The Ada Taylor Culinary Collection

 

The Ada Taylor Culinary Collection was dedicated on March 4, 2022 in a ceremony that included a cooking demonstration by renowned chefs, Spring Council and Nancie McDermott. The recorded demonstration and recipes are available for your enjoyment.

Ada Jane Elizabeth Taylor was connected to Campbell and its founders for most of her life, finding her way to the Buies Creek community at an early age and becoming a stalwart here for more than four decades.

Ada Taylor was born on March 2, 1894, in Loris, South Carolina. The oldest of 13 children, she learned to take on adult duties early, learning to cook standing on a stool next to her mother at the stove. After coming to Buies Creek, Mrs.Taylor worked in the home of Leslie Campbell, our second president, for about 20 years. She then joined the staff of the college dining hall and worked there for more than two decades, becoming head cook and kitchen supervisor.

The kitchen at Marshbanks Cafeteria was later named in her honor. Campbell students, many of whom worked in the cafeteria, knew Ada Taylor because she was ever present at mealtimes. Ada’s second husband, Fisher, known locally as ”Fish,” was also on the staff at Campbell, as were her son Jersey and his wife Gracie.

When the home of Dr. Norman and Mildred Wiggins, Campbell’s third president and his wife, was being closed just a few years ago, some shelves of cookbooks were discovered, including one with recipes contributed by Campbell staff and faculty. It was clear that these cookbooks had been well used, with markers inserted at some of Mrs. Wiggins’ favorite recipes. Agreement was quickly reached that the books would go to Wiggins Library and become the core of a new Ada Taylor Culinary Collection in memory of this legendary Campbell personality, who died in the late 1960s.

The collection of several hundred volumes is focused on regional cookbooks, including many spiral-bound publications, now very collectable, as well as significant works by American writers on selected culinary topics. Special thanks go to Mrs. Wiggins’ nephew, Clyde Ennis, a Campbell graduate and executor of her estate, for making her books available for this collection. Additional titles were donated by Lifetime Friend of the Library and culinary enthusiast, Carroll Leggett, Class of 1963.

Since the construction of the Oscar Harris Student Union, Marshbanks Cafeteria has been idle, awaiting a new role. The Ada Taylor Kitchen is no longer the beehive of activity it was when Mrs. Taylor was in charge there. It is entirely appropriate, and an honor, to now establish the Ada Taylor Culinary Collection at Wiggins Library. We do this to keep alive her legacy and pay tribute to her long and tireless association with Campbell College, which we now proudly call Campbell University.