Delia Ellsworth Taintor Recipe Book

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[Library Title: Taintor-Davis Family Papers, 1763-1917]

Holding Library Call No.
Mss. Boxes T
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
United States ➔ Connecticut
Date of Composition
Delia Williams Ellsworth (1818-1889), a granddaughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807), married Henry Griswold Tainter (1813-1889) in 1839. A descendant of a prominent family of merchants in Hampton, Connecticut, Henry Tainter farmed in Hampton, was a Connecticut state representative and senator, and served as the state treasurer from 1867 to 1868. The couple lived with their five children, born between 1844 and 1860, in a large house in Hampton that had been occupied by Henry's father, uncle, and their families beginning around 1800. 

The recipe book was written by several individuals, but principally by two. One of these individuals wrote recipes, in pencil, near the front of the volume. These recipes date from around 1880. The other individual wrote recipes, in ink, that occupy most of the second half of the volume. These recipes likely date from around 1830 to 1850. The library record does not specify which, if either, of these blocks of recipes was likely written by Delia Ellsworth Taintor, the putative author of the book.

Most of the recipes throughout the volume concern desserts and cakes. Yeast-raised "loaf cakes," a feature of antebellum American baking, are particularly well represented, including one with the unusual title "Newspaper Cake." There are also recipes for curing ham and bacon written on the first few pages of the book..