The Sterns are authors who compiled a popular series of books called Roadfood, in which they provide recommendations of restaurants, truck stops, diners, delis, bakeries and other food-related establishments in each U.S. state serving classic American regional specialties. They are also authors of books about other American material culture subjects including truckers, cowboys, kitsch, and dog shows. They are frequent guests on public radio, and are regular contributors to magazine columns.
The collection primarily consists of the raw materials amassed by Jane and Michael Stern as they traveled the United States, researching for their books on American material culture subjects, with particular emphasis on food and dining. These materials include writings, jottings and notes from their various stops while traveling; photographs and slides of places they visited; vintage postcards collected in their travels; paper ephemera such as take-out menus, placemats, etc.; large quantities of trade literature such as product cookbooks (some dating back to the 1920s), food packaging and brochures on food-related subjects, under headings such as "Meat, Fish, Game", "Parties, Etiquette, How-To", "Baking" and numerous others; trade literature on other material culture subjects the Sterns wrote books about with headings which include "Rodeo", "Cowboys", "Indians" and many others; correspondence; business records, articles and clippings.
Jane and Michael Stern Collection, ca. 1920-2015, Archives Center, National Museum of American History