The Acquisitions Table: The First German-American Cookbook

David Whitesell, curator of books, reports on a recent acquisition:

Die Wahre Brandtewein-Brennerey, oder Brandtewein- Gin- und Cordialmacher-Kunst:  wie auch die a?chte Fa?rbe-Kunst, Blau, Roth, Gelb und Gru?n zu fa?rben, auf Baumwalle, Leinen, und Wolle … [Reading, PA?: Gottlob Jungmann and Carl Andreas Bruckmann?], 1802.

Very rare third of four recorded editions of what might be termed the first German-American cookbook. This manual for distilling brandy, gin, and cordials was first published by Salomon Mayer in York, PA in 1797, together with another Mayer pamphlet on the dyeing of silk, linen, and wool. Mayer reprinted these works in a combined edition in 1802, the same year that this piracy was issued. On the basis of typographical evidence, this edition has been ascribed to the Reading, PA press of Jungmann and Bruckmann. A final edition appeared in 1809. Each edition is known in only a handful of copies, and none are listed in any bibliography of American cookery books. This copy is in its original decorative wrappers, block-printed in green in a floral pattern.  Purchased from Steve Finer. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.

Here is a time line of the various editions:

1st ed., 1797 [AAS online catalog record]

2nd ed., 1802 [AAS online catalog record]

3rd ed. (pirated), 1802 [AAS online catalog record]

4th ed., 1809:  Not at AAS, yet.  We have an AAS online catalog record ready and waiting, though, so if you find a copy of this edition (the imprint reads “Gedruckt im Jahr, 1809”), perhaps you can help us complete the set!

Published by

David Whitesell

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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