Touring the Schlesinger Library’s Culinary Collection


Last month, Harvard Art Museums members enjoyed a Harvard Treasures Tour of the Culinary Collection at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library. Marylène Altieri, Curator of Books and Printed Materials at the library, discussed the origins and breadth of the collection, which focuses on the history of women in America, before taking guests on a guided tour of Siting Julia: A Julia Child Centenary Exhibition.

Siting Julia focuses on three important sites in Child’s life and career: post–World War II Paris, where she learned to cook and began to pen Mastering the Art of French Cooking; Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she launched a career in public television and became an icon of its cultural scene; and national television, where her cooking show entered into millions of households, creating a media phenomenon.

Marylène discussed the historical and cultural significance of objects on display from Julia’s past, including correspondence, recipes, and cookbook manuscripts. Barbara Wheaton, honorary curator of the culinary collection at the library, shared personal memories from her friendship with Julia, including their collaboration on the 1983 publication Savoring the Past: The French Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789.

Siting Julia is on view at the Schlesinger Library through March 22, 2013.

Save the date for the next Harvard Treasures Tour, highlighting the Schwartz Art Collection at the Harvard Business School, on Friday, May 24 at 12pm.

Photos by Erin Webb.