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Wilhelmina Wrixon cookbook


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Wilhelmina (Minnie) Wrixon was born on May 18, 1838 in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland to John Nicholas Wrixon, esq. (1976-1872) and Wilhelmina Crofts Wrixon (1802-1879). She had two siblings, John Nicholas Wrixon (1832-1869) and Catherine Elisabeth Wrixon (1834-1924).

By 1858, she was living with her family at 59 Upper Baggot Street in Dublin. According to the Royal Commission on the Poorer Classes in Ireland's 1833 "Poor Inquiry Ireland," Upper Baggot Street contained houses "fit for the residence of people of fortune." Wrixon's father was an esquire.

Wrixon married William Hone Davis, Captain, 4th Hussars (1831-1895), on July 9, 1861 in St. Peter's Church in Dublin. There is no evidence that they ever had children.

William Hone Davis died on July 12, 1895 and is buried in Whitechurch Parish Graveyard in Whitechurch, County Dublin, Ireland.

Wrixon died on July 24, 1931 at 46 Sussex Garden, Hyde Park, London, where she lived with her sister, who preceded her in death. Probate records indicate that Wrixon left £107,488 to Sir Herbert Lidiard, knight, and John Cecil Davis, retired captain, Royal Navy. At the time of writing in 2023, her estate would have been worth £9,367,977. John Cecil Davis was her nephew, son of Major-General Sir John David Davis, Knight Commander, who was an Irish officer in the British Army who became General Officer Commanding the Southern District.


"MARRIAGES." The Belfast Newsletter, 11 July 1861.

"DAVIS, Wilhelmina." England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995, 20 Aug 1931.

This volume contains 73 culinary recipes handwritten and compiled by Wilhelmina (Minnie) Wrixon between December 29, 1858 and 1867. It primarily contains sweet, baked, or confectionary recipes, but also includes several savory recipes.

Many of the recipes are attributed to various individuals, mostly from "Ardenoch." There is evidence that "Ardenoch" was an alternative name for Ardenode, County Kildare, Ireland. (Lucas) Ardenode is additionally directly referenced once on page 54. There is also a reference to Ballyward, which is a town around 20 kilometers from Ardinode across the County Kildare border in County Wicklow. Some of the individuals identified include Mrs. O'Dwyer, Mrs. Kennedy, and Mrs. Mahon. Several additional names became illegible when the volume was trimmed and rebound.

The volume commences with sweet recipes, which span pages 9 through 65. There is then a series of blank pages and savory recipes begin on page 99. The orientation of the writing is flipped for the savory recipes. There are a few savory recipes interspersed amongst the sweet, including "Spiced Mound of Beef."

Amongst the sweet recipes are numerous recipes each for puddings, creams, custards, cakes, and cordials. There are additionally two savory puddings, several soup recipes, and one-offs including preserved lobster and potato puffs.

Notable recipes include Chancellor's Pudding, also referred to as Cabinet Pudding, which is a traditional English steamed, sweet, molded pudding, developed around 1836; Sir Watkin's Pudding, also referred to as Sir Watkin Williams Wynne's pudding, which is a pudding of breadcrumbs, sugar, suet, egg yolk, and citrus, dating to London's Mansion House in 1852; and Mock Turtle Soup, an English soup made of, in this case, a calf's head which was intended to recreate the flavor and texture of green turtles, which had been hunted to near-extinction.


Lucas, A. T. "Cloth Finishing in Ireland." Folk Life, vol. 6, no. 1, Jan. 1968, pp. 18–67, Accessed 19 Dec. 2022.

Sold by Alastor Rare Books Ltd, 2022.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge
Finding Aid Date
2023 March 9
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Recipe book containing culinary recipes, 1858-1867.

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