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You Are What You Eat: Cookbooks as Ingredients to Shape Identity and Community: Home

The Regional History Center will have on display on the first floor of the library historical cookbooks, recipes, and ephemera from its collection for its exhibit: “You Are What You Eat: Cookbooks as ingredients to shape identity and community.” Cookbooks and recipes often reveal more than just a list of ingredients. Ethnic recipes help preserve a cultural heritage and demonstrate different cultures that exist in an area. Passing along a favorite family recipe helps keep the memory of family members alive. We will explore how cookbooks have created a sense of identity in the northern Illinois region. The exhibit, which is being curated in conjunction with American Archives Month and the 50th anniversary of the University Archives, will be on display through November 15th.

50th Anniversary of the University Archives

The NIU University Archives was established in September 1964 with the appointment of J. Joseph Bauxer as the University Archivist. In just a few years it expanded to become a depository for state local records (now called Illinois Regional Archives Depository). In 1979, through a grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities and with the support from the University Libraries and the History Department, the Regional History Center was established to collect the most significant historical records of the northern Illinois Region. American Archives Month, an annual event every October, is a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. To celebrate these events and make the exhibit more interactive, the exhibit will also feature replica copies of some recipes for visitors to take home. We will encourage visitors to make these recipes and share photos and stories on our Facebook page throughout the month of October.

Please be sure to see the exhibit and visit our Facebook page for recipes and updates!  


                   NIU Community                          Immigration and Family                 Churches and Organizations                      Exhibit Cases          


This exhibit was created by the staff of the Regional History Center, a unique component of the Northern Illinois University’s commitment to education, research, and public service.The Center’s goal is to acquire, preserve, and make available to the public the most significant historical records of the northern Illinois region.  The Center actively collects historical material from the 18 northernmost counties of Illinois, excluding Cook.  Since 1964 the Center has evolved from a small university archive to a multifaceted research center containing three related sets of historical records available to researchers: Regional Collections, University Archives, and Local Governmental Records.