Madeleine P. Cosman: 68, Medieval Expert, Dies

Historians in the News

Madeleine Pelner Cosman, a prominent writer, scholar and lecturer whose passion for what she called the "glorious order" of the past led her first to a career in medieval and Renaissance studies and more recently to wide public advocacy of tougher immigration laws, died on March 2 in Escondido, Calif. She was 68.

The cause was complications of scleroderma, a chronic disease of the connective tissue, her family said. Ms. Cosman, who moved to California in the late 1990's, was for decades a resident of Tenafly, N.J.

A longtime faculty member at the City College of New York, Ms. Cosman founded the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies there in 1968 and was its director for many years. The institute closed in 1993, when Ms. Cosman retired. In the 1970's and afterward, she helped organize the annual medieval festival at the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan and spoke frequently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and elsewhere about daily life in the Middle Ages.

The author of nearly a dozen books, Ms. Cosman was best known to popular audiences for "Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony" (George Braziller, 1976). An illustrated study of culinary practice in the Middle Ages, it also included recipes for dishes like roseye (fried fish in a rose-petal sauce), mulled wine and peppermint rice.

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