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Guide to the James Beard Papers MSS.263

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Ashley Todd

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 21, 2022
Description is in English.

Biographical Note

James Andrews Beard, world-renowned chef, was born in Portland, Oregon on May 5, 1903. He studied briefly at Reed College in Portland but left in 1923 to join a touring theatrical troupe and pursue a career as an actor and singer. In the mid-1930s he began to supplement his income with catering work, and in 1937 he settled in New York and opened a gourmet food shop, Hors D'Oeuvre, Inc. The work at the shop led to Beard's first book, Hors d'Oeuvres and Canapés, in 1940.

During the war years, Beard served with the U.S. Seamen's Service, establishing sailors' canteens in Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico, Panama and Marseille. When he returned to New York he resumed writing cookbooks, publishing prolifically and establishing himself as America's most noted culinary authority. In 1946 he was given his own segment on a pioneering television program, NBC's "I Love to Eat," becoming one of the first TV chefs.

Over the years, Beard contributed articles and columns to numerous magazines, including Gourmet,  House and Garden and  Woman's Day. In the 1970s he wrote a syndicated newspaper column, "Beard on Food."

In 1955 Beard established the James Beard Cooking School in New York, and for many years he served as a consultant to food producers and restaurateurs.

Beard published over twenty books in his lifetime, among them The Fireside Cookbook, The James Beard Cookbook, Delights and Prejudices, a Memoir with Recipes, and James Beard's Theory and Practice of Good Cooking.

James Beard died on January 21, 1985 at age 81.