Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Archives Center Home  |  Collections Index



(.5 cubic feet:  2 DB)

by: Susan B. Strange, 1999

Biographical Note

Born March 3, 1911, in Tacoma, Washington, the donor was known as Frances Jensen before she was adopted by her stepfather and her name was changed to Bjorkman. She graduated with a BS degree from the College of Puget Sound (now the University of Puget Sound) in 1932 and then taught high school before earning a Masters Degree about 1939 in botany from the University of Washington. After working as a lab technician in Sedro Woolley, Washington, for several years, she moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1944. In 1945 she married Alfred Baker, and he joined her in Alaska after his war-time service in the Navy. In 1965 Mr. Baker retired, and the couple, who had no children, moved to Sumas, Washington, where Mr. Baker had grown up. Mr. Baker died in 1982 and Mrs. Baker continued to live in the family home until mid-1997 when she moved into an assisted-living facility.

Mrs. Baker claims she did not set out to collect product cookbooks, but that "anything that's paper sticks to me," and that "it's easy to make a collection if you never throw anything away." Some cookbooks were gathered by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. While Mrs. Baker rarely used recipes from the booklets she gathered, she said she was "quite competitive" and regularly entered jams, jellies, and pickles in the Whatcom (Washington) County Fair where she won enough "blue and red ribbons" to fill a shoe box. She had a vegetable and flower garden every year from 1946 through the summer of 1997, and flowers from her garden also won awards at the fair. The information in this section was obtained during a telephone conversation on October 14, 1997, between Mrs. Baker and Susan Strange.  Mrs. Baker died June 11, 1999.

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection is product cookbooks published by food and kitchen appliance manufacturers. One of the strengths of this collection is its inclusion of pamphlets from regional manufacturers located in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska along with a few items from Canada. Also included are pamphlets on canning, canning labels, recipes clipped from local newspapers, and several regional cookbooks. The collection is divided into three series. Product cookbooks, alphabetized by manufacturer, comprise the first series. The second series consists of cookbooks, filed alphabetically, not associated with a specific manufacturer, and the third series contains three folders of ephemera sorted by type (labels, refund packaging, newspaper clippings, etc.)


Most of the collection was acquired in a random fashion by Mrs. Baker though some items were given her by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Mrs. Baker had corresponded with the Smithsonian Libraries in 1991 about a possible donation of the cookbooks, but it was not until the summer of 1997, as she was moving into an assisted-living facility, that Mrs. Baker actually donated the collection. A few items, including almanacs, have been added to the Dibner Library.

Container List

Box Folder



Series 1: Product Cookbooks, 1900-1993

1 1 All-American Steam Pressure Cooker
  2 Amaizo Oil
  3 American Dairy Association
  4 Arm & Hammer
  5 Armour and Co.
  6 Betty Crocker
  7 Borden
  8 Brazil Nut Association
  9 California Fresh Plum Promotion Advisory Board
  10 Campbell's
  11 Canned Salmon Industry
  12 Carnation
  13 Centennial Flouring Mills Co.
  14 Certo
  15 Cho-Chin Oriental Food Products
  16 Clabber Girl
  17 Colman's Mustard
  18 Corning Glass Works (Pyrex)
   19 Crescent
  20 Darigold, Whatcom County (WA) Dairymen's Assn
  21 Delmarva Poultry Industry
  22 Dromedary (Hills Brothers Co.)
  23 Duncan Hines
24 Fairbanks-Morse Conservador Refrigerator
25 Famous Flours
  26 Fleischmann's Yeast
  27 Fisher Flouring Mills Co.
  28 French, R. T., Co.
  29 Fresh-Kept Fruits and Vegetables
  30 Fruit Dispatch Co. (Unifruitco)
  31 General Foods
32 Ghirardelli's Chocolate
  33 Gillett, E. W., Co. (Magic Baking Powder)
34 Hamilton Beach
  35 Hirsch Bros.
36 Jaques Mfg (KC Baking Powder)
  37 Karo, Div. of Corn Products Co.
  38 Kellogg's
  39 Kerr
40 Kitchen Craft
  41 Knox Gelatine
2 42 Kraft
43 Leslie
  44 Libby's
  45 Lipton Tea
  46 MCP Foods, Inc.
  47 Maca Yeast
  48 Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
  49 National Distillers Prod.
  50 Natural Food Co.
  51 Nestle's
  52 Roman Meal
  53 Pillsbury
  54 Puritan Malt Extract Co.
  55 Ralston
  56 Reynolds Metals
  57 Royal Baking Powder
  58 Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Coldspot)
  59 Shield's Date Gardens
  60 Southern Comfort Corp.
  61 Sperry Flour
62 Spry
63 Standard Brands
  64 Tupperware
  65 Van Houten's Cocoa
  66 Wesson Oil & Snowdrift Co.
  67 Wine Advisory Board
Series 2: General Cookbooks
68 "Body Building Dishes for Children" and "Bicentennial 1776 Cookery"
  69 "The Cook's Book"
  70 "Washington Centennial Vintage Vittles" and "California Bi-Centennial Cookbook"
Series 3: Ephemera
71 Refund packaging and recipes cut from packaging
  72 Canning ephemera, labels, facts about food
  73 Newspaper clippings


Revised: September 14, 2001