A curious book!

To access the digital scans of this book, scroll down to Series 3, Folder 43 of the finding aid.