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Less than a century ago old-fashioned boardinghouses covered the towns and cities where Americans came together for eating and sleeping. Although most boardinghouses might be gone today, memories are firm.

Elizabeth Engelhardt, Kenan Eminent Professor of Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has collected hundreds of them for her new book, “Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America,” to be published by UNC press in November.

In this book, Engelhardt has assembled scores of examples where ambitious or desperate women struggled to make their boardinghouse business successful and shows how the boardinghouse experiences of women had an impact on the typical foods that we today call southern.