Kristen sent us a link to archive.org where we can read all these historical cookbooks! I know you can do something similar on Google Books. Are there other resources?
They're not cookbooks, but this extensive (and free) online archive of restaurant menus at The New York Public Library is a fun resource for quenching one's thirst for cooking history. http://menus.nypl.org/
This is a real brick and mortar store with an online presence; http://www.cookbookjj.com/ They have quite a collection but I don't think anything is digitized for reading. However, if you happen to be visiting Pasadena...
Sadly, many of the historical resources once available on Google Books have been pulled. Archiv.org seems good; it appears advisable to start with your search terms in the "title" option for best result.
Treasures can often be found via alibris.com - hard copies - if you are willing to pay about $5 and can wait a few weeks. Hundreds if not thousands of out-of-print books -- many, admittedly, not qualifying as "historical resources," except in a general sense, but interesting and fun nonetheless -- can be picked up for $.99 + shipping (under $4). I have quite a few hidden or forgotten gems, such as "Elizabeth David's Christmas," "How to Pick a Peach," by Russ Parsons (not historical but a valuable resource), Carol Field's "Foccaccia", and Elizabeth David's "English Bread and Yeast Cookery", to name just a few. Take advantage of the advance search tools and have fun! ;o)
P.S. I'm a member of Paperbackswap.com, and although many books that interest me are often not available, or I've had to wait a year or more until I'm notified that a book on my wish list is available, I highly recommend their search engine. I often find books on paperbackswap, and then plug in the ISBN on alibris.com to get exactly the edition that I want.
Also, just to clarify, there are hundreds of thousands of hardcover books on paperbackswap.com. Do not be confused by their URL. ;o)
AJ, do you know why some of the texts have been pulled from Google Books?
I suspect that it is the fallout from litigation that was settled a few years ago. See: https://techcrunch.com/2012/10/04/aap-publishers-get-more-control-over-google-as-they-settle-7-year-copyright-infringement-suit-over-google-library-project/
To put this into context, consider this (from the FAQs on the Stanford's website): http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/faqs/copyright-basics/
"For works published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, if the work is a work for hire (that is, the work is done in the course of employment or has been specifically commissioned) or is published anonymously or under a pseudonym, the copyright lasts between 95 and 120 years, depending on the date the work is published.
All works published in the United States before 1923 are in the public domain. Works published after 1922, but before 1978 are protected for 95 years from the date of publication. If the work was created, but not published, before 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years."
Hope this helps. ;o)
Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe has one of the largest collections in the US of books and manuscripts about cooking and the social history of food. I don’t think much has been digitized, but Boston isn’t that far from NYC! Also, the Smithsonian Institution Archives has a huge collection on the history of US food, as well as a lot of menus from restaurants and advertisements. Here’s a link to get started: http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives/collections
Books from the Radcliffe library whose copyrights have expired may be part of the Google Digital Library project (scanned by Google) and thus available through Google Books. E.g., this book mentioned in the headnotes to a nineteenth century cake recipe recently posted on Food52: https://books.google.com/books?id=XX4EAAAAYAAJ&q=blueberries#v=onepage&q=blueberries&f=false
I included the internal search result page because only through doing an actual search on the initial link into Google Books did I get full text. You'll see that you can link through from the table of contents to the related text.
I scrolled up to the top to see whatever source information was available, and noticed the Radcliffe bookplate. You'll also see in the image on each page "Digitized by Google." FYI. (And finally, isn't this a fine example of how Google's mission to make all of the world's information useful and accessible benefits us everyone?) ;o)
The Library of Congress would also be another resource, although again, I don’t know how much has been digitized. See https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2015/11/lcm-serving-up-food-collections/
This is another brick and mortar store (therefore not for free) if you happen to be in NYC http://joannehendrickscookbooks.com/
My house :-) I have my Moom's old hippie cook books from the 70's (Commune Cooking! Groooovy) and also my mother in law's military wife cookbooks ... two ends of the spectrum for sure