Conference & Fair EPHEMERA/17  March 14-16, 1997

Schedule of Speakers and Presentations

Friday, March 14 10 a.m.-Noon

Reading Other People's Mail
Phil Jones

There's only so much you can learn from history books. These stories were culled from manuscript letters of the 18th through the 20th centuries. Some of the events and subjects covered include the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Mexican War, Western migration, and gold mining. Readings from love letters and general human interest letters will also provide a peek into some private lives of the past.

Phil Jones has collected ephemera for over 50 years and says he was born of parents who saved everything. He is a past president of The Manuscript Society, a former editor, and has held many positions on local boards in Shelton, Connecticut, where he founded Jones Christmas Tree Farms.

The Newseum: Ephemera and the 21st Century
Eric Newton

The first museum of news finds itself awash in ephemera. But the hardest news history artifacts to find are those from the last 30 years. The electronic revolution raises questions about whether the physical world is becoming more ephemeral. What does all this mean about the state of ephemera in the next century?

Eric Newton is the managing editor of The Newseum that opens in Arlington, Virginia, in April. He is an award-winning newspaper editor, writer, teacher, and scholar who believes in open government and open newspapers. He is president of the First Amendment Project and his book The Open Newspaper has been widely used in diversity training of journalists.

Friday, March 14 1-4p.m.

Playing Cards and Card Games
Stuart Kaplan

A description of the ins and outs of collecting playing cards and card games, an ephemera subject growing in popularity. Where to find them? How to evaluate them? What are they worth? How to store and display them? A slide presentation followed by a Wizard card game tournament with a special first prize to the National Ephemera/17 Wizard Champion. A free Wizard card game and commemorative deck to each attendee.

Stuart Kaplan is the chairman of US. Games Systems, Inc., publisher of all types of playing cards and card games. He is a collector of antique playing cards, card games, and related items and has written extensively on the history of tarot and playing cards from the 15th century to the present.

Ethics and Options: Another Look at Conservation
Mary Todd Glaser

Must albums be kept intact? Is deacidification a good thing? Can I fix it myself? 'What should I tell my framer? Like the techniques themselves, the philosophy of conservation has changed in recent years. This presentation will examine some of the issues. For example, when is professional treatment necessary, advisable, unnecessary, or not advisable? What are other options to professional conservation? Time will be allowed after the lecture for questions. A clinic will follow and the audience is invited to bring objects for inspection and advice.

Mary Todd Glaser has been involved with conservation for over 35 years. After years of private practice, she became the head paper conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1979. In addition, to running the conservation laboratory, she does surveys, consulting, and teaching both in the United States and abroad.

Saturday, March 15 Banquet-7:30 p.m

Crossword Ephemera: 1913 to the Present
Will Shortz

A history of the crossword puzzle in pictures, words, and music. A slide show will include a copy of the world's first crossword puzzle, copies of the first crossword book and magazine, the program for the world's first crossword tournament, sheet music and assorted ephemera of the 1924-25 crossword craze, and other puzzle rarities from over the decades. This slide show will be accompanied musically by 1920s song hits like "Cross Word Mamma You Puzzle Me (But Papa's Gonna Figure You Out)."

Will Shortz is the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times, host of NPR Weekend Edition's Sunday puzzle and author of several puzzle books.

Sunday, March 16 9 a.m.-Noon

Why People Collect: A Forum on Collecting
Howard Paine, Michael Zinman, and John Dann

Why kids pick up seashells on the beach or collect bugs or rocks or autumn leaves or comic books or baseball cards. Why adults collect salt-and-pepper shakers or Hummel figurines. Why some collectors focus ever so tightly on one specific interest and others diversify. Why some want the biggest collection and others want the best. Why many young people of today don't care about things, but would rather collect experiences. Why collecting, for some, is a disease, and to others it is a defining purpose to life. Is it sentimentality, a need for completion, a token of a pleasant memory, or possession of a valuable object? Why do people collect?

Howard Paine presents a slide show with dual projectors and addresses the mystery of collecting in our changing culture.

Michael Zinman and John Dann-both famous, avid collectors-address the same questions from their differing perspectives of private and public acquisition. Tales and anecdotes of the chase, the great finds, the near misses, the possession, and the compulsion. A forum with audience participation will follow.

Howard Paine worked as art director of National Geographic magazine for many years and presently art directs US. Postage Stamps. His career experiences have put him in the center of what he calls "the business of collecting" His personal collecting habits are admittedly eclectic, haphazard, and disorganized and his collections include such diverse objects as mattress tags and number plates. He has an abiding interest in the psychology and culture that creates a collector

Michael Zinman is a businessman and owner of Earthworm, Inc. He is a well-known collector who has put together one of the most impressive collections of pre-1800 American imprints. A fascinating and colorful personality, whose philosophy and habits of collecting are uncommon, he has been described as a collector "in a class by himself" In Nicholas Basbanes' A Gentle Madness, Zinman explains his drive and enthusiasm for collecting as an "interaction" and "a link with some mechanism of history."

John Dann is a native of Delaware whose educational background in history led him, in 1971, into the position of curator of manuscripts at the Clements Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since his appointment as director in 1977, he has added to the library's already fine collection with an intelligence, sensibility, and passion that is usually reserved to private collectors. He has written extensively on the American Revolution and frequently lectures on American history as seen through the library's archive.

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