Cora Bolton McBryde's Cookbook
Cora Bolton McBryde’s Cookbook

Cora Bolton McBryde’s cookbook is a new treasure of the University Libraries’ Special Collections Department. The cookbook was a gift of Janet Watson Barnhill, great great granddaughter of President John McLaren McBryde and Cora Bolton McBryde. Known as the Father of the Modern VPI, McBryde served as president of Virginia Tech from 1891, when the institution was called Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (V.A.M.C.), until 1907.

President John McLaren McBryde ("Papa"), Cora Bolton McBryde ("Mamma"), and family before they moved to Blacksburg.
President John McLaren McBryde (“Papa”), Cora Bolton McBryde (“Mamma”), and family before they moved to Blacksburg. Anna is Janet Watson Barnhill’s grandmother.

 

Born in Richmond, Virginia on August 4, 1839, Cora Bolton, was the daughter of Dr. James Bolton and Anna Maria Harrison. Dr. Bolton was one of the physicians for Robert E. Lee and worked tirelessly in hospital in Richmond during the Civil War. Janet Watson Barnhill wrote, “I gather the family took care of many injured patients at home, so I believe she was well suited for the job of being the ‘First Lady” of VPI.’ I think women are much overlooked in history!” Cora Bolton married John McLaren McBryde on November 18, 1863, and they had eight children: Janet McLaren; James Bolton; Anna Marie; John McLaren, Jr.; Charles Neil; Susan McLaren; Meade Bolton; and Waid.

The cookbook consists of recipes in Coral Bolton McBryde’s own hand as well as pasted in recipes. Some of the recipes included are:

Apple Scones

Salad dressing

Preserved plums

Grape preserve

Sponge cake

Johnnie Cake

Coffee cake

Salmon croquettes

Donuts

Browned onions

Walnut brown bread

Flora’s brown bread (a daughter-in-law)

Fish Croquettes

Hamburger roast

Apples with cornstarch

Feather coconut cake

Whole wheat pudding

Aunt Selina’s pudding

Belmar Sauce

Because the cookbook was in fragile condition, Special Collections sent it to Etherington Conservation Services in North Carolina for repairs. The treatment included disbinding, deacidification, repair and mending of fragile leaves with Japanese paper, repair of the binding, and reattaching Japanese paper/linen to the text block.

 

Cora Bolton McBryde (second from left), President McBryde (second from the right), and family enjoy a snack
Cora Bolton McBryde (second from left), President McBryde (second from the right), and family enjoy a snack

Plans are afoot to scan the entire cookbook and make it digitally available so everyone can enjoy the recipes. Stay tuned!

 

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