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Historical Source Materials on American and World Baking

A Basic Bibliography from the American Institute of Baking

There are relatively few good sources of historical information on bakers and baking in the United States. For general information on foods in early America, including baked foods, consult the American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking. The Journal of Gastronomy, April 1986, published a facsimile edition of a baking book of the Colonial period. Karen Hess, also writing in the Journal of Gastronomy, Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 1987-88, pp. 3-25, published an article entitled "The American Loaf: a Historical View," which contains a bibliography with useful references. A list of document retrieval sources is provided on this web site, and you may access a very large out of print & antique book source through this link. Books on this list which are highlighted may be ordered online directly from, the world's largest bookstore.

Other general sources include:

There was an excellent series of articles on the history of bread and bakery products printed in the journal Bakers Weekly, which is now defunct. The series "Six thousand years of bakers and baking" began with the July 30, 1921 issue (page 39) and later articles in the series included information on early American bakeries and American baking in general. I doubt that you would be able to find these in your area, although a public land-grant university might have bound copies of Bakers Weekly. Following is a list of publications (books and journals), some of which you may be able to find locally in university libraries.

  • "Bread - the Sabre of the War Between the States," in New South Baker, Sept. 1963, p. 25-6.
  • "Gas Ovens Found in Civil War Underground Bakery Near Capitol," in American Gas Association Monthly, June 1959. Includes photograph.
  • Cahn, William. Out of the cracker barrel: the Nabisco story from animal crackers to Zulus. New York : Simon & Schuster, c1969. (Well-documented and profusely-illustrated history of one of the largest cookie and biscuit baking companies in the world).
  • Brayley, Arthur W. Bakers and baking in Massachusetts, including the flour, baking supply and kindred interests from 1620 to 1909. Boston : Master Bakers' Association of Massachusetts, 1909. (Does not cite sources, but includes many biographical sketches of bakers, portraits of individuals and groups, photos of early bakeries).
  • Alsberg, Carl L. Combination in the American Bread Baking Industry. Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press, 1926. (Discusses rapid consolidation within the American bread baking industry in early 1920s. Includes short historical sketch of industry as of 1926 and brief historical notes on some individual companies).
  • Miranda, Alvaro. "El pan en la conquista de America (I)," in Mesa y cocina en el Siglo XIX, ed. by Aida Martinez. Santafé de Bogata : Editorial Planeta, S.A., 1990. (Discusses introduction of wheat and other European crops into the Americas).
  • Panschar, William G. Baking in America. 3 vols. Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press, 1956. (Major study of the development of the American baking industry from the Colonial period, through the rise of commercial baking in the 1850s, to the 1950s).
  • Stone, R.W. and U.B. Stone. The Baking Industry Under N.R.A. Chicago, IL : University of Chicago Press, c1936. (An in-depth study of the structure of the American baking industry during the difficult period of the 1930s).
  • Walsh, Richard G. and Bert M. Evans. Economics of Change in Market Structure, Conduct, and Performance: the Baking Industry, 1947-1958. Lincoln, NE : University of Nebraska Press, Dec. 1963. (An in-depth analysis of the structure and operations of the American baking industry, based in large part on figures compiled by U.S. government agencies).
  • Steen, Herman. Flour Milling in America. Minneapolis : T.S. Denison & Company, 1963. (Does not cite sources, but presents a wide-ranging history of an allied industry, with many brief historical sketches of U.S. milling companies).
  • "Chronological History: 1887-1952." Special issue Baking Industry, Vol. 97, No. 1219 (April 12, 1952). Chicago : Cissold Publishing Co. (Provides very brief notes on baking history in the U.S. on a year-by-year basis. Notes introduction of major advances in machinery and technology, as well as many notes on individuals and baking companies).
  • "60th Anniversary: 1922-1982." Special issue of The Southwestern Miller, 1982. Kansas City : Sosland Publishing Company. (Reprints significant articles relating to the U.S. baking industry from the 1920s through the 1970s. Since the name of the publication changed in 1972 from Southwestern Miller to Milling and Baking News, this is the only issue of the former published in 1982).
  • "Corporate Profile : North American Baking." Special issue of Milling and Baking News, Vol. 70, No. 23 (Aug. 1, 1991). Kansas City : Sosland Publishing Company. (Gives corporate profile and brief historical sketch for twenty-three of the largest baking companies in North America, including Mexico and Canada).
  • "Chronicles of Baking: 100 years of Service." Special issue of Baking Industry Vol. 100, No. 4 (April 1987). Chicago : Putman Publishing Company. (Gives brief synopsis of important events, persons, advances in technology, etc. from 1887 to 1987. Issue also includes brief historical sketch for each of twenty-six bakeries in business for more than seventy-five years).
  • Hauser, Nao and Sue Spitler. Bagels, bagels and more bagels. New York : Bantam, c1982 by Lender's Bagels. A light-hearted history of an ethnic product that went mainstream with astounding success.

Sources of Information on General Baking History

Some general books on wheat foods technology, such as Wheat: chemistry and technology, edited by the late Y. Pomeranz, contain very brief discussions of the historical origins of wheat and of baking, but these generally make reference to older texts and articles. A recent historical sketch of the development of bread baking, including chronological tables of major events in the history of bread from about 7000 B.C. to 1987 A.D., was published in French by Hubert Chiron in the publication INRA Mensuel, no. 2, 1990, p. 15+. Mr. Chiron also published an interesting chapter on bread history (in French) in the book La panification française. New York & Paris : TEC-DOC, c1994. Probably the best overall collection of materials on baking in the world is in the Deutsche Brotmuseum, Furstenecker Strasse 17, 7900 Ulm, Germany.

The series "Six thousand years of bakers and baking" (noted above)began with the July 30, 1921 issue (page 39). The series contains much information on very early baking practices, very little of which has been printed elsewhere. There are also numerous photographs and illustrations of ancient artifacts, including bakery models and artifacts from Dynastic Egypt and earlier.

Internet access to collections of papyrus fragments (which may or may not contain reference to baking history) is available at the University of Michigan and Duke University. At least one similar collection is still in the indexing stage.

  • Brochu, René and Jean-Pierre Héry. Le pain: histoire et outils d'autrefois = bread: history and tools from former times. Ottawa, Canada, Éditions Marcel Broquet, Inc., c1988.
  • Jacob, H.E. Six thousand years of bread : its holy and unholy history. Garden City, NY : Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1944. (Available in reprint from above link!!!)
  • Pyler, E.J. Our daily bread. Chicago : Siebel Publishing Co., 1958.
  • Luraschi, A. Il pane e la sua storia. Torino, Italy : Edizioni de "L'Arte Bianca," 1953. (Italian language).
  • Ziehr, W. Bread through the ages. Farmer, Miller, Baker. Tielt, Belgium : Lannoo, 1987.
  • Blumel, F., and W. Boog. 5000 jahre backofen. Ulm / Donau : Deutsches Brotmuseum E.V., c1977.
  • Dupaigne, B. Le pain. Paris : Editions de la Courtille, c1979. (French language).

There is an excellent series on the history of milling in the Italian journal Tecnica Molitoria, and there have also been many fine articles by Raymond Calvel on various aspects of the history of bread published in a number of French journals.

A major reference in English on the history of milling is: Storck, John & W.D. Teague. Flour for man's bread. Minneapolis, MN : Univ. of Minnesota Press, c1952.

The Swiss researcher, Dr. Max Waehren, published a series of articles entitled "Le monde du pain" in Le boulanger-patissier, beginning 1n 1983. The January 1983 issue contained a discussion of his research on the oldest bread yet discovered, dated at 5,530 years, and mentioning an even older fragment from about 3,700 B.C. Unfortunately, I believe that these articles were never published in English, although Dr. Waehren does mention having published some of his articles in the archeological journal Hoops.

I recently wrote a brief paper entitled <<Petit aperçu sur le rôle historique du pain et du boulanger,>> which was published in the Avril-Mai 1997 edition of La Fournée, the official magazine of Quebec bakers and pastry makers. This is not available in English.

A very brief article entitled "After 4,500 years: rediscovering Egypt's bread-baking technology" was recently printed in the January, 1995 issue of National Geographic.

We are able to do historical research on specific questions, but due to the number of questions we answer per year and to the limited number of library and museum staff, these questions are normally done outside of normal office hours by AIB staff members. Our standard charge for such historical research is $25 per hour. If we have already abstracted the source material for our in-house databases, we could send you a printout of the abstracts, which would allow you to find some of the documents yourself. If you actually need to have us write a finished summary history, our charges for research and writing would be $60 per hour.

You should try to locate these materials through interlibrary loan from your university library. Although we can process orders for materials through libraries, we find it very difficult to reply to all of the requests for information that we receive from individuals.

Please note that we are not a public or university library, and we do assess service charges for all articles mailed to non-member companies and individuals. We also charge photocopy and mailing charges for any materials sent to clients.

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