The cookbook collection, housed at the Carnegie Library, consists of over 3,000 items and continues to grow. Many of the new purchases are via two restricted funds: the Alex G. Nason wellness fund and the Marion Francis Samuel Glaser fund (designated for Home Economics). The collection supports numerous academic programs at the university, but is also available to all SU faculty, staff and students for their personal use and enjoyment.
In addition to hundreds of standard cookbooks, it also includes cookbooks focusing on international cuisines, specific populations and diets, including vegetarianism, weight loss, and the sick (diabetes, cancer, etc.).
Over the years, Syracuse University Library has benefited from many significant donations in the areas of Health and Wellness, including some large and unique collections of cookbooks.
In the mid 1980s, the cookbook collection was greatly enriched by a generous donation of several hundred cookbooks from Anna Fisher Rush, a 1943 SU graduate. Ms. Rush was the food editor of McCall's Magazine in the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1993 another interesting collection of mostly ethnic cookbooks was donated to the library by the Small Press Center in New York City.
The largest single contribution to the library to date is the collection of Kay Shaw Nelson, a 1948 SU graduate. Mrs. Nelson is the author of numerous cookbooks and articles, as well as a newspaper columnist and culinary historian. She spent many years abroad working as an intelligence officer for the CIA and amassed a large collection of unique cookbooks and menus from countries in which she lived and worked. The menu collection and the more rare materials are housed at the Special Collections Research Center, but the rest is readily available for general use. There are over 1000 volumes in this collection.
In 2011, the library was fortunate to be the recipent of a cookbook collection donation from Joan Green, who resides in Cazenovia. The collection is approxmately 900 volumes. Many of these cookbooks focus on Chinese and Italian cooking.
In 2012, a gift of more than 100 cookbooks was received from Ms. C. Jeanette LaClair. Ms. LaClair graduated from SU, earning a BS in Home Economics and a MS in Education.
Also in 2012, the library added over 400 cookbooks from the collection of Lee Conant.