Conference & Fair EPHEMERA/20 March
Schedule of Speakers and Presentations
Friday March 3.9:30 A.M.-12:30
in the New Century
During the course of the last few years the Internet has played
an ever-increasing role in expanding our access to information.
It has grown in popularity due to many and various technological
advances, and falling prices have made it possible for many people
just about everywhere to purchase their own computers. Seemingly
few aspects of our lives remain untouched by the ongoing revolution
in the world of electronics, including the selling and buying of
ephemera. Ben Crane will discuss where we are with respect to ephemera
on the Internet and what might develop as the new century unfolds.
He will present some examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly
in ephemera Web sites. Following Ben's presentation there will be
an opportunity for audience discussion.
Ben Crane has been a member of the Ephemera Society since 1990.
A collector of trade cards for more than 30 years, Ben is the author
of The Before and After Trade Card, published by the society
in 1995. Since retiring from Bell Labs in 1995, Ben has been operating
The Trade Card Place, an Internet website. He has also worked with
the Trade Card Collectors Association in establishing standards
for describing and cataloging trade cards.
Ephemera from the Special Collections and Archives Department,
Alexander Library, Rutgers University
Ronald L. Becker
By the time New Jersey had become one of America's original states,
printers working there had already produced a significant amount
of work. From early colonial times, when printers from New York
and Philadelphia set up their presses to print bills of credit,
paper currency, and other items, until recent years, New Jerseyans
from many generations and walks of life have used or seen a variety
of ephemeral material. The Special Collections and Archives Department
of Alexander Library, the main research library of Rutgers University,
holds the most impressive assemblage of paper ephemera ever to have
been assembled connected to the state of New Jersey. Today, Ron
Becker shares some of the most significant and little known pieces
of ephemeral material from the collections he oversees at Rutgers.
Ron Becker is the head of the Special Collections and Archives
Department at Rutgers University, New Jersey's state university.
He is a native of Vineland, New Jersey, and a graduate of Duke University
and the School of Library Service at Rutgers. Ron has been active
in the Society of American Archivists and the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Archives Conference, serving as MARAC's president and newsletter
editor. Ron began his career as library cataloger at The New Jersey
Historical Society more than 25 years ago, and ever since he has
been immersed in the ephemera of his native state.
The Great North American Cameo Stamp Project: A Report from
In 1992, the Ephemera Society published Cameo Cards & Bella
C. Landauer, a booklet illustrating 200 nineteenth century business
cards, some embossed in a manner reminiscent of bas-relief cameo
gemstones. Tom Beckman is expanding this project. Having seen nearly
2,500 cameos thus far, he has identified more than 60 of their designers
and makers in the United States and Canada. Tom will offer a five-part
definition of cameos, or "stamps," as they were called originally,
suggest several sources from which they derived, explain how they
were simultaneously color-printed and embossed from brass and gutta-percha
dies, examine their major design subsets along with a number of
variants, comment on the careers of some of the diesinkers who made
them, and speculate on their demise.
Tom Beckman is the Registrar at The Historical Society of Delaware,
Wilmington. Long a member of the Ephemera Society (his name appears
in the Society's 1981 directory), he presented a talk at the Society's
1992 conference entitled "Japanese Influences on American Trade
Card Imagery and Design, 1875-1890." Tom invites members to bring
their cameo cards to his presentation and has agreed to distribute
copies of his census on all known cameo stamp makers.
Friday, March 3 2:00-4:00
The Ephemeral Nature of Architectural Drawings; or, an Ode to
Lois Olcott Price
Architectural drawings are not created as an end in themselves;
they are created to illustrate an architectural concept for a client
or provide the graphic information necessary to construct a building.
They are, therefore, usually treated as ephemera once the client
is sold or the building is completed. While buildings remain fairly
constant over time, the physical nature of the drawings themselves
has not. American architectural drawings have progressed from carefully
rendered images on the best papers to hasty pencil sketches on tracing
paper and characterless computer assisted design (CAD) images printed
in fugitive inks. The same technological progress is evident in
the copies made from drawings which have developed from sturdy blueprints
and ink tracings on cloth to diazo prints that fade within months
and digital files that become increasingly difficult to access as
CAD programs are upgraded. This presentation will explore the ephemeral
nature of architectural drawings and their physical progression
from permanence to ephemera.
Lois Olcott Price graduated from the Winterthur Program in Early
American Culture in 1973 and came back several years later to take
an MS in art conservation. After working for 13 years as a conservator
for the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia,
she again returned to Winterthur to assume the position of Conservator
of Library Collections and Adjunct Professor of Art Conservation
for the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.
While at the Conservation Center, she received several grants to
support research into the fabrication and preservation of American
architectural drawings and is currently completing a monograph on
Images of George Washington
Geo. Gregory Smart
Using images from his own collection, Greg Smart will illustrate
two hundred years of our first president as he has lived on in the
popular imagination. While being one of the central and preeminent
icons of American culture, both the historical and mythic George
Washington are illustrated in seldom seen ephemera that broadens
the context of national interpretation.
Geo. Gregory Smart is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale, where
he was also Scholar of the House. He has presented to the Ephemera
Society on two previous occasions, on his research into Rufus Porter,
and on the topic: "The Recreation of the American "Indian".
Saturday, March 4 7:30 p.m.
The Peter Jackson Collection
James Boswell tells us that Samuel Johnson once said "When a man
is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London
all that life can afford." For almost 50 years Peter Jackson has
been collecting material on London, and he now has what is undoubtedly
the largest collection of Londoniana in private hands. Peter's collecting
began in 1948 when he was hired as an illustrator to produce a regular
feature, "London is Stranger than Fiction," for The Evening News
. His prints, maps, drawings, books, playbills, medals, ceramics,
and a host of other items on London have made Peter an acknowledged
expert on the history of the city. Tonight Peter will share some
of his collection with us.
Peter Jackson is President of the Ephemera Society of the United
Kingdom. Over the years he has provided material from his collection
to broadcasting and publishing companies. In demand for public appearances,
in 1981, he supplied television commentary on the history of the
route used by Prince Charles and Lady Diana for their wedding procession.
Peter is the author of London: 2,000 Years of a City and its
People and The History of London in Maps.
Sunday, March 5 9:00 a.m.
The Catskills Revisited
During the 1970s, John Margolies began to document the Catskill
Mountain resorts of New York State. At that time there still was
an active resort tradition, though it was coming to an end. People
flocked to bungalow colonies, farmhouses, boarding houses, medium-sized
hotel blocks, and the huge so-called "Borscht Belt" resorts. By
the 1990s nearly all of them had gone out of business, including
the venerable Grossinger's and the mammoth Concord Hotel. The major
mountain houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries are long gone
too, and only the magnificent Mohonk Mountain House remains in all
its glory. In this presentation, John draws upon his photographs
of this lost world of the Catskills, and he escorts us through a
bygone era via vintage postcards, brochures, photographs, correspondence,
and travel narratives.
John Margolies is an author, photographer, and historian on American
commercial architecture and design. For the past 25 years he has
explored the highways and byways of America, searching for both
unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and resort
architecture. John has written many books and has received a Guggenheim
Fellowship and several fellowships from the National Endowment for
the Arts. The History Channel adapted his book, Highway Hangouts,
for a television program. John is currently serving as guest curator
for an exhibition entitled "See the USA: Automobile Travel and the
American Landscape" at the National Building Museum, Washington,