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Eleanor Freeman and Katharine Freeman Scott-Holmes recipes


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

Eleanor Freeman was an educated British woman who married Edward Augustus Freeman (1823-1892) in 1847. Born in 1818, Eleanor was the daughter of Reverend Robert and Mary Ann Gutch of Seagrave. Eleanor and Edward probably met while her father was tutoring Edward, who became known as a prolific writer, a historian, a liberal politician, and a professor of modern history at Oxford. According to the finding aid for the Papers of Edward Augustus Freeman, Freeman was "a versatile, contentious and paradoxical scholar; a man who brought a complex blend of passionate humanitarianism, fierce intolerance and broadly-ranging erudition to bear upon the issues of his time."

After her marriage in 1847, Eleanor was responsible for a large household, managing nine servants at one point. She and Edward were the parents of Margaret (born approximately 1849), Helen (born approximately 1852), Katharine (1854-1948), and Florence (born approximately 1855-1925), who appear to have been educated by governesses. At least during her later years, Eleanor employed a cook, but it appears that she enjoyed food and possibly preparing meals. Helen and Margaret do not appear to have married and lived with Eleanor for much of Eleanor's life.

Eleanor's daughter, Katherine, appears to have inherited her mother's enjoyment of cooking and food. She married the Reverend Thomas Scott-Holmes in 1880. Thomas Scott-Holmes (1852-1918) was the son of Reverend Isaac and Emma Holmes and served as Chancellor and Canon Residentiary of Wells Cathedral. Thomas and Katharine were the parents of Basil (1884-1916) and Agnes (1890-1975). Basil served as a lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps attached to the Machine Gun Corps during World War I and was killed in action in 1916 at the age of 32. Two years later, in 1918, Katharine was widowed. She died on November 21, 1948 at the age of 95.

This collection consists of recipes and household tips collected by Eleanor Freeman and her daughter Katharine Scott-Holmes. Both Eleanor and Katharine managed fairly affluent households with servants. It is unlikely that either needed to cook for their families, but both appear to have enjoyed collecting recipes for food, drink, and other cleaning and dying purposes.

Eleanor Freeman created the recipe book contained within the collection, and in addition to fairly standard British fare (scones, potted beef, Bath biscuits, and Victoria sandwich), there are a significant number of recipes for desserts (cakes, puddings, pies, pancakes, and Charlotte Russe) which indicate a wealthier household. There are also a number of Indian recipes showing the far-reaching effects of Britain's empire, including multiple curry recipes. For savory foods, researchers will find recipes for veal stuffing, Swiss minced veal, stuffing for hare, hare sauce, ham toast, a pickle for hams, mock turtle soup, cheese soufflé, soufflé potatoes, mayonnaise sauce, omelets, "maccoroni" soup, etc. Beverages include elder wine, ginger beer, ginger wine, and orange brandy. Eleanor also includes a few household tips for making baking powder, how to clean brass, how to stain floors, and how "to keep eggs, all the year." The final page has two recipes which appear to be for remedies for bad eyes and sore throats. Very rarely, the source of the recipe is noted.

Eleanor also transcribed an extract from Wild Animals in Captivity, an 1898 book by Abraham Dee Bartlett, in which she applies the information on animal diseases to the necessity of safe food handling practices.

The bulk of the loose recipes are presumed to have been collected or created by Eleanor's daughter, Katherine. This group of loose material includes household tips, some handwritten and some removed from a 1921 calendar. The calendar offers tips on a variety of household tasks including how to prevent chapped hands, how to stone raisins more easily, how to remove stains from brown boots, how to remove fat from hot soup, etc. A few of the handwritten recipes in this group include a recipe for a chilblain remedy, how to make a scent jar, how to stain floors, and a medicinal remedy for an unidentified ailment.

Katharine collected a fair number of jam and jelly recipes, savory recipes for dishes such as soups, risottos, pickled mushrooms, salad dressings, etc., and sweet recipes for puddings, cakes, muffins, preserved fruits, and Charlotte Russe, to name only a few. Thrift and rationing is evident when examining these recipes; with some specifically mentioning wartime rationing. Two 1917 newspaper clippings provide tips on "economical puddings and pies," and "instead of flour." "Instead of flour" includes patriotic and propagandist incentive for trying these wartime recipes. Katharine's acquaintances shared a number of the recipes included, and researchers will find recipes on the stationary of British MP George and Angela Murnaghan and physician Patrick Watson-Williams and his wife Margaret Long Fox. There is one letter addressed to Katharine's daughter, Agnes.

Overall, these recipes provide a view of a prominent, British family's home life over a period of about fifty years and how tastes in foods, availability of ingredients, and economy changed what people ate.

Sold by Voyager Press Rare Books and Manuscripts, 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Marie Barnett
Finding Aid Date
2019 February 13
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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Recipe book, 1870s-1903.
Box 1 Folder 1
Loose recipe for Gateau de Pommes and abstract from Abraham Dee Bartlett's Wild Animals in Captivity, after 1898, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2

Household tips and cooking methods, manuscript and printed material, circa 1920s-1931.
Box 1 Folder 3
Jam and jelly recipes, circa 1870s-1931.
Box 1 Folder 4
Savory recipes, circa 1870s-1931.
Box 1 Folder 5
Sweet recipes, circa 1870s-1931.
Box 1 Folder 6
World War I home front printed household and cooking tips, 1917.
Box 1 Folder 7

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