The American Family Keepsake

Or, People's Practical Cyclopedia

Published in Boston in 1848, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by an unnamed “Good Samaritan” imparts an enormous variety of information from medicinal cures to common childhood illnesses to recipes, farming, “Indian Recipes,” sewing, dressing, and more. A lifestyle encyclopedia for the mid-19th century.

Published in 1848 in Boston, The American Family Keepsake contains an enormous variety of information—everything from medicinal cures to common childhood illnesses to recipes to farming to “Indian Recipes” to sewing, and dressing. With instructions on how to cure “hiccoughs” by “a few swallows of vinegar,” to properly setting a table (always set soup, broth, or fish at the head of the table), to making a variety of colors for fabric (for lilac, add a pinch of Archil to boiling water with a small lump of pearlash), and to suitably dressing for one’s figure (“tight sleeves without trimming are becoming to full forms”), The American Family Keepsake is one of the earliest version of a modern-day’s reference book or Wikipedia site, making this tome uniquely instructive and helpful.

This edition of The American Family Keepsake was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes. 

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