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Janice Longone, chronicler of US culinary history, dies

Ms. Longone was the curator of American Culinary History.Alan Warren/Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Janice Bluestein Longone, who is credited with collecting thousands of items chronicling the culinary history of the United States, including cookbooks, menus, advertisements, and diaries, died Wednesday in Ann Arbor. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by Nie Family Funeral Home in Ann Arbor, which did not provide a cause or location.

Ms. Longone’s collection formed the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where her husband, Daniel T. Longone, was a chemistry professor.

Ms. Longone said that she believed the collection showed how American agriculture and culinary practices defined regional customs and traditions. Her collection included immigrant cookbooks and those from the 1800s and early 1900s called “charity cookbooks” that were sold as fund-raisers.

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“Our hope is we have gathered materials that offer researchers access into a new way of looking at American history,” she said in a 2010 University of Michigan article. “That could be the rethinking of the role of women, who were publishing more than 150 years ago charity cookbooks, which often reflected the pressing issues of the day, or simply, the impact of refrigeration on American tastes and lifestyles.”

The collection included early US cookbooks, such as one printed in 1796, one published by a Black woman in 1866, and a Jewish cookbook published in America in 1871, according to the university.

Ms. Longone’s activities as a culinary historian included being a founding member of the American Institute of Wine and Food, an author of entries for “The Oxford Companion to Food,” and hosting the National Public Radio show “Adventures in Gastronomy” in the 1970s.