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Good Taste in Books

Monday, January 27, marked the retirement of Barbara Haber, long-time curator of printed books in Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library. In Haber's honor, nearly 300 individuals—alumni/ae, researchers, librarians, friends of the Schlesinger, and food enthusiasts—gathered at Radcliffe's Agassiz Theatre for "Good Taste in Books: A Celebration of the Career of Barbara Haber."

The event featured a panel discussion, entitled "Capturing the History of Women in America in Printed Books," that was followed by Haber's keynote—in which she surveyed her career at Radcliffe from1968 through 2002, and discussed the parallel growth in women's studies in general and the Schlesinger Library in particular.

Haber's remarks also reflected her commitment to the Schlesinger's culinary collection. "I want to end," Haber said, "with a quote from Laurie Colwin, which leads off her collection, More Home Cooking: 'There are many cookbooks by my bedside, with all the little pages turned down. If somebody pressed me to the wall and asked me to justify myself, I would have to say that it is very true that there is nothing like a cookbook to explain to you how we used to live. If you want to know what real life used to be like, meaning domestic life, there isn't anywhere you can go that gives you a better idea than a cookbook.'

"And to those of you who are suffering from sadness or hangover, or are feeling blue or tired of life, if you're not going to read Persuasion, you may as well read Italian Food by Elizabeth David."

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 19, 2003.