Scope and arrangement
The manuscripts date from the 15th century to the 19th century. Of the 17 manuscripts, 15 are English, one American and one Mexican. In addition to cookery recipes most of the manuscripts also contain medicinal recipes and remedies, as well as mixtures for cleaning solutions and other household items.
An inventory of the entire Whitney Cookery Collection was made by Lewis M. Stark and published by the Library in 1946. The first 17 entries give bibliographic descriptions of the manuscripts in the collection and these are supplemented by information in the introductory pages of the text. One of the volumes (#12) appears to have been rebound since the descriptions were made, but in general the descriptions are still accurate. As noted by Stark some of the manuscripts are of interest not only for their content, but for their calligraphy and illustrations as well. The collection as a whole has significant artifactual value due to the scarcity of surviving cookery manuscripts.