Lynne Olver
Born(1958-03-10)March 10, 1958[1]
DiedApril 14, 2015(2015-04-14) (aged 57)[1]
Known forThe Food Timeline website
Academic background
Alma materUniversity at Albany, SUNY
Academic work
DisciplineCulinary history

Lynne Olver (1958–2015) was a librarian and food historian, and the sole author of the Food Timeline website.[2]

Personal life

Olver graduated from the University of Albany (SUNY). She was a librarian at the Morris County Library, New Jersey, and became its director in 2009.[1]

The Food Timeline

In 1999, Olver created The Food Timeline, a history website documenting culinary history, food history and recipes.[3][4] The website has since become a major information source for culinary history. Almost all of the website's information comes from Olver's personal library of over 2,000 books.[5] Unlike many other food related websites, Olver gave citations to almost every statement on her site so that readers can verify her claims. Her research has been cited in peer-reviewed journals.[6][7][8]

Following her death, the site was given to her family, who chose to remove social media accounts associated with the Food Timeline, but kept the website running in a state of dormancy. As such, the website is no longer maintained. The site's domain supposedly expires in 2025.[5]

In 2020, it was reported that the Olver family was searching for a person or persons to maintain and possibly grow the website.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

Virginia Tech

On November 11, 2020, the Olver family announced on the Food Timeline's Twitter account that they selected the Virginia Tech's Food Studies Program to be the new curators for Olver's website after reviewing over 80 other applicants.[15] The Food Studies Program thanked Eater writer Dayna Evans for bringing the Virginia Tech unit in contact with the Olver family.[16] The Food Studies Program is headed by history professor Anna Zeide.[17] In December 2020, Virginia Tech acquired the "website and accompanying physical library" and planned to "carry on Olver's legacy and create space for new research and student internship opportunities".[18]

Audio interviews

Audio biography


  1. ^ a b c "Lynne Olver Obituary - Randolph, NJ | The Daily Record". April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  2. ^ "Food Timeline: food history & historic recipes". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Zuraw, Lydia (May 26, 2013). "Picnicking Through The Ages". WBUR. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Luthern, Ashley (June 23, 2009). "What's in Your Lunch Box? Part 2 -- Prohibition and the Great Depression". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Ketchum, Alex (August 27, 2018). "Digital Dark Ages, Documenting Food Histories, and Honoring Lynne Olver". The Historical Cooking Project. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Stein, Karen (February 1, 2015). "What We Ate: Repasts of the Academy's Past". Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 115 (2): 286–302. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.11.019. PMID 25636222.
  7. ^ Stein, Karen (October 1, 2014). "History Snapshot: Dietetics Student Experience in the 1940s". Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 114 (10): 1648–1662. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.08.001. PMID 25257369.
  8. ^ Grimes, John (April 21, 2010). "Rediscovering the Cacao in Ecuador's Upper Napo River Valley". Focus on Geography. 51 (4): 23–30. doi:10.1111/j.1949-8535.2009.tb00237.x.
  9. ^ Evans, Dayna (July 8, 2020). "Who Will Save the Food Timeline?". Eater.
  10. ^ Levitt, Aimee (July 9, 2020). "Wanted: someone to save the Food Timeline". The Takeout.
  11. ^ Fater, Luke (July 15, 2020). "The Internet's Greatest Archive of Food History Needs a New Curator: A New Jersey reference librarian's magnum opus could really use your help". Atlas Obscura.
  12. ^ Bugos, Claire (July 17, 2020). "You Could Help Curate This Ambitious Timeline of Food History: The family of Lynne Olver, the librarian who launched the online portal in 1999, needs help keeping her legacy alive". Smithsonian Magazine.
  13. ^ Debczak, Michele (July 20, 2020). "Food Timeline: You Could Be in Charge of the Web's Most Ambitious Food History Site". Mental Floss.
  14. ^ "[META] Who will save the food timeline? : AskFoodHistorians". Reddit. July 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Food Timeline [@foodtimeline] (November 11, 2020). "Thanks to over 80 people who offered to be Foodtimeline's next editor(s). It had started as the history of the Plymouth Thanksgiving meal, so it's fitting this month to say: Virginia Tech and their multidisciplinary food program are FT's new curators" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Food Studies at Virginia Tech [@VTFoodStudies] (November 11, 2020). "We are so thrilled to help make a new home for the beloved @foodtimeline, an absolutely invaluable culinary history resource. Thanks to @Eater and @DaynaEvans_ for helping bring us together!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Adkins, Andrew (November 16, 2020). "Introducing the flavor of community and the humanities to food studies". Virginia Tech.
  18. ^ "Food Studies Program Projects". Virginia Tech. Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2020.