The People’s Manual

Published in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1848, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by a skilled carpenter provides a wide variety of information that is of “highly practical importance” for everyday life and self-sufficient homemaking, covering areas such as farming, making butter and bread, and preparing medicinal cures. 

Published in 1848 in Massachusetts, The People’s Manual offers practical and valuable guidance on the daily activities of farming, caring for livestock, cooking, and preparing medicinal cures—all of which provide the entire community with better products and health. As stated in the introduction, the author strove to write “valuable matter” that is of “highly practical importance” and divides the work into two primary sections: making butter and farm care, and preserving health through medicinal recipes. From constructing the best milk cellar and working butter to fattening swine, saving manure, preparing bedbug poison, and curing lock jaw, The People’s Manual by a self-sufficient carpenter offers readers of the 19th century recipes and instructions of “the highest practical moment to every family” as well as giving modern readers a rare glimpse into the roots of self-sufficiency and farm-to-table living.    


This edition of The People’s Manual 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 lives 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 comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.     

About the Author

 Perrin Bliss was born in 1810 in Massachusetts. He was a carpenter and was married to women's activist Persis Ann Bullard Bliss. There is little else known about Bliss.

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