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Leeds, Mrs. Samuel [Manuscript Cookbook & Travel Diary], Ca. 1856

 Item — Volume: US 33


  • Creation: Ca. 1856


From the Collection: 10.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Materials Specific Details

81 manuscript pages, plus blanks, dated circa 1856.

Ownership inscription of "Mrs. Samuel Leeds, New, York;' on front fly leaf. Combination of travel diary and recipes and receipts.

The cookbook consists of approximately 51 manuscript pages, plus 8 later manuscript recipes laid in, and contains some 100 recipes primarily for cakes and other baked goods, including, Jane's Cup Cake, Barnard Cake, Sally Lund Cake, bread pudding, Charlotte Russe, Louisville Pie, White Mountain Cake, etc.

The diary of the voyage to England consists of 19 manuscript pages (starting in the back page) and recounts her trip on the City of Brooklyn from New York to Liverpool, and London, England. The entries are dated April 31, 1856 to June 11. 1856. The weather was stormy as the journey commenced and the ship was forced to layover before heading to sea, thus using up much of its stores of fresh meat and milk. There was considerable seasickness and annoyance for Mrs. Leeds: "By Tuesday the 6th, most of the passengers were suffering from seasicknessness, which lasted for several days. Of it's unpleasant sensations I know nothing, having suffered only the loss of my appetite for about a week. Of it's effects I had most palpable evidence afforded by my fellow inmates of the cabin. In fact, out of mere sympathy I disposed of my own Breakfast one morning in such an unpremeditated manner, as to remember the mere eating of it a waste of time. Of crying children and a dirty steward I say nothing for having to endure both these evils, I prudently determined to be worried by neither."

"Conversation was restricted pretty much to the Captain, -- not that there were many I might talk with If I had felt disposed to waste time on people I did not fancy. Captain Mitchell is a man after my own heart. An upright, well informed, well bred gentleman! Quiet and reserved in his manners, he pleased me more the longer I knew him."

Upon arrival at Liverpool, the author takes us on a tour of the city describing various places that she visited: Custom House Exchange, the Post Office, the American Consulate, and a trip through the: "narrow side walks, the unpainted, I might say never painted, brick buildings." There are also descriptions of docks at Liverpool, St. George's Hall and its organ, a trip to Birkenhead, (a town opposite Liverpool) with a description of its boat landings, Ferry Boats ("...ugly little black things..."), and famous park, and even some descriptions of cats and policemen. She also made trips to the ancient city of Chester and Eaton Hall and to Birmingham where she visits the wealthy homes in the suburbs & the Birmingham Market. She finally makes her way to London, stopping on the way at Rugby, then to London for more touring. The diary ends abruptly on 11 June 1856.

Acquired with funds from the Thompson Travel Fund as item 128 in catalog 39 of Michael Brown Rare Books. The description of the manuscript is the bookseller's (Michael Brown Rare Books, LLC) , also included on that printout is the date and price payed.

Physical Description

Binding broken, disbound, leaves loose, limp leather binding, lacks spine and one (front) board, pages foxed and soiled. marbled endpapers, blue lined pages with gilded page edges

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)