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Arkansas Foodways and Cookbooks

A guide to the unique food customs of the Natural State

About this guide

Photo of a group of people eating watermelon. Photo: Mabelvale Home Demonstrations Club Records (MC 1640), box 5 folder 1. Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.


This is a guide to the Arkansas foodways materials and cookbooks of the Special Collections division of the University of Arkansas Libraries. Special Collections supports research and writing in Arkansas studies through the ongoing development of a comprehensive collection of Arkansas print material. The Arkansas Collection includes more than 70,000 titles across the spectrum of knowledge, from history and religion to arts and sciences and beyond. Special Collections aims to represent every aspect of Arkansas print culture and history. It includes non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and cookbooks.

This guide is intended to give researchers an introduction to Arkansas regional foodways, cookbooks and other food-based cultural material housed in Special Collections. There are more than 1,800 cookbooks in the Arkansas Collection, almost all of which were compiled by local communities within the state as a part of fundraising efforts; a tradition dating back to the civil war.All of these materials and more are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Published sources for background information on Foodways

A Selection of Arkansas Cookbooks