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Make Wells recipe collection sweets for your sweetheart

If the way to your loved one’s heart is through their stomach, the Herman B Wells recipe collection at Indiana University Archives provides a wealth of inspiration.

Among the many things the former IU president and chancellor was known for was his love of entertaining guests with a delicious meal. Food is a common theme woven through some of the papers that detail his activities as IU president.

“He is just known for having been an appreciator of food,” said Carrie Schwier, outreach and public services archivist at IU Archives. “I think that’s evidenced in the fact that in his social calendars, someone was directed to document everything that was served.”

A recipe for gingersnaps


Many of the dishes that were served at those events are included in the Wells recipe collection, which features handwritten recipes cards, as well as newspaper and magazine clippings. Desserts were an obvious favorite of Wells, evidenced by those recipes making up the bulk of the collection.

If you want to shower your Valentine with something sweet, try making the gingersnaps or fool-proof fudge recipes from the Wells collection. You can also stop by the Scholars’ Commons Circulation desk at Wells Library the week of Feb. 14 to pick up a reproduced orange pudding recipe card from the collection.

Fool-proof fudge handwritten recipe


Fool-proof fudge (pictured above)


  • 4.5 cups sugar
  • 1 large can evaporated milk
  • 8 oz. mini marshmallows
  • 18 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups broken nut meats
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and evaporated milk. Bring slowly to a rolling boil and boil for no longer than 8 minutes. Remove from heat. 

  2. Add mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and butter. Stir until melted. Add nut meats and vanilla. 

  3. Spread fudge on a large, ungreased pan. When cool, cut into squares.