• The “Who” of Manuscript Recipe Books: Tracing Professional Scribes

    Helga Müllneritsch (see profile)
    Eighteenth century, Books, History, Food--Study and teaching, Women's studies
    Item Type:
    eighteenth-century studies, manuscript studies, 18th century, Book history, Early modern studies, Food studies, Gender studies
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    The idea that female scribes – probably members of the middle or upper-classes – made manuscript recipe books for a fee, without being part of the owner’s family, has been discussed in English- and German-language countries for several years. The tradition of making manuscript recipe books for weddings and other important dates in the life of a woman justifies the idea that money was spent to provide such a present, for example, if time was scarce. If the owner did not want to make the effort to write the book on their own, a professional scribe was commissioned to carry out the task for them. In doing so, a personalised book could be made, that was probably more expensive than a printed book, but exclusive and tailored to the customer’s wishes. Three Austrian manuscripts examined in this study serve as a first attempt to reflect about the possibility of female scribes, drawing on examples of women working as paid and unpaid copyists and scribes in the eighteenth-century. One of the volumes gives clear evidence of a professional female scribe penning the book and the other two imply that professionals had been commissioned.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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