About the collection

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Food studies can be considered to constitute a new movement, not only as an academic discipline but also as a means to change society.

– Marion Nestle, Professor, New York University

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.

– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


Advisory Board

Carolyn Dimitri

Associate Professor; Director at NYU Steinhardt’s Food Studies PhD Program

Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist who studies food systems and food policy, focusing on how food moves from the farm to the consumer, and is widely recognized as the leading US expert in the procurement and marketing of organic food. Dr. Dimitri has published extensively on the distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption of organic food, and worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, and is a member of the scientific board of the Organic Center. 

Cristina Favretto

Head of Special Collections at the University of Miami Library

Before joining this Department, Cristina has held a variety of posts throughout the country, including Head of Special Collections at San Diego State University, Curator of Rare Books at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Library, and Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University. Her area of study is 19th century women’s domestic cultures, with a particular interest in culinary history and the cuisines of immigrant cultures in the United States.

Barbara Haber

Librarian, writer, and speaker

As a librarian, Barbara Haber developed a collection of over 16,000 volumes on cooking and food for the Schlesinger Library, at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute. In addition, she co-founded the Radcliffe Culinary Times and the Boston Culinary Historians, among other initiatives. Barbara has served as senior advisory editor to food encyclopedias and wrote the book From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History of American Cooks and Meals, and many articles on food subjects for Harvard Magazine, Yankee Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Dictionary of American History, Notable American Women and many other popular and professional publications.


Nature and Scope

One cannot truly study culture, economics, business, politics, and the process of globalization without understanding the important role of food and food systems.

Alexander Street's Food Studies Online provides researchers rich archival content, visual ephemera, monographs, and videos that explore how food shapes the world around us. Food studies is a relatively new field of study, but its importance is felt in many major disciplines. It has social, historical, economic, cultural, religious, and political implications that reach far beyond what is consumed at the dinner table.

This exciting collection aids researchers in answering such questions as, “What are the environmental and social consequences of various sorts of eating habits?”,  “What is a food system?”, and “How is culinary culture shaped by the dynamics of colonialism, immigration, urbanization, and global capitalism?”



Examples of topics covered in the collection: Organic Farming/Small Farms, School lunch programs, Childhood nutrition, Marketing and advertising, Packaging, Food industry, Environmental impact of GMOs, US food programs during WWI/WWII, Food security, Famine, Vegetarianism, Labor practices, Food safety, Wine making, Obesity, Gender roles through history, Food habits around the world and more.


Key Disciplines

  • History
  • Biology
  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Environmental Studies
  • Sociology
  • Health Science and Nutrition


Content Types


  • Cookbooks
  • Menus
  • Recipe books
  • Marketing Pamphlets
  • Posters
  • Secondary sources



  • Documentaries
  • Interview series
  • Vintage commercials


Companies and Brands Featured


Primary Sources

National Archives - Records related to the school lunch program 1940-1973 Government documents related to the US school lunch program in the mid-20th century. Documents include recipes used in school cafeterias, pamphlets about ending hunger in schools, and educational pamphlets on how to create healthful school lunches. Also includes factbooks with statistics of the national school lunch program in the 1950s.

National Archives - WWII Food Campaign Files, 1941-1948  - Documents, pamphlets and posters from the government’s food campaigns during WWII, including the rationing campaign "No Point-Low Point," Food Fight for Freedom Campaign, Fat Salvage Campaign and Victory Garden Campaign.Documents. Full color posters show how campaigns were advertised. Includes packets of instructional materials for housewives who want to hold their own cottage meetings on conserving food during the war.

Food Ephemera Collection  - Over 5,000 pages of ephemeral materials from the turn of the century through the 1960s. The collection is made up of educational pamphlets from food production companies as well as food labels, food advertisements, and recipe books. Brands include Jello, Quaker Oats, Libby, Kellogg, and more. These materials give insight into history of food and gender roles, foodways, food trends, food geography, and food and race.


Videos Highlights


Secondary Sources:


Sensitivity Statement and Takedown Policy

Materials contained on the Alexander Street platform include historical content that may contain offensive language, negative stereotypes or inaccurate representations. Alexander Street does not endorse the views expressed in such materials, but believes they should be made available in context to enable scholarly comparison, analysis and research.

In making material available online, Alexander Street and our content partners act in good faith. To the best of our knowledge, content contained within these collections has been cleared for publication by the appropriate rights holders and has not been placed under any restrictions for privacy, cultural or other sensitivities. If you have found material for which you believe you hold the copyright without proper attribution, which contravenes privacy laws, or which is a breach of the protocols determining accession provision for heritage materials which reflect indigenous history, culture, language or perspective, please contact us in writing at history@alexanderstreet.com. Please include with your query:

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