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Katherine E. Golden Bitting papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 16, Placement: 01
Identifier: MSF 39

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of articles written by Katherine Golden Bitting from the 1890s to the 1900s. Also included are articles and correspondence about Katherine Bitting which appeared in the Phoenix Flame, as well as material compiled by Librarian Emeritus William Hepburn on Katherine Bitting, including a bibliography of Katherine’s publications, bibliographic notecards, and a summary of Katherine’s career.


  • 1890 - 1960
  • Majority of material found within 1890 - 1909


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Katherine Golden was born in 1869 in Stratford, Ontario in Canada, but spent much of her formative years in Massachusetts. In Masachusetts, she graduated from the Salem Normal School (now Salem State University) in 1886.

Bitting enrolled at Purdue University shortly after, and earned a Bachelor of Science in biology (1890), a Master's (1892), and a PhD (1895). While finishing her master's, she worked as an assistant botanist with Purdue's Agricultural Experiment Station, and was hired as an instructor in 1893. Bitting was eventually promoted to Assistant Professor of Biology in 1901, a position she kept until 1904.

Katherine married Arvill Wayne Bitting, a professor of veterinary science with an interest in cookery and foods, and they went on to take jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bitting remained with the USDA from 1907-1913. Katherine, a microanalyst in the chemistry division, gained expertise on food preservation and related topics, authoring nearly fifty pamphlets in that subject area. Bitting also worked for the National Canners Association (1913-1918), and as a bacterioligist for the Glass Container Association (1919-1923). Her 4,346 volume collection of gastronomic literature from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries now resides at the Library of Congress' Rare Books and Special Collections Division.

The Bittings frequently worked collaboratively and were well known for their experiments with ketchup. Their experiments sought to create a recipe for tomato ketchup that was preservative free and yet resistant to spoilage. Through many trials they discovered that the addition of sugar and vinegar would make the product more resistant to spoilage; this discovery would later permeate to other food preservation recipes and recommendations. Bitting's research contributed greatly to the knowledge and practice of safe food preservation. Katherine Golden Bitting died in 1937.


0.125 Cubic Feet (Five folders)


Collection materials are divided by type and placed in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Biographic and bibliographic material donated by William Hepburn, September 6, 1945. Source and date of remaining material are unknown.

Processing Information

Material has been housed in acid-free folders and box.

2023-03-20: Material was rehoused from legal to letter-size folders and box. Folder titles and dates were updated to better reflect their contents, and material was rearranged to be chronological.
Katherine E. Golden Bitting papers
Amanda Rumba, Mary A. Sego, Katey Watson, and William Niner
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Fourth edition. Collection description first completed 2011-01-06 by Mary Sego.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-07: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to more fully meet standards.
  • 2020-05-19: Additional subjects and related materials were added; extent was updated and dates and identifiers in files were cleaned up to align with standards.
  • 2023-03-20: Collection rearranged, file titles and dates updated, and descriptions updated by William Niner.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States