Family recipes hold centuries of Lynchburg history

Local News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg Museum is telling its history throughout food. An exhibit of cookbooks and recipes date back to the Civil War are on display, and among them are family recipes from prominent Lynchburg historical figures.

“Cooking,” said Ellen Glickman, the museum guide who developed the exhibit, “it’s often a labor of love, and there’s this strong personal historical connection, I think, with a lot of recipes.”

The exhibit explores the life of John J. Terrell, a Civil War-era doctor who treated infectious diseases like Smallpox and Scarlet Fever.

“He significantly reduced the mortality rate,” said Glickman. “He took it from 50 percent to five percent, and so he wrote, what’s on that piece of paper with the recipes are poems, he supposedly wrote to his wife around the time they got married, and we believe his daughter took those down and included some recipes on the back.”

They recently acquired the cookbooks of Amelia Perry Pride. She was a groundbreaking woman of color who was the principal of Polk Street Elementary School for about 20 years.

“In 1903, she opened a cooking school out of her home on Madison Street, and that cooking school became the basis for the public home economics curriculum in the city.”

While the Terrell family recipes were from a time without measurements for ingredients or specific cook times, Pride’s recipes helped revolutionize modern cooking practices.

“She pushed a more scientific approach, so she was like, we need to write down exact measurements in our recipes, we need specific instructions.”

The exhibit is meant to be interactive, with the public contributing their own family’s recipes into a binder.

“We have home empty sleeves in the back if anyone wants to donate something.”

In the new year, the exhibit will move to the Lynchburg Community Market, tempting farmers market shoppers with new recipe ideas.

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