This article examines the history and movements of one collection of recipes in three “acts” or iterations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell's A New System of Domestic Cookery is published in London in 1806, and almost immediately, the book is pirated and printed in the United States. More than 100 years later, the same collection of recipes is reprinted by S. Thomas Bivins under the title The Southern Cookbook. The authors discuss the implications of the text's movements through the lens of book history and copyright law. Rundell sues her publisher, John Murray, for the right to control the publication of her recipes. Meanwhile, in the U.S., her book is continuously in print for decades, but Rundell receives no remuneration for it. Bivins, an African American merchant and principal of a training institute for black domestic workers, takes the recipes attributed to Rundell from the public domain for The Southern Cookbook. The authors conclude that this cookbook in three acts demonstrates how a history of the cookbook in general can challenge received understandings of authorship and textual ownership.

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