Throughout their life together, Alan Cameros and his wife Nancy spent a great deal of their time traveling. Wherever they visited, they made a point of sampling the local cuisine. Mrs. Cameros bought local cookbooks as a way of remembering the places they visited together, the way others might collect postcards or trinkets. Well-known for her hospitality, she used the cookbooks frequently at home, often adapting recipes and modifying them to make them her own. Alan Cameros and his wife always felt a strong bond with nearby Cornell University, from which he graduated in 1957, and they decided to donate the vast collection to the school, together with a gift to fund the processing of the collection. Mrs. Cameros passed away shortly after the books were transported to the school.
The collection of 300 cookbooks in numerous languages now resides at the Nestle Library at the university’s School of Hotel Administration. Because the school’s academic focus has shifted more toward management, it is not purchasing many new cookbooks, and the Cameros collection is a welcome addition. When they were first donated, the cookbooks were placed in a special presentation, although students were able to check them out. They are now integrated into the library’s 4,000-volume collection, and each has a special bookplate identifying it as part of Mrs. Cameros’ donation.