Irma Starkloff Rombauer (October 30, 1877 – October 14, 1962) was an American cookbook author, best known for The Joy of Cooking (1931), one of the world's most widely read cookbooks. Following Irma Rombauer's death, periodic revisions of the book were carried out by her daughter, Marion Rombauer Becker, and subsequently by Marion's son Ethan Becker. The Joy of Cooking remains in print, edited by members of the Rombauer–Becker family, and more than 18 million copies have been sold.
Irma Starkloff was born on October 30, 1877, in St. Louis, Missouri, the younger of two daughters born to Max von Starkloff, a German-born physician, and his second wife, Emma Kuhlmann von Starkloff, a teacher who also hailed from Germany.[A] Irma's father was active in civic and political affairs; between 1889 and 1894 he served as the United States Consul in Bremen, and during his tenure Irma received some informal education there and in Lausanne, Switzerland. 26-26 Upon returning to the United States, she took classes in fine arts at Washington University in St. Louis in 1897. She frequently traveled to visit relatives in Indianapolis, where she met and was briefly courted by the young Booth Tarkington. The family opposed the match, however, and in 1899 Irma married Edgar Rombauer, a lawyer whose father was a St. Louis judge who had clerked for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan. The couple's first child, Roland, was born in 1900 but died before his first birthday. The two children who followed lived to adulthood: Marion was born in 1903, and Edgar Jr. (known as "Put") was born in 1907...
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