The Reynolds Ledger

This is a ledger book I picked up a while back, the first part consisting of old business accounting records, the second part consisting of 90+ handwritten recipes. The ledger entries run from 1875 through 1881, and the recipes begin on the page immediately following. While it is impossible to verify, my impression is that the recipes probably started to be entered shortly after 1881. The recipes themselves are in a succession of different handwriting, implying that this may have been in use for quite a number of years. For classification purposes, I consider them to be late 19th century.

Reynolds Ledger, accounting pages

The book was very well used, with many food and water stains. And of course much of the ink has faded, which meant spending a lot of time with a magnifying glass to work out all of the recipes. The often terrible handwriting certainly doesn’t help. BTW, how many of you remember your handwriting teachers waxing philosophical about “back in the day” when everyone had beautiful copperplate handwriting? Well, I’m here to tell you, they were shining you on. Of the many example of 19th century handwriting I have, only one example is that truly amazing handwriting. Unfortunately, that piece is also incomplete. All of the rest of it? I would call it running from average to truly atrocious.

But all that aside, I really look forward to working with these handwritten recipes, as well as many more that were written in the blank pages or on scrap paper and placed into various cook books that I have acquired.

I have a Google doc where I have transcribed all of the recipes, exactly as they were written in the ledger. A few, I have additional notes on from my experiments with making the recipe. Feel free to look it over if you like, it is a work in progress. Reynolds Ledger

Reynolds Ledger

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