Hillary Nunn

Professor, Department of English, University of Akron

2020 to 2021
Research Fellow

Domestic Medicine on the Move: Household Mobility and Early Modern Recipe Collections

Manuscript recipe collections illuminate domestic medicine as practiced in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century households, influencing scholarly conversations regarding scientific exploration and trade in medical ingredients. How the increasing mobility of English households themselves affected these manuscripts, however, has remained explored. This project examines how recipe manuscripts brought from England were adapted for use in the American colonies. Because ingredients native to the Americas appeared in English apothecary shops in the seventeenth century, many recipe manuscripts reflected colonial influence before ever voyaging abroad. Once in the colonies, these already-hybridized manuscripts served dual functions: reminding practitioners of treatments used on English bodies on the native soil considered most conducive to their heath, and providing practitioners with models for integrating ingredients derived from new lands. Just as English bodies were thought to undergo changes in colonial climates, these recipe manuscripts transformed in their new environments, adapting established knowledge to new diseases and new surroundings.