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MSS 119

Mary Ross Reynolds papers, 1912-1963.Add to your cart.

Table of Contents

Contact Infomation:

Special Collections

MSU  Libraries

366 W. Circle Drive

East Lansing, MI 48824



URL: http://specialcollections.lib.msu.edu

Date Received:


Date Processed:

September 2012

Acquisitions Information:

Donated by Mary Ross Reynolds.

Preferred Citation:

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information:  Box number, Folder number and/or title, Mary Ross Reynolds Papers, MSS 119, Special Collections, MSU Libraries, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Copyright Notice:

Copyright is retained by the author of the items in this archive, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Usage Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on the access of this collection.

Photoduplication Restrictions:

Contact Special Collections

Collection Summary:

The collection consists of correspondence, notes on cookbooks, collecting cookbooks, her biography, newspaper articles she wrote, and photographs. Within the newspaper clippings is the advertisement she answererd for her first editorial job in Springfield, Mass.

Historical Background:

Mary Ross was born in Pleasant Valley, Livingston County, Michigan. She attended Michigan Agricultural College graduating in 1903. She married Chauncey Preston Reynolds on New Year’s Eve 1902 at her parents’ farm. They moved to Chicago where Mr. Reynolds was the editor of the Prairie Farmer and later the Drover’s Journal. Their daughter, Rosemary Ross Reynolds, was born in 1906. In 1910 while making plans to build a house in a northern suburb, Mrs. Reynolds was pregnant with her second child. Mr. Reynolds contracted typhoid fever and in November died a week after his son was born.

Mrs. Reynolds, now a widow with an infant and child, moved back in with her parents but after being there for nine months felt she needed to have her own household. Given the times were such that young widows did not do so if their families were able to support them, she met with a lot of resistance.

With the support of her brother she moved back to Chicago and rented a large apartment and took in boarders. It was a difficult way to earn a living. She did not wish to impose on old friends. To her surprise, an old farm editor friend of her husband’s, Clarence A. Shamel, told her of an opening for a Home Editor of five weekly farm magazines in Springfield, Mass. Always before the editors had been men but the publisher, Herbert Myrick, decided to take a chance on a woman.

In 1912, Mrs. Reynolds with two small children arrived in Springfield. The magazines she contributed to were: American Agriculturist, The Dadata Farmer, Farm’s Home, New England Homestead, Northwest Farmstead, and Orange-Judd Farmer. It was during this time that her son, Douglas at the age of six was killed in an auto accident.

An unexpected invitation came in 1918 from the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. to join the staff there. Between the pull of the war effort and the salary, Mrs. Reynolds and daughter, Rosemary, packed up and spent from 1918 – 1921 in D.C. Mr. Myrick offered her the position of Household Editor at Phelps Publishing Company so she packed her daughter and belongs and returned to Springfield, Mass.


Mrs. Reynolds soon came to the attention of the editors of the Farm Journal, published out of Philadelphia, Pa. She moved to Philadelphia where she remained till her death. She worked for the Farm Journal as the Household Editor from 1928 – 1949. Because the offices were located on Washington Square, she had access to many second hand bookstores which she spent hours combing through the cook books. As collecting cookbooks was not popular at that time, she was able to acquire many wonderful books at reasonable prices.

Soon after she started collecting, she decided that the collection should be a gift to Michigan State University. Mary Ross Reynolds was always proud of having attended “M.A.C.” and was very pleased to be presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award at the Commencement Exercises in 1947.

A series of small strokes began to incapacitate her and she became more and more homebound. Finally a bout of shingles necessitated a move to a nursing home where she died on January 6, 1963.

Processing Note:

Processed by Leslie M. Behm, October 2012.










Altantic Monthly


Dr. Chapin


Magazine Antiques


Magazine Wallstreet


MAC, School of Economics, Dean


Orange Judd Company


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary


Notebook – Notes from Cookbooks


Notebook Pages – Care of Old Books, Notes on Cookbook Collections


Reynolds, Mary Ross. Analysis of Bitting Cookery Book Collection


Reynolds, Mary Ross. Cookery Book Collecting


Newspaper Clippings



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