Monday, June 07, 2010

Ms. Prune Whip Takes a Field Trip: Four days of cookbooks from Jane Addams Book Shop in Champaign, Illinois

Note from Molly: Ms. Prune Whip contacted me several weeks ago to say she’d be in town for a photo shoot and she wondered if I’d like to get together. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t? It wasn’t until she arrived that I realized by “get together” she meant she was staying at my house for four or five days, and that by “photo shoot” she meant I’d be taking the pictures because she doesn’t own, much less know how to use “one of those newfangled digity-doo-hickies.” Well, she is Ms. Prune Whip, so one makes allowances.

The photo shoot turned out to be a field trip any vintage cookbook-lover would love. We went to Jane Addams Book Shop in downtown Champaign, Illinois, to explore the shop’s used cookbooks – an entire room, floor to ceiling, of cookbooks. In all, the shop has more than 70,000 titles in fifteen separate rooms on three floors. The bay window you’ll see in the photo of the shop’s exterior is part of the mystery book room – another room to die for.

For the next four days, while Amy is away, you can read Ms. Prune Whip’s field notes and see Jane Addams cookbook room for yourself in the accompanying photographs.

Expedition, Day 1: Arrived at Jane Addams Bookshop, 208 N. Neil Street in Champaign. Saluted clerk at sales counter, hiked to rear of building, up short flight of stairs, through mezzanine, up another flight to second floor. Entered cookbook room shortly after 10:30 a.m. Immediately fell in love. Directed photographer to shoot everything in sight.

Tomorrow – Expedition, Day 2: More pictures from Jane Addams, plus sighting and capture of the endangered Golden Fluffo.

Thanks to Don and Susan Elmore, owners of Jane Addams, for allowing me to photograph and post pictures from their shop. You can find Jane Addams on the web at, or in person at 208 N. Neil St., Champaign, IL 61820. You can follow Jane Addams on Facebook: Jane Addams Bookshop or Twitter: @janeaddamsbooks. Phone is 217-356-2555. Email is

(Three photos attached:
Exterior of Jane Addams Book Shop
West Wall of cookbooks in Jane Addams
Jinx & Judy at Jane Addams)

1 comment:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hello, Ms. Prune Whip,

I'm right there with you. Still using my old 35 mm. camera. Haven't yet come into the digital age, which means I don't have pictures either. Lucky for you that you've got friends who help out. Enjoy your field trip and hope you find many interesting cookbooks.