After graduating in 1889, Fannie requested a chance to return as the school’s assistant to the director the following year. She achieved the position of director in 1891 of the presiding director passed away.
In 1902 Fannie resigned from her position as Boston Cooking School’s director in order to open her own cooking school known as Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. Fannies was a shy person and avoided publicity as much as possible. It is said that she never subscribed to press releases or clipping services. Despite her shyness, Fannie quickly became well known in cooking circles.
She was credited with editing the Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1896 which ran 21 editions before her death in 1915. She also published; Chafing Dish Possibilities (1898), What to Have for Dinner (1905), Catering for Special Occasions with Menus and Recipes (1911), and A New Book of Cookery (1912).
At the Boston Cooking School the courses were deigned to train teachers whereas Fannie’s school was geared toward housewives. Her main interests were in practical applications not theory. Her school taught classes for invalid cookery and supplied lectures to nursing classes regarding the subject. One year Fannie was invited to Harvard Medical School to give a lecture on invalid cookery. Her lectures were in high demand and were usually given to packed venues. Fannie was also assisted by her sister in the 10 year publication of a cookery page in the Woman’s Home Companion.
Some years prior to her death Fannie suffered another stroke which regulated her to a wheelchair which did not slow down her desire to continue lecturing. She issued her last lecture 10 days before her death. It is said that her most proud achievement was the introduction of accurate measurements into cooking. Other culinary experts dubbed her “the mother of level measurements.”
There have been reports that Fannie’s first cookbook was declined by publishers because it lacked home remedies and cures along with almanac information as was traditional in cookbooks of the time. Fannie’s cookbook was deemed “too basic.” Not being deterred, Fannie paid to publish and print the book on her own; it was called The Boston Cooking School Cook Book.
Between 1915 and1920 the copyright for all editions of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book belonged to Fannie’s sister, Mary W. Farmer. Her other sister, Cora D. Perkins, held the copyrights between 1923 and 1929. Extended edition copyrights remained with Cora between 1930 and 1942. The copyrights moved to Wilma Lord Perkins, Dexter Perkin’s wife, between 1942 and 1951. Between 1959 and 1965 the copyright owned was shown as Dexter Perkins Corp. Finally, in 1979 the copyright was changed to Fannie Farmer Cookbook Corp, publishing the first edition under this copyright on September 19, 1979 and publishing its fourteenth edition in March of 1986.
In 1951 Wilma Perkins changed the cookbook’s name to The New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book. In 1957 Bantam Publishing issued a softcover version by the same name. When the copyright changed hands to Dexter Perkins Corp the title was changed to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Aside from the first edition published by Fannie herself and the subsequent edition before her death, it could be said that the edition released under her sisters Mary and Cora maintain the highest collectible value compared to later editions.
Fannie was known for many firsts in her lifetime. When she chose to publish and print her own cookbook it was unheard of and added to her lists of firsts, the distinction of being the first self publisher of a cookbook. Fannie Farmer is, by far, one of cooking history greatest notes.