Holiday cookery from the Peter Pauper Press

December 23rd, 2012

One of the mainstays of the Peter Pauper Press was the slim cookbook, attractively designed, and usually running to 60-some pages. From the extensive Special Collections holdings of the Peter Pauper Press, we feature here examples of holiday cookbooks from the 1950s: Holiday party casseroles (1956), Holiday cookies (1954), and Holiday party desserts (1956). Titles in this collection are gifts to the Library from steadfast friends James and Nancy Dast.

Covers of Holiday party casseroles (1956), Holiday cookies (1954), and Holiday party desserts (1956), from the Peter Pauper Press Collection in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The volume entitled Holiday cookies, compiled by Edna Beilenson and drawn by Vee Guthrie (1954), featured cheery “Greetings!”:

     Mix your batter gaily,
     Choose a colored bowl;
     Make a cheerful clatter,
     Whistle as you roll!

     The cookies will be better,
     The afternoon less long,
     If you do your baking
     To a tuneful song!

These volumes are but three in our collection of some 400 works published by the Peter Pauper Press. In 1928 the Peter Pauper Press began issuing works of prose and poetry — often in small format and always carefully designed — at “prices even a pauper could afford.” We exhibited many of them in 2011, in an exhibit entitled “Peter Pauper Press: Highlighting the gifts of James and Nancy Dast.” For more information about the collection, see “Peter Pauper Press Collection: Gift of James and Nancy Dast,” page 27, and  Beth Kubly’s article, “The Peter Pauper Press,” pages 21-25, both in The Friends of the Libraries Magazine (2011).

Edna Beilenson, wife of  Press founder Peter Beilenson, was responsible for compiling and/or producing numerous cookbooks issued by the Press. Our collection includes such seasonal favorites as The holiday cook book (1950), Holiday goodies (1952), Holiday punches, party bowls, and soft drinks (1953), Holiday candies (1954), The Merrie Christmas cook book (1955), and Merrie Christmas drink book (1955).

Holiday greetings from all of us in the Department of Special Collections!