Schlesinger Library / Collections

Elizabeth David and Avis DeVoto

Elizabeth David was a renowned British food writer and the author of Italian Food. Avis DeVoto was an American culinary editor and a Radcliffe College staff member.

Elizabeth David sitting at the table in her kitchen
Elizabeth David in her kitchen, 1956-1957. Elizabeth David Papers.

The close relationship between food writer and editor and the effort involved in altering a work for a different audience are exemplified in this copy of the British edition of Elizabeth David’s Italian Food, originally published in England by MacDonald in 1954. DeVoto used this copy to prepare the American Knopf edition, published in 1958, which incorporated extensive changes in measurements, language, and style. DeVoto and David both marked up this copy extensively, and David attached slips of paper with new wording and even new recipes.

DeVoto shepherded Julia Child’s work to publication and was instrumental in steering Child’s papers to the Schlesinger Library.


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