Bear Wallow Books was founded in 1978, by an historian who lived in the beautiful wooded hills of Brown County, in southern Indiana. She was teaching at Indiana University and researching early American history, when she realized that she saw recipes everywhere she looked.
She found recipes written on scraps of paper; some had been carried by immigrants crossing the sea, and others by pioneers leaving behind families and friends to settle a new country. Letters contained family recipes to be handed down to new generations. Recipes told much about the culture people came from, about their economic status and the foods available to them. Recipes provided unique insights into history.
The first book was created in response to a request from a family member. Indiana has many native persimmon trees, and the fruits are gathered in the fall, when the weather turns frosty and the persimmons are ripe. Brown County is overrun by tourists during “leaf-peeping” season, and persimmon pudding is on the menu in homes and restaurants alike. A request for recipes for the favorite fruit resulted in a collection being typed up and eventually put into a booklet. Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes became a Brown County best seller.
The rest, as they say, is history. When the historian retired, twenty years later, she had published 27 books, from Amish and Apple, to Woodstove and Zucchini. Her successors were carefully chosen. In 1998 Tom and Linda Wolfe purchased the business, and have since added 13 titles to the old-fashioned recipe series.