Mary and Alice Puffer papers  1830-1940
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Puffer papers consist of items relating to the family history and tea room operated by the Puffer sisters in Nobleboro, Maine; much of the material is undated.

The most significant item in this collection is a typescript manuscript in two parts, "Recollections and Recipes," written by Mary Sophia Puffer, and "Nobleboro Community Kitchen", written by her sister, Alice. In addition, there are seven unique copies of Community Kitchen menus and several seemingly unrelated land deeds.

The first part of the typescript is aptly described by the author: "Around the seasons and through the years with a suburban Boston family, from Massachusetts to Maine and New Jersey, with happy memories and good eating made possible by old Yankee recipes handed down from generation to generation, culminating in the successful operation of a popular tea-room." This account of family travels and customs is interspersed with over sixty recipes. A tremendous appreciation for food fuels this reminiscence, which seems to have been written much later in life.

Alice Puffer goes on to describe the "birth and death of a tea room in the pre-war days of plenty" and provides some more recipes, including ones for lemon meringue pie, "the best seller and reputation maker... no ordinary haphazard confection," and the original recipe for Parker House rolls. The roll recipe was obtained by the Puffer's father directly from the chef at the Parker House, but the sisters found ways to improve it.

Two Community Kitchen menus are for afternoon tea and have watercolor paintings on the front. There are also five black menu cards painted by a "gifted art student" and four handwritten menus to accompany them. Lobsters are naturally featured ("We boil our own lobsters and Maine deep-sea lobsters have a flavor all their own"), as well as berry pies, "lemon pie, with a wonderful meringue", "rich creamy milk from a herd of registered cows" and "community pickles."

The six deeds are all for properties in the Nobleboro area and date from 1830 to 1912. They seem to be unrelated to the Community Kitchen materials, even though one deed, dated 1911, is from Robert W. and wife Blanche Puffer to O. C. Nutting. There is also a sketch of property lines done by Frank Bulfinch for Charles M. Hall in 1907.

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