Primary Sources

Greco-Roman and other professional texts are provided for context. The humoral system of medicine proposed in them was the basis of Western medicine for centuries and influenced Middle Eastern systems as well.  It is useful to understand the theory.  Other than that,  I tried to list some resources that  you could access for free or perhaps find at your library.  I have others if you are looking for something specific e-mail me at stephany.hoffelt@goddard.edu.

Databases and Online Digitized Collections
Library of Congress Selected Works on Cookery
National Library of Medicine  Manuscript Receipt Books
Medieval Cookbook Search Use the search function for the words fever, medicine, cure, invalid,  and pain.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey 
Database of pre-1865 English-language manuscript cookbooks.
The manuscript recipe books are mainly from the New England and Mid Atlantic areas, with a few from England.  The books range in date from 1669 to the early 1900s.

Historical Reference Primary Sources
Hippocrates. On Regimen in Acute Diseases. Translated by Adams, Francis, ca. 400BCE.

Celsus, Aulus Cornelius. De Medicina LIBRI I-VIII. Translated by Spencer. W.G. 1938 Translation. Vol. 1-3. III vols. London, England: William Heinemann LTD, ca. 44.

Dioscorides. De Materia Medica. - Five Books in One Volume: A New English Translation. Translated by Osbaldeston, T. Johannesburg: IBIDIS Press, ca. 60.

Plinius Secundius, Gaius. Pliny Natural History LIBRI I-II. Translated by Rackham, H. 1938 translation. Vol. I. Ten vols. Loeb Classical Library. London. England: William Heinemann LTD, ca. 77.

Plinius Secundius, Gaius. Pliny Natural History LIBRI XXIV-XXVIITranslated by Jones, W.H.S. 1956 translation. Vol. VII. London, England: William Heinemann LTD, ca. 77.

Apicius. Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome. Translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling. 1926 Reprint. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, ca. 400.

Aegineta, Paulus. Medical Compendium in Seven Books. Translated by Adams, Francis. 1847 Translation. Vols 1-3. London, England: Sydenham Soc., ca. 600.

Jocks, Ianto Thorvald. “The Compositiones Medicamentorum of Scribonius Largus.” University of Glasgow, 2013.

Middle English Compendium

Pollington, Stephen. Leechcraft: Early English Charms, Plant Lore, and Healing. Cambridgeshire, England: Anglo-Saxon Books, 2008.  Contains partial text and translations of Lacnunga, Bald’s Leechbook and others written in the 9th Century. [Print Source]

Cockayne, Thomas Oswald. Leechdoms, wortcunning, and starcraft of early England:3 vols. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1866.  These are translations of documents dating  to the Anglo Saxon period and older.

Warner, Richard Antiquitates Culinariae, or Curious Tracts Relating to the Culinary Affairs of the Old English,  published in 1791 but written about older manuscripts.

Green, Monica, trans. Trotula: An English Translation of the Medieval Compendium of Women’s Medicine.2001 Translation. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, ca. 1100. [Print Source] This is a very important source in terms of women's medicine. I'd splurge and buy it if I were you.

John of Milan. Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum. Code of Health of the School of Salernum. Translated by John Ordronaux. 1870 Translation. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott & co., ca. 1150.   (It was 1563 when the scribes Aodh Ó Cendamhain, Cairbre, and Daibhí Ó Cearnaigh translated this to Irish.)

Thomas Gloning, trans. “Enseignements Qui Enseingnent a Apareillier Toutes  * Manieres de Viandes.” Ms. lat. 7131, fol. 99va. Bibl. Nationale. ca. 1300.

Anglici, Johannis. Rosa Anglica Sev Rosa Medicinæ Johannis Anglici: An Early Modern Irish Translation of a Section of the Mediaeval Medical Text-Book of John of Gaddesden. Translated by Wulff, Winifred. 1923 Translation. London, England: Simpkin Marshall LTD. ca. 1314. (It was 1492 when this was translated into Irish.)

Hieatt, Constance B., and Robin F. Jones, trans. “Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections Edited from British Library Manuscripts Additional 32085 and Royal 12.C.Xii.” Speculum 61, no. 4 (1986): 859–82. 1320-1340.

Lanfranco, of Milan. Lanfrank’s “Science of Cirurgie”. Edited from the Bodleian Ashmole Ms. 1396 (Ab. 1380 A.D.) and the British Museum Additional Ms. 12,056 (Ab. 1420 A.D.). Edited by Fleischhacker, Robert von. 1894 Reprint. Pub. for the Early English society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co, 1380.

Myddfai, Meddygon. Physicians of Myddvai. Edited by Williams, John. Translated by John Pughe. 1861 Translation. London, England: Welsh MSS Society, Longman & Co., 1382.



Russel, John. “The Boke of Nurture.” Harleian MS 4011. Translated by Furnivall, Frederick. London, England, ca 1465. British Museum.

Brunschwig, Hieronymus. Liber de Arte Distillandi; English. Translated by Andrewe, Laurens. [Imprynted at London: In the flete strete by me Laurens Andrewe, in the sygne of the golden Crosse, In the yere of our lorde. M.ccccc.xxvii. the xviii daye of Apryll. 1527.

Treveris, Peter. The Grete Herball. London, England: the author, 1529.

Ibn Botlan, Ibn. Tacuinum Sanitatis. Translated by Westbrook, Adele and Ratti, Oscar. 1976 Translation. New York, NY: George Braziller Inc., 1531. Online Version


de la Cruz, Martinus. Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis. Translated by Badiano, Juahn. Tlaltilulco, Mexico: College of Santa Cruz, 1552.[Print]

Dodoens, Rembert. A Nievve Herball, or Historie of Plantes. Translated by Henry Lyte. 1578 Translation. Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 289:01. London, England: AT LONDON by my Gerard Dewes, dwelling in Pawles Churchyarde at the signe of the Swanne, 1554.

Rodolphus, Gerardus. “Convolute Gent KANTL 15.”  Translated by Muusers, Christianne. Gent, Belgium, 1560. Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature.

Brunschwig, Hieronymus. A Most Excellent and Perfecte Homish Apothecarye or Homely Physik Booke, for All the Grefes and Diseases of the Bodye. Translated out the Almaine Speche into English by Ihon Hollybush. Translated by Hollybush,Ihon. Imprinted at Collen: By [the heirs of] Arnold Birckman, in the yeare of our Lord M.D.LXI. [1561], 1561.

Hertford, Katherine Seymore.  A briefe discourse… Transcribed by Daniel Myers from University of Pennsylvania Ms. Codex 823. 1567. (Note: I do not ascribe to Myer’s use of the term commonplace book to describe this manuscript.  Commonplace books were a different thing entirely than manuscript receipt books.)

Tusser, Thomas, Fiue Hundreth Points of Good Husbandry Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 1696:13. Imprinted at London: In Flete strete within Temple barre, at the signe of the Hand [and] starre by Rychard Totell, anno. 1573., 1573.

Hester, John, The True and Perfect Order to Distill Oyles out of Al Maner of Spices Seedes, Rootes, and Gummes…Edited by Gabriele Falloppio. Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 2140:11. [London: J. Charlewood] 1575.

Hill, Thomas. The Gardener’s Labyrinth. Translated by Mabey, Richard. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1577. [Print Source]

Monardes, Nicolás, ca. Ioyfull Nevves out of the Newe Founde Worlde …. Translated by John Frampton fl. London, England: Imprinted at London : In Poules Churche-yarde, by Willyam Norton, Anno Domini. 1577.

A. W. A Book of Cookrye: Very Necessary for All Such as Delight Therein. / Gathered by A.W. Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 2344:08. Imprinted At London: by Edward Allde.1587.

Dawson, Thomas. The Good Husvvifes Ievvell Imprinted at London: By Iohn Wolfe for Edward White, dwelling at the litle North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne. 1587.

Gerard, John. The Herball Or Generall Historie of Plantes. London, England: Norton, John, 1597.  (Note: There is 1633 version of this publication which has been edited by Thomas Hill. I have both. There are not significant changes and they are well documented.)


Mildmay, Lady Grace. “The Autobiography of Grace, Lady Mildmay.” Edited by Martin, Randall. Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 18, no. 1 (1994): 33–81.

Markham, Gervase. Countrey Contentments, or the English Huswife | LSE Digital Library. London, England: R.
Jackson, 1623.

Catchmay, Lady Frances. “A Booke of Medicens,” 1625

Digby, Venetia. “English Recipe Book, 17th Century,”  MS7391. Wellcome Collection. 1633.

Parkinson, John. Theatrum Botanicum. London, England: The Cotes, 1640.

Culpeper, Nicholas. The English Physitian: OR AN Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of This Nation. London. England: Printed by Peter Cole, at the sign of the Printing-Press in Cornhil, near the Royal Exchange., 1652.

Kent, Elizabeth Grey. A Choice Manual of Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery…; Published by W.I., Gent. London, England: Printed by G.D., and are to be sold by William Shears, 1653.

W.M. The Queens Closet Opened Incomparable Secrets in Physick, Chyrurgery, Preserving, and Candying …. London, England: Printed for Nath. Brooke, 1659.  

Woolley, Hannah, fl. The Ladies Directory... Early English Books, 1641-1700 / 2629:14. London; Printed by T.M. for Peter Dring, at the Sun, next dore to the Rose Taverne in the Poultry.1662.

Fanshawe, Ann. “Receipt Book of Ann, Lady Fanshawe,” Wellcome Collection. 1680. 

Blencowe, Ann. The Receipt Book of Mrs Ann Blencowe A.D. 1694. Edited by Saintsbury, George. [1972 Reprint]. London: The Adelphi, Guy Chapman, 1925. [Print]

Borlase, Alice. Ladie Borlase’s Receiptes Booke. Edited by Schoonover, David E.  Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1998. [Print]

Carteret, Grace. “Manuscript Recipe Book of Grace Carteret, 1st Countess Granville (1654-1744).” London, UK, Wellcome Collection. 1700. 

Sharp, Jane. The Compleat Midwife’s Companion: Or the Art of Midwifry Improv’d.. London, England: Printed for John Marsall, at the Bible in Grace church stereet, 1725.

History of Food & Drink Collection. “Book for Receipts.” Virginia Tech,  Ms2008-024. 1731.


Blackwell, Elizabeth. A curious herbal : containing five hundred cuts, of the most useful plants, which are now used in the practice of physick engraved on folio copper plates, after drawings taken from the life / by Elizabeth Blackwell. To which is added a short description of ye plants and their common uses in physick. Vol. 1. 2 vols. London, England: Printed for Samuel Harding, 1737-1739., 1737. 


Blackwell, Elizabeth. A curious herbal : containing five hundred cuts, of the most useful plants, which are now used in the practice of physick. Vol. 2. 2 vols. London, England: London : Printed for John Nourse at the Lamb, 1737.

Cleland, Elizabeth. A New and Easy Method of Cookery. Edinburgh, Scotland: W. Gordon, C. Wright, S. Willison, J. Bruce, 1755.

Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Yet Published ... London, England: W. Strahan, J. and F. Rivington, J. Hinton, 1774.

Johnston, Isobel Christian. The Cook and Housewives Manual by (Meg Dods). Edinburgh, Scotland: Bell & Bradfute, 1826.

Randolph, Mary. The Virginia Housewife... Edited by John Plaskitt. Baltimore, MD: John Plaskitt, 1836.

Hooker, Margaret Huntington. Early American Cookery: Or Ye Gentlewoman’s Housewifery. 2010 Reprint. Ashville, NC: Native Ground Books and Music, 1896.

Farmer, Fannie. Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1904.

Clark, Charlotte Coltman. The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie. Edited by Catherine Frances Frere. London, England: Constable & Company LTD, 1909.