Monday, March 25, 2013

Coffee through the ages

You almost certainly know people who drink coffee every day. You might even be one of those people.

Has coffee always been a staple in American households?

Daily Life through History is an academic source that displays a cross-section of everyday life over time and around the globe. This database, provided by ABC-CLIO, offers images, recipes, stories, and discussions that help students go beyond mere facts and statistics.

Use the Advanced Search feature to search for articles about coffee. Choose from a menu of categories, eras, regions, and subjects.

Here are some examples from a recent search for information about coffee in Europe and North America.
  • 17th Century Western Europe: Coffeehouses “emerged in the major cities of Western Europe after 1650 as venues for the consumption of the newly introduced beverages coffee, tea, and chocolate.”
  • 17th Century America: Before Pennsylvania built a public building for its legislature, the governing Assembly met in private homes, inns, or coffeehouses.
  • 19th Century: Cowboys and Civil War soldiers drank coffee every day.
  • 20th Century: During the Great Depression, real coffee was scarce. Some American families brewed a mixture of wheat bran, cornmeal, eggs, and molasses as a substitute for coffee.
Coffee being served to a "soup" line. From the Library of Congress.
 Pre-WWI bread line. Library of CongressLOC collection via Flickr.
To get to Daily Life through History, follow this path:

1. Go to the Richland library webpage at
2. Look for the green tabs in the middle of the home page and click on “Databases."
3. Click on the “D” on the A-Z list.
4. Scroll down and click on the "Daily Life through History” link.

  • Articles are typically short and easy to read.
  • The authors provide suggestions for further reading.
  • The citation in MLA format is posted at the end of each article.
  • This database is not useful for students who need current information. The most recent pieces on President Barack Obama, for example, are from 2011.
Here is a link to the search results for "coffee."  Students, instructors, and staff with current DCCCD I.D. can log on with their I.D. information.

~From Richland Librarian Terri C. 

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