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Learn how women shaped communities by publishing fundraising & community cookbooks!


Since 1899, Mississippi women have been selling their recipes to support their churches, civic organizations, and social clubs. Dr. Andrew P. Haley studies how these women shaped the communities they lived in by publishing community and charity cookbooks. Creating a community cookbook was no small feat. Women collected recipes, edited and organized them, contracted with printers, found advertisers, and eventually hawked the books to family, friends, and community members. But the efforts of these women had a lasting impact on the places they lived. The cookbooks they created popularized recipes and changed how Mississippians ate; the funds they raised led to better parks, larger churches, and greater cultural and educational opportunities throughout Mississippi.

Yet, while the tradition of giving is alive and well in Mississippi, the history of these women and their philanthropy has often been overlooked. Dr. Haley will not only discuss the history of charity cookbooks in Hattiesburg and surrounding communities, but also the efforts that Special Collections at the University of Southern Mississippi is making to preserve this remarkable history of good eats and good deeds before it is lost.

***The oldest book in the collection is “The Tried and True Cookbook: Ladies and Society of the Presbyterian Church” — out of Laurel in 1906.


Andrew P. Haley is an associate professor at The University of Southern Mississippi who studies and teaches class and culture in the United States from the Gilded Age through the 1950s. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

His first book, Turning the Tables: American Restaurant Culture and the Rise of the Middle Class, 1880-1920, won the 2012 James Beard Award for Scholarship and Reference. In Turning the Tables, Andrew argues that changes in restaurant culture at the turn of the century—battles over French-language menus, scientific eating, and cosmopolitan cuisine—demonstrate the growing influence of urban middle-class consumers. Andrew is currently working on a book that explores how Mississippi community cookbooks tell the story of changing dining habits, race relations, gender politics, and American nationalism in the twentieth century.

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY – a partnership with Extra Table

Thousands of our fellow Mississippians deal with food shortfalls as a part of their daily lives. The Library is teaming with Extra Table to help combat hunger. Your participation and donation will provide heart-warming, healthy meal to Pine Belt area food pantries and soup kitchens.

Your $10 donation to Extra Table through January 29 reserves a seat at the Cookbooks for a Cause Program.

Extra Table is also raffling off a 13-piece copper Viking cookware set and autographed cookbooks by some of Mississippi’s favorite chefs. Raffle tickets are $2.50 each. Raffle tickets are available online and at the event. Donations are not required, but highly encouraged.

Visit ExtraTable.org to learn more about this efficient and effective non-profit feeding our hungry neighbors in the Pine Belt and across our great state.

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