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Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI 48824-3407)
Helen Veit (Project Director: July 2013 to August 2017)
What America Ate: U.S. Foodways of the Great Depression

The digitization of primary sources about the history of food in the United States from 1930 to 1942, including surviving materials created by the Works Progress Administration, 200 community cookbooks, and a selection of commercial food advertising and packaging. These written materials, photographs, and recipes will be made openly accessible through "What America Ate," a digital archive on American eating and foodways during the Great Depression.

Michigan State University (MSU), in cooperation with two other university libraries and three state archives, will create a digital archive on the history of American eating during the Great Depression. The What America Ate archive will feature a range of digitized culinary sources from 1930 to early 1942, including papers from the original Works Progress Administration America Eats project, housed at the U.S. Library of Congress, Montana State University Library, and the state archives of New York, North Dakota, and Kentucky, and 200 community cookbooks produced around the country during the Depression, held in the MSU Library's Special Collections and the University of Michigan Library's Janice Bluestein Longone's Culinary Archive. The digital archive will also include over 700 rare advertisements, food packaging materials, and commercial cookbooks produced by food companies in the 1930s from MSU's Alan and Shirley Brocker Sliker Culinary Ephemera Collection.

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$300,000 (approved)
$299,771 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 4/30/2017