buttermilk_pancakes.jpg Long ago I told Paper Dolls for Boys that I would post vintage photos on Fridays, but I really haven’t got that many great vintage photos.

I do however have a nice collection of mid-century cookbooks — many I found when I bought two big boxes of old papers at an auction. They appear to be the entire 1950-60’s Home Economics classroom files of a woman named Frances, and are full of leaflets and brochures about choosing silverware, how to use a deep freeze, bug sprays, dieting, and more.

I love looking at these old cookbooks, finding a lot of humor and inspiration for my work from the drawings and advertising copy in these retro pieces of domestic history.

So Tracy, I hope you won’t mind if I post some of these instead of photos. For some more inspiration from retro graphics, check out my Flickr set here and the Flickr group mid-century illustrated.

Update: I almost forgot to post these, here are some folks who actually did the photos:
Los Angeles is My Beat

Laughing Living and Loving in Austin
A Jen Too Many
and  be sure to check out the hula hoops on


  • Reading about your vintage collection and how part of it talks about ‘how to use a deep freeze’, reminded me of something and I just thought you would find it humorous…
    I spent 5 prime childhood years growing up in Buras, LA (60 miles South of New Orleans). English was the official language, but it was kind of different. Down there, a “deep freeze” was a “chesta-freeze”. For some reason, it still makes me laugh-and I don’t know why.

  • It took a long time to get my large collection of the pamphlets that were packed with all those exciting new appliance introduced in the 40’s and 50’s. Marvelous drawings and photos. I came home to a backed-up sewer in the basement. My collection smelled too bad for me to iron them flat. I do have several oookbooks and housekeeping books from the early 1900’s. To keep butter fresh without refrigeration, wrap in a wet gunny sack and hang from a tree in the shade. The breeze flowing thru the wet sack keeps it cool.


  • Oh I love the graphics and photos of 50s & 60s cookbooks! All those pineapple rings with maraschino cherries just get me. The Suzannas Pancake mix is great. I love her spatula and her tongue sticking out!

  • LOVE those old cookbook graphics! I, too, have a fairly large collection of cooking, sewing, knitting and crochet ephemera! Hmmm? Great idea to post it on VPF!

  • Hi Tracy, I saw your post earlier today with the ephemara, that’s what gave me the idea.

    I know I have some packed away, but the cookbooks are something I’ve been wanting to sort through for a while, since they really do give me new ideas for my own drawings.

    Thanks for sticking with me!

  • How funny! Today I posted some family ephemera, grew a little boxed in by the whole photo thing!

    I LOVE the vintage cookbook image of the pancakes in her belly. Yum!

    Play along anyway you want! Just happy to be playing together. 🙂

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