The Palatists Book Of Cookery
From the Assistance League of Southern California
Los Angeles, 1933
Founded in Los Angeles, the Assistance League is now a national nonprofit with over 120 chapters across the United States. The group’s Los Angeles co-founder were Anne Banning and Ada Edwards Laughlin. As the Assistance League website explains:
“[Both founders] married into influential, well-to-do families. Anne’s father-in-law, Phineas, is the “Father of the Port of Los Angeles.” Her husband, Hancock, was instrumental in the development of Catalina Island. Ada, a Stanford graduate, teacher and proponent of women’s basketball, married Homer Laughlin Jr., whose family is known for creating the iconic Fiesta Dinnerware that is still popular today.
In 1919, Anne, Ada and their charity-minded friends formalized Assistance League of Southern California, as a precursor to the national organization. They began by providing food and clothing for local families severely impacted by the war. A few years later, they greatly expanded their efforts with a neighborhood Community House that offered programs and services, which were emulated by public and private agencies.”
This Archive holds several Assistance League cookbook, for both the Southern California chapter, as well as Long Beach and Arcadia. In addition, several other books in the Archive connect back to the organization. During World War I, Ann Banning organized Los Angeles’ first Red Cross chapter, which has a cookbook in this Archive. The Port Of Los Angeles, founded by Banning’s father-in-law is represented in the Archive as well.
In the 1960s, the group moved into a new Community House designed by LA Architect Paul R. Williams, located at 1370 North St. Andrews place. William’s chicken recipe (which I have cooked) features in Bess Gant’s cookbook, which is also part of the CCA. The building Williams designed for the Assistance League still stands, but has been significantly changed and now houses the coworking club Second Home.
Ann Banning having tea with Assistance League board member Mary Pickford (courtesy of the LAPL Photo Collection). Mary Pickford has recipes in several books in this Archive.
Assistance League Community House exterior (via The Paul R. Williams Archive)