Jacqueline M. Newman Chinese Cookbook Collection
A Special Collection at Stony Brook University
Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman is professor emerita, Queens College, and in addition to her impressive record of publication, her career as an educator, and being named the 2009 recipient of the Amelia Award, an honor bestowed for outstanding lifetime achievement in culinary history, she is the founder and editor of the award-winning magazine Flavor and Fortune. It is the first, and the only, American, English-language quarterly about Chinese food and Chinese dietary culture.
In 2002, Dr. Newman decided to share her passion for this area of scholarship and collecting. She visited many libraries to see if there was interest in her collection. After much careful consideration, she selected Stony Brook University Libraries to be the home for her one of a kind collection. In addition to donating more than 5,000 books since 2002, Dr. Newman also donated a large set of herbal medicine books, collections of haute cuisine magazines, archival materials, videos, CD-Roms, and more than 4,000 slides. The initial donation of more than 7,000 items was valued at over $500,000.
In the years since, she has annually donated new materials to the collection and established the Dr. Jacqueline M. Newman Endowed Fund to ensure to ensure the collection is expanded and maintained in perpetuity, and to support related programming.
Dr. Newman stated, "I hope that this collection does more than just produce interest in Chinese cuisine. Food is a lot more than cooking. I'm looking to broaden the conceptualization of food because it has anthropologic, sociologic, cultural and historic significance, and more. I looked at several places for my collection and chose Stony Brook for a variety of reasons. Of course, I've known President Kenny for several years from Queens College, but the building of the new Charles B. Wang Center celebrating Asian and American cultures and the University's desire to build a major Asian studies program really convinced me. The fact that Stony Brook has a special collections area means that the books will be preserved in perpetuity and in the proper fashion."
Stony Brook University Libraries converted Dr. Newman's extensive annotated bibliography to a web-searchable database accessible through the University Libraries' discovery catalog, thereby making the collection of cookbooks known to the world. "Historians and social scientists are increasingly interested in daily life," said Kristen Nyitray, Director of Stony Brook's Special Collections. "These cookbooks open a window on immigrant lives that otherwise remain hidden. We are honored and delighted that Dr. Newman has chosen Stony Brook as the repository for her significant collection."
Dr. Newman has collected Chinese cookbooks for more than 50 years, beginning when she received her first Chinese cookbook as a wedding present. Chinese cooking developed into her area of research and special interest. She wrote her Ph.D. thesis on changing Chinese food habits in New York City, is the editor and publisher of the quarterly magazine Flavor and Fortune which is dedicated to Chinese cuisine, and has edited and authored many books and articles. "This collection is like a child to me," said Dr. Newman in 2002. "It is hard to part with it, but I know that it will be in excellent hands at Stony Brook."
As of 2020, the collection includes: more than 5,000 cookbooks, books on food Chinese food culture; medicine; and history; haute cuisine magazines; archival materials; and audio visual materials. These materials provide a valuable record of the Chinese Diaspora that has carried its rich cuisine to every corner of the globe. All are welcome to schedule an appointment to consult the collection.