50 Features of Special Collections: The Noling (A.W.) Hurty-Peck Library of Beverage Literature
The Noling, (A.W.) Hurty-Peck Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of beverage literature containing over 6,000 volumes. The collection was donated by the family of A.W. Noling, an Indiana businessman who built a successful beverage flavoring firm, the Hurty-Peck Company. The company was subsequently taken over by Universal Foods Corporation.
The collection presents itself as an industrial collection meant for study and use rather than collected for rarity and condition. Yet, many scarce items are to be found in the collection. The majority of the works date from the middle of the 19th century to mid- 20th century with a number dating back to the 17th century. The oldest work, the Latin book De Naturali Vinorum Historia, is dated 1596. Several other valuable works include: The Compleat Housewife: or accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion a popular cookbook from 1729; A Rational Discourse on the Inward Uses of Water from 1725; and the 1691 Vinetum Britannicum or a Treatise on Cider, and other Wines and Drinks Extracted from Fruits Growing in this Kingdom.
The Hurty-Peck Beverage Company, first in Indianapolis and then in Southern California, developed and sold flavors for the beverage industry, especially for colas. The company president A. W. Noling amassed a significant collection of books and pamphlets on beverages. The collection began in a very casual way around 1946. Books on soft drinks and soft drink flavors were first collected but then the collection expanded to other types of beverages. The need for more information on the source and processing of the materials required for beverage production became apparent as the search for soft drink literature (and that of the flavorings which went into them) developed. Serious efforts to collect beyond the soft drink field began in the 1950s when Noling relinquished his responsibilities as chief executive officer of the company and had time to devote to building a collection of beverage literature.
The collection began to expand to include books on brewing, fermenting, distilling and rectifying which in turn led to collecting books on beer and ale, wine, spirits, etc. and their manufacture. The search for literature also included beverages associated with food such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. Books on fruits and other foodstuffs that could be developed into a flavor, such as bananas, are also found in the collection. Evident are books that illustrate manufacturing equipment and techniques such as introducing carbonation into liquids and water purification.
Prior to today’s world of on-line searching a remarkable collection was built through extensive work. A printed bibliography Beverage Literature: A Bibliography (Metuchen, N.J., The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1971) was created by compiler A. W. Noling.
Noling had always wanted the collection to go into a research institution. Subject Specialist, Axel Borg, had been instrumental in the collection coming to UC Davis. He had first contacted the company to gain access to the collection for a wine bibliography with Maynard Amerine. In 1996 the collection was donated to Special Collections, Shields Library at the University of California, Davis, a particularly appropriate fit for our interest in food, wine, chocolate, tea, and other related interests in food and food science. John Skarstad of Special Collections, hand carried rare books back from Indianapolis for the first transport of books to the department. The collection is fully cataloged and may be found by searching Noling Collection of Beverage Literature.
Sources: Beverage Literature: A Bibliography compiled by A. W. Noling and “A Toast to Rare Books,” UC Davis Magazine Spring 1997.