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Baptism: 30 JUN 1837 St. Mathews Bethnel Green Vol. 18;
Married: 22 OCT 1863 in Bucyrus, Kansas, USA;
Death: "Gastritis" while serving as Chef de Cuisine at the Monte Sano Hotel in Huntsville, Alabama.
In 1853, Jessup Whitehead arrived in New Orleans by ship and began cooking professionally for riverboats, railroads, and resort hotels of the day. During the Civil War, he fought for the Union in the 77th Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, Company A (enrolled as a private in Kansas City on Aug 9, 1862) and as a cook in the 10th Missouri Calvary, Company M, along with his brother Charles (enrolled as a corporal in St. Louis on Oct 6, 1862), who later served in the Kansas City Guards. In the 1870's, Whitehead was published regularly in a trade paper called "The Daily National Hotel Reporter" (Chicago), possibly with encouragement from Charles, who became a newspaper editor (Kansas, Missouri, California) after the war. During the 1880's, he self-published collections of his newspaper columns and sold them in bookstores in towns where he was working, as well as mail order COD. Whitehead also patented at least three kitchen gadgets. He died shortly after completing a master work, "The Steward's Handbook," which he described as the book that he wished had been available when he was starting out in the business. A person of some importance and a local favorite while cooking at the Sweetwater Park Hotel near Atlanta, his obituary was published the day after his death on the front page of the "Atlanta Constitution" under the headline "HE WAS A GREAT COOK." Whitehead left equal shares in his copyrights to his two young sons, as well as his editor in Chicago, who continued to sell his books under the imprint "Jessup Whitehead & Co." into the late 1920's.
Whitehead is his own best -- and perhaps only -- contemporary biographer. You can read most of his books FREE by going to the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/
), clicking on the search box, and entering "Jessup Whitehead" beside "All Media Types." Many thanks to the libraries at Harvard University and the University of California, who graciously allowed Google to make these rare out-of-copyright books available to everyone online.
Note: At least one source on the Internet (www.onread.com
) attributes authorship of "Westminster Cook Book - Every Recipe Tried And Proved" (Philadelphia: Hollowbush and Carey, 1876) to Whitehead, without saying why. It's an anonymous work, with the copyright held by the publisher. Whitehead always registered copyright in his own name when he started publishing books in the 1880's, with some of his copyright notices backdated to the 1870's. Interesting!
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