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Guide to the Betty Fussell Papers MSS 160

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Jacqueline Rider

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 07, 2018
Finding aid written in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Fussell, Betty Harper
Title: Betty Fussell Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1947-2011
Dates [bulk]: 1966-2009
Abstract: Betty Harper Fussell is an essayist and author of 12 books, including biographies, memoirs, cookbooks, and food histories. Her essays on food, food history, travel, and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, national magazines and newspapers over the past 40 years. This collection consists of materials related to her food research, lectures, and writings, dating from the mid 20th century to 2012.
Quantity: 56 Linear Feet in 52 record cartons, 2 manuscript boxes, 2 oversize flat boxes, one flat box, one CD box.
Quantity: 136 audiocassettes 35 audiocassettes, 101 mini audiocassettes
Quantity: 27 videocassettes
Quantity: 12 3.5" floppy disks
Quantity: 16 electronic discs (cd-rom)
Quantity: 7 sound disc (cd)
Quantity: 7 sound discs (minidisc)
Quantity: 4 dvd-r disks
Quantity: 16 Gigabytes 1 USB flash drive
Location: Some materials are stored offsite, and advance notice is required for use. Please contact fales.library@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.
Language: Materials are primarily in English, with some items in French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Call Phrase: MSS 160

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Biographical / Historical

Betty Harper Fussell is an essayist and author of 12 books, including biographies, memoirs, cookbooks, and food histories. She holds bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in English literature. Her essays on food travel and the arts have appeared in scholarly journals, national magazines and newspapers over the past 40 years. She maintains a personal website, https://www.bettyfussell.com.

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Scope and Contents

The Betty Fussell Papers consist of materials Fussell created and collected for her research and publications on food history, international cuisines, and cooking. In particular, the collection documents her creation of several cookbooks and food histories focused on US regional foods and specific ingredients, such as corn and beef. The collection contains many interviews with prominent 20th century food writers and chefs, such as James Beard, Craig Claiborne, M. F. K. Fisher, Alice Waters, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Materials also chronicle Fussell's evolving sense of her personal identity as a woman, scholar, and food historian of the 20th century. Document types include manuscripts, notes, interview tapes and transcripts, recipes, and correspondence, including handwritten and typed letters, as well as email printouts. The collection also contains unique menus from several international restaurants and works by others, including books, published articles and newspaper clippings that Fussell collected and arranged by subject.


Materials are arranged at the series level. Series I and II are further arranged to the sub-series level, maintaining original order when evident: Series I, Research and Subject Files Subseries 1, Places Subseries 2, Foods, alphabetized Subseries 3, General notes

Series II, Writings, Interviews, Lectures, Classes Subseries 1, Betty Fussell Books and Related Materials Subseries 2, Betty Fussell Articles, Interviews, Lectures and Classes; Contributions to Works by Others

Series III, Events and Correspondence

Series IV, Media, Graphics, Books

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Beard, James, 1903-1985
  • Claiborne, Craig
  • Vongerichten, Jean-Georges

Document Type

  • Cookbooks.
  • Memoirs

Subject Topics

  • Food -- History
  • Cooking, American -- History -y 20th century
  • Beef.
  • Corn

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy for materials in this collection were not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form: Identification of item, date (if known); Betty Fussell Papers; MSS 160; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.

Related Materials

For more information about Betty Fussell, see her oral history interview in Fales collection MSS 309, Voices from the Food Revolution: People Who Changed The Way Americans Eat. An oral history project conducted by Judith Weinraub.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact Fales Library with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Betty Fussell donated the materials from 2005 to 2015. Accession numbers associated with this collection are 2009.160, 2010.160, 2012.160, 2015.160.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes, maintaining original order and labels when possible. Audiovisual materials were rehoused in archival cases.

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Container List

Series I: Research and Subject Files

Scope and Contents

This series consists of files Fussell created and maintained for her work overall, organized into regional cultures and areas that she visited, foodstuffs, and general notes. It also contains materials from regional events, plus notes, interview transcripts, and drafts of articles about specific places, such as the Spanish olive oil region and California wineries.


Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Spain, Cuba, Australia, Kuwait, England,Ireland
Box: 2 France
Box: 3 Versailles, China, Bahia, Indonesia, Jordan, Ireland
Box: 4 Southwest United States, Mexico, South America, California, Kentucky
Box: 5 SE Asia, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Box: 6 Wisconsin, Peru


Container 1     Title Date
Box: 7 Foods, Alphabetized, Beans-Garlic
Box: 8 Foods, Alphabetized, Grains - Sea Vegetables

General Notes and Background Materials

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 9 General Notes, part 1 of 2: food codes, quotations, nutrition, menus, NYU food seminar
Box: 10 General Notes, part 2 of 2: recipes, restaurants, French food, food arts
Box: 11 General Notes: Preserves - Wine, New Produce, Recipe Lists, Catalogs, Bibliographies, Food Facts
Box: 12 Food Issues, Sustainability, Genetically Modified Foods
Box: 13 Food Publications
Box: 14 Note Cards on Eating Habits, French Cuisine, Food History

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Series II: Writings, Interviews, Lectures, Classes

Scope and Contents

This series consists of research, background, and production files, plus drafts Fussell created for books and articles she wrote. Much overlap exists, as articles were expanded into books, and books would lead to lectures and conference talks.

Betty Fussell Books and Related Materials

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 15 Corn Book Notes
Box: 16 Corn Book Permissions
Box: 17 Corn Book Research
Box: 18
Box: 19
Box: 20 Corn Seeds, Seed Types
Box: 21 The Story of Corn and Crazy for Corn
Box: 22 Folder : 12-16 Corn Book Lectures, Promotions
Box: 23 MFK Fisher Interviews, I Hear America Cooking Photos, Background on Regional U.S. cuisine, New England - Southwest
Box: 24 America Entertains, Masters of American Cookery, Craig Claiborne, James Beard Julia Child, correspondence
Box: 25 James Beard
Box: 26 I Hear America Cooking: Masters
Box: 27 My Kitchen Wars
Box: 22 Folder : 1-11 Beef Book background research
Box: 28 Animal Industry
Box: 29 Rancher Interviews, Grassland, Land Use, Buffalo, California, Oregon, Quivira
Box: 30 Rancher Interviews, Heritage Breeds, Steakhouses, Beef Industry
Box: 31 National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Texas, Ranchers, Rendering, "Greenies and Myths"
Box: 32 Folder : 10-23 Beef Notes, Talks, Statistics, Recipes

Betty Fussell Articles, Interviews, Lectures and Classes; Contributions to Works by Others

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 33 Published Articles and Manuscripts
Box: 34 Published articles arranged chronologically, journal articles, bibliographies, contracts, proposals
Box: 35 Published Articles
Box: 36 Story Ideas, Article Drafts, Background Materials
Box: 37 Food Organization Conferences, Interviews, Book Reviews
Box: 38 Research and Drafts for Novel, Foie Gras, Magazine Articles
Box: 39 Joy of Cooking, revised edition
Box: 40 Jean-Georges Vongerichten profile, Lears articles
Box: 41 My Kitchen Wars performance, televised appearances, food articles, NYU Food Colloquium, background materials
Box: 42 Food History Classes, Bread Article
Box: 43 Corn Lectures, Promos, Classes
Box: 44 Betty H. Fussell Lectures
Box: 45 Interviews and Notes on Beef and Related Topics

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Series III: Events and Correspondence

Scope and Contents

This series consists of materials related to workshops, conferences, classes, and other events Fussell attended, addressed, or led. It also contains some correspondence.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 46 California: COPIA Symposium, Greystone Conference, Chalk Hill Winery book draft
Box: 47 Food Conferences
Box: 48
Box: 49 Folder : 1-10 Food Panels, Presentations, Conferences, Lectures
Box: 49 Folder : 11-14 (Mixed Materials [31142063402211]) Correspondence
Box: 32 Folder : 1-8 (Mixed Materials [31142063402245])
Box: 50 Food Events, Interviews, Ephemera

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Series IV: Media, Graphics, Books

Scope and Contents

This series consists of photographs, negatives and slides, plus audiovisual, digital, and graphic materials Fussell created and saved for her research, travel, and writings. It also includes books by others Fussell collected and consulted.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 51 Menus
Box: 52 Posters and Menus
Box: 53 Slides, photographs, graphics of corn and other foods, regions cookbooks, kitchen history
Box: 32 Folder : 9 Slides
Box: 54 Photographs: Western United States and Vermont; Slides
Box: 55 Videos and Audiocassettes
Box: 56 Interviews, minicassettes
Box: 57 Compact disks, floppy disks, UBS flash drive
Box: 35 The Niman Ranch Cookbook
Box: 54 Becoming Native to this Place
Box: 14 Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Issue 13
Box: 14 Jean-George: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef
Box: 14 Simple Cuisine: the Easy, New Approach to Four-Star Cooking
Box: 14 The Four Seasons: A History of America's Premier Restaurant
Box: 28 Zapotec
Box: 28 Last Chance to Eat: the Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
Box: 28 When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away. Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846
Box: 28 Writing at the Kitchen Table: the authorized biography of Elizabeth David
Box: 28 Corn and Corn Growing
Box: 28 Corn Huskers' Battle of the Bangboards
Box: 39 Wild Wealth

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