UCSD Libraries Acclaimed Culinary Collection is on a Delicious Roll With Latest Addition

AIWF members celebrate donation of Bon Appétit editor Jan Weimer’s archive to UCSD

March 10, 2010 - Approximately 60 national and local members of the prestigious American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) joined the festivities—and fabulous food, of course—at UC San Diego’s Geisel Library to pay tribute to the late Jan Weimer and the donation of her personal archive to the UCSD Libraries. Guests feasted on a variety of dishes from Weimer’s own recipes, including endive leaves filled with curried shrimp, tuna tartare on cucumber rounds, and roasted eggplant dip on crostini.

Weimer, who died in 2007, was a giant in the food world, and a celebrated master of all things food-related. The food editor of Bon Appétit magazine from 1981to 1989, she has been credited with introducing groundbreaking innovations in American Cuisine. A prolific writer, editor, and Cordon Bleu-trained cook, she authored hundreds of articles on a startling array of food-related topics, from food sourcing and kitchen design to hors d’oeuvres and Asian cuisine. Weimer also worked as a food editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and consulted on menu development and related matters for Princess Cruises, Trefethen Winery, and the National Dairy Council, as well as for a number of restaurants.

We are honored to have the archive of Jan Weimer as part of the outstanding AIWF Culinary Collection at UC San Diego,” said Lisa Lipton, National Chair of the AIWF and a San Diego resident. “Given that the AIWF was founded for the purpose of encouraging scholarship and fostering research in the study of food and wine—including its history, its future, and its present status—the UCSD Libraries are the perfect home for these papers.”

According to Lipton, Weimer did much over the years to advance the AIWF mission, including her role as a founding member of the Los Angeles AIWF chapter.

Weimer’s collection, which will become part of the AIWF Culinary Collection housed at the UCSD Mandeville Special Collections Library, includes more than 1200 volumes, original manuscripts and articles, collectible special dinner menus, and scrapbooks, as well as her personal correspondence with her many friends and clients in the food world, including Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and Simone Beck. Weimer’s archive also includes several books she authored—Mastering Hors d’oeuvres (for Williams-Sonoma); San Francisco Exotic Food Guide; Kitchen Redos, Revamps, Remodels, and Replacements: Without Murder, Madness, Suicide, or Divorce; Basic Skills for the Good Cook: 26 Cooking Lessons from Bon Appétit (with Rita Leinwand); and Home Cooking With a French Accent (with Chef Michel Richard)—and her many original recipes. Also included is her personal and well-thumbed copy of Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking, which no longer resembles a book of any kind and is being held together by rubber bands.

Jan’s creativity and energy left us with an amazing legacy,” said Dr. Sanford Weimer, Jan Weimer’s husband. “I’m so pleased that we have found the perfect home for her amazing archive. She was all about hospitality and helping others. Many friends and family banded together to honor her and her wishes by establishing the janweimerfund.org This website supports the fund raising to establish a chair in her name at Stanford Oncology. Jan graduated from Stanford and wanted to do something for other women suffering from breast cancer. The website has a video of her best moments on TV, a charismatic, passionate foodie, dedicated to quality and relationships.”

UCSD's American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) Culinary Collection was established in 1991, with an initial gift from the AIWF of approximately 360 cookbooks and other materials documenting culinary history, dating back to the 17th century. Thanks to significant gifts of material from interested parties, as well as an endowment created by the San Diego AIWF board, the collection has grown to include more than 5,000 books, manuscripts, and other materials, and has exceptional strength in materials from California, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim region.

We are thrilled to be adding Jan Weimer’s impressive personal library to our culinary collection,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego. “The AIWF collection continues to grow—both in terms of quality and quantity— and with this impressive addition, it will become an even greater resource for scholars interested in culinary history and culture.”

Local AIWF board members played an instrumental role in directing half of AIWF's rare book collection to the UCSD Libraries. Julia Child, who founded the AIWF with Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff in 1981, presided over the AIWF at the time. The UCSD AIWF collection includes such marvels as Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera dell'arte del cucinare (1610), featuring a series of woodcuts depicting culinary implements from the Renaissance kitchen—including the first depiction ever of a knife, fork, and spoon together—and Amelia Simmons' Home Cookery (1814), recognized as the first truly American cookbook. Chocolate aficionados will appreciate the collection's Acerca del chocolate (1730), a manuscript from Mexico that attempts to rebut the Church's strictures against the consumption of chocolate.

The Mandeville Special Collections Library is a major repository for rare and distinctive books, periodicals, maps, photographs, art works, recordings, and a wide range of archives to support teaching and scholarly research at UC San Diego. In addition to the AIWF Collection, the Library houses many irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind collections, including: the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection, the largest collection of its kind in the world; extensive holdings on California history and culture and Baja California history and politics; the Archive for New Poetry, one of the most comprehensive collections of post-1945 American poetry; and the Dr. Seuss Collection, a significant repository of the original art and works of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), which includes more than 8,500 items documenting the full range of Geisel's creative achievements.

About the UCSD Libraries:

The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.

About the AIWF:

The American Institute of Wine & Food is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity founded on the premise that gastronomy is essential to the quality of human existence and was established in 1981 by the late Robert Mondavi, the late Julia Child, the late Richard Graff and others to provide a forum for the study and enjoyment of gastronomy. The AIWF is dedicated to promoting health and well-being through the enjoyment of good food and drink and fellowship that comes from dining together around the table. The AIWF grants culinary scholarships to aspiring students and runs a national Days of Taste program that teaches children about the culinary arts and nutrition. The organization has more than 3,000 members in 27 chapters throughout the United States. Chapters host monthly events. Membership is open to all wine and food enthusiasts and professionals. For more information about the AIWF, please visit www.aiwf.org or call (800) 274-AIWF.

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