We are happy to announce the publication of a special enhanced e-book version of Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960, by Rebecca Sharpless. Produced with the cooperation of libraries and archives, the enhanced e-book features twenty letters, photographs, first-person narratives, and other documents, each embedded in the text where it will be most meaningful.
First published in 2010, this book tells the story of African American women who left the plantation economy behind to enter domestic service in southern cities and towns. These women fed generations of white families and, in the process, profoundly shaped southern foodways and culture. Rebecca Sharpless argues that, in the face of discrimination, long workdays, and low wages, African American cooks worked to assert measures of control over their own lives. As employment opportunities expanded in the twentieth century, most African American women chose to leave cooking for more lucrative and less oppressive manufacturing, clerical, or professional positions.
“The sources on African American cooks are the reward for persistent curiosity,” Sharpless said. “This e-book provides a glimpse into the riches that are to be had if one but looks. The digital format provides the reader with a taste of the raw materials of which the historical narrative is assembled.”
Browsable and searchable from anywhere in the text, the enhancements include twenty letters, photographs, first-person narratives, and other documents, as well as additional commentary written by the author, each embedded in the text where it will be most meaningful. Featuring close to 100 pages of new material, the enhanced e-book offers readers an intimate view into the lives of domestic workers, while also illuminating the journey a historian takes in uncovering these stories.
The enhanced e-book is available from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Nook Tablet, Amazon’s Kindle app for iPhone and iPad, and Google Play for desktop and laptop computers.
The enhanced e-book is published under the aegis of the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project’s first enhanced e-book was Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark by Katherine Mellen Charron, and the project’s second enhanced e-book was Blowout!: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice, by Mario García and Sal Castro.