Isabella Stewart Gardner - Recipe Book, about 1860

Isabella Stewart Gardner (New York, 1840 - 1924, Boston)

Recipe Book and Fragment of a Letter, about 1860

Ink on paper


This handwritten recipe book is perhaps the most impressive and personal of Isabella's food-related possessions . She probably assembled it around 1860 during the early days of her marriage to Jack (John L. Gardner Jr.). 

In the nineteenth century, a woman of Isabella’s class would have started her married life with books like these, often prepared with the help of her mother and the cook who had prepared food for her immediate family. The recipes appear in both pen and ink and pencil, suggesting that Isabella added recipes to the book over time.