From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Peyton, Atholene Mary

(born: 1880  -  died: 1951) 

The following information was submitted by Dr. John van Willigen, retired Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. The early 20th Century produced the earliest Kentucky cookbook written by an African American. The author, Miss Atholene Peyton, had deep roots in Louisville, KY, where her Peytonia Cook Book was published in 1906. Her work has attributes consistent with the domestic science movement, which influenced many aspects of the food-related occupations of the pre-World War I era.

Most recipes in the Peytonia Cook Book are presented in the format that was introduced by the famous Boston Cooking School cook books. As is typical of domestic science oriented cook books, the recipes are described as thoroughly tested and presented with standard, precise measures. And like other cook books with this orientation, the Peytonia Cook Book had didactic purposes. Peyton includes a teacher’s discussion of waitress service oriented toward employment in upper-class homes or elegant restaurants. It is the work of a culinary expert, not a housewife. She includes some branded products in some recipes including Quaker Oats, Vissman’s bacon and sausage, White Seal ginger ale, Cox’s gelatin, Burnett’s flavoring extracts, and Baker’s Chocolate. In a few cases Miss Peyton expresses advice about the nutritive qualities of some ingredients.

The Cookbook itself includes a very warm introduction by Miss Nannie H. Burroughs, Corresponding Secretary  of the Woman’s Convention auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention.

Atholene Peyton, born in Louisville, was an 1898 graduate of Louisville’s segregated Central High School, where she later became domestic science teacher and advisor to the Girl’s Cooking Club. She also taught domestic science at the Neighborhood Home and Training School for Colored Boys and Girls in Louisville and the summer session of the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D. C. Miss Peyton was listed in the U.S. Census as a teacher, and her father, William T. Peyton, was listed as a physician.

*Additional information: Atholene Peyton never married; her mother was Mary Pope Clark Peyton [source: Death Certificate, Register's No. 2065, Atholene Peyton].

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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Peytonia cook book
NKAA Entry: Burroughs, Nannie H.
NKAA Entry: Louisville Central High School/Central High School Magnet Career Academy

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“Peyton, Atholene Mary,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-12 20:53:10