Ephemera/27 Conference

Phil Jones Opens Ephemera Fund With Generous $15,000 Donation
Ephemera 27 Speakers Explore Breadth and Depth of Ephemera
Thanks, for the Memories


Phil Jones Opens Ephemera Fund With Generous $15,000 Donation

With a surprise announcement that even his daughter didn't know about until 15 minutes before he made it, long-time Society member Phil Jones has pledged $15,000 to establish a fund supporting the advancement of research into ephemera.

Although details of the grants, such as their value, how they will be awarded, and to whom, have not been determined, Jones said his intent was to help support anyone with a legitimate interest in promoting the value of or building the knowledge base surrounding virtually any form of ephemera.
"The fact is," Jones said to several board members sitting around the table at a Chinese restaurant the night before the board meeting, "I don't have a clue about what could be done or what needs to be done, but I'm sure that not everything has been learned or written about ephemera."

Jones cited his 50 years of collecting ("hoarding," as he called it) vintage letters as an example.

"I've bought shoebox after shoebox full of letters after dealers had taken off the stamps they wanted," Jones continued, "and I still haven't opened all the boxes, so I know there's more to learn."

Jones hesitated to call it a "scholarship" fund because he felt that was too narrow a term, implying that only college students would be eligible.

"We think it could be much broader than this," Jones added. "The purpose would be to award a year-long grant for a worthy project, be it teaching, writing a book, or just using ephemera as part of a worthwhile project."

The $15,000 "seed" money already has started to prompt the like-minded to get involved. Within 24 hours of the word starting to spread, another Society member donated an additional $500 to start a "match" of the initial $15,000. That, said the Society's new president Gigi Barnhill, is how the fund is supposed to work.

"Our hope is to work it so the fund provides endowment income instead of spending it down," Barnhill told the 25 or so attendees of the early-morning annual member meeting the last day of the conference. "We want Phil's generous gift to keep on growing through low-risk investments and additional donations so the income it generates can support those who are doing research on ephemera or using it in interesting ways."

A committee of Society members, including Jones's daughter, Sandi, will be appointed to establish the fund's goals, guidelines, and operational details.


Ephemera 27 Speakers Explore Breadth and Depth of Ephemera

From baby books to bicycles to Babe, the blue ox; from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Washington D.C.'s 21st century "war profiteers;" from love letters to rabies, lice, and hysterical women, Ephemera 27's guest speakers enthralled their audiences with presentations that plumbed ephemera's depths and widths.
The presentations filled seven hours over two days, so two pages of 12-point Times Roman can only whet the appetite. Being there, on the other hand, was a sumptuous feast.

Russell Johnson, the archivist in the History & Special Collections Division of the U.C.L.A. Biomedical Library, touched on only two collections—baby books and pain-relieving nostrums represented in the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection.

The baby books, as Johnson remarked, were about babies and their physical, mental, and moral growth, not for them. The books themselves were likely to be sponsored and freely distributed by insurance companies, drug companies, and other businesses hoping to appeal to mom and dad. Johnson also mined the Liebeskind archives for ephemera in the form of trade cards, advertising, and packaging that promised relief from any kind of pain. Ephemera demonstrated clearly how claims were drastically modified following the passage of the first Food & Drugs Act in 1906. One pain reliever whose active ingredients were alcohol and morphine sulfate before the Act suddenly became a vegetable-based laxative after the laws took effect.

Christopher Hoolihan, the Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian at the University of Rochester's Edward G. Miner Library, used ephemera to illustrate how Americans, perhaps because of remoteness, expense, or distrust of the medical community, chose to medicate themselves for everything from venereal disease to rabies, to lice.

Patent medicine advertising, Hoolihan demonstrated, also revolutionized the advertising industry with the beginning of national campaigns, the use of visually exciting illustrations instead of gray lines of type; conspicuous packaging; chromolithography; and the practice of branding.
Terry J. Goldich, curator of the Northeast Children's Literature Collection and the Alternative Press Collection at the University of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, shared ephemera relating to the creation of children's books, including book dummies, sketches, illustrations, and revisions. While some authors and illustrators destroyed everything but the finished work, the starts, stops, and missteps of others yield glimpses into how the final works evolved, such as a drastic change in James Marshall's drawing of his title hippos, George and Martha. In a hand-drawn note to himself, Marshall writes: "Change George to Martha."

Goldich also deals with the library's Alternative Press Collection that has gathered publications and ephemera from activist movements. It may have been founded in the 1960s, but it's been kept up to date as Goldich demonstrated with a deck of 52 cards, including portraits of President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice. Patterned after the card deck the American military circulated when it was seeking members of Saddam Hussein's brutal Iraqi regime, the more recent deck claims to identify "War Profiteers."

Katherine Kane, as chief spokesperson and advocate of Hartford, Connecticut's Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, uses ephemera from the past to inspire modern commitment to the kind of social justice advocated by Uncle Tom's Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The novel of slavery in the American South began as a four-part serial appearing in The National Era, an abolitionist newspaper. It turned into a 44-part serial, beginning in June 1851. Even after such exposure, as a book it sold 10,000 copies in the first week; 300,000 copies the first year; and 1.5 million copies the same year in Britain. It was immediately adapted as a stage play and appeared in one form or another for 90 years in the U.S. When Stowe met with President Abraham Lincoln, the gangly Illinois lawyer is reported to have said, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War." Ephemera, in the form of a letter written by Stowe's sister, who also met with Lincoln, drew some gasps from the audience.

John Sayers, a collector of ocean liner ephemera, drew tears from some listeners as he read excerpts from the witty, often tender letters written by Louise Welch to her beau during an extended round-the-world cruise in 1926-27. He spent two years saving the letters from the "Philistines," but little more needs to be said about Louise because an abbreviated form of Sayers' account begins in this issue on page 19.

Opening the Sunday morning Conference session Molly and John Harris, Society members from the Twin Cities, whizzed through what is believed to be the first book ever profiling a state in terms of the ephemera it created. The book, reviewed in the last issue of Ephemera News, has been nominated for a Minnesota book award.

In a state that had its own historical society before it had attained statehood, the real problem the Harrises faced was winnowing through all the available material and settling on the relative few ephemera examples that illustrated the book and enlivened the early morning presentation. The ephemera's scope was broad, but the audience may have left with a few little known bits of Minnesota trivia: shopping bags were invented in Minnesota; B. Daltons, Target, Dayton's and Marshall Fields all had their start in the state; theatrical ice shows began in Minnesota with the 1936 Ice Follies; and the Greyhound bus line also is a Minnesota native.

As the last presenter on the program, Canadian barrister and ESA member Donald Zaldin had little trouble keeping the jury alert as he used ephemera to build a solid case for the emancipating effect of the bicycle upon 19th-century women.

The bicycle, he claimed, became a popular image in art, advertising, and design, but it also gave rise to significant social change by lowering social barriers, democratizing travel, and moving women toward suffrage and emancipation, especially from restrictive clothing of the era and traditional domestic roles.

As vice president of the Ephemera Society of Canada and past president of the Bootmakers of Toronto, Canada's official Sherlock Holmes Society, Zaldin couldn't resist throwing in a quote, presumably, from Holmes: When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when hope seems hardly worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.


Thanks, for the Memories

When about 75 people arrived for the Society's Gala Ephemera 27 Banquet, they were met by a generous array of creative hors d'oeuvres thanks to the generosity of George Fox and PBA Galleries.
Thanks also to Gary Garland and Swann Galleries. Gary not only auctioned off nearly 140 lots of ephemera that earned nearly $4,500 for the Society, he also spent nearly a full day at Society headquarters in Cazenovia, NY describing the auction items for inclusion in the catalog. On the Ephemera Fair's opening day Gary also appraised ephemera items for the public with proceeds going to the Society.

Keep PBA and Swann in mind the next time you're looking for a rare book, manuscript, or that special piece of ephemera.


Ephemera/27 Conference

Louise and Tommy are long gone, but their letters to each other trace a long-distance love affair that spanned an ocean and will endure as long as the paper on which they professed their love. These stories and dozens of others will be told at the Ephemera Society's annual conference and paper fair to be held March 9-11 in the Stamford Marriott Hotel in Stamford, CT. Download a copy of the Conference brochure, including a schedule and registration form. Reserve your room at the Stamford Marriott today!

Conference Schedule and Speakers

Thursday, March 8, 2007

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Board of Directors' meeting, Boardroom II, Mezzanine Level.

6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Board reception for early arrivals. Join old and new friends, and be fresh for the conference that begins Friday morning.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Three morning conference sessions:
New England Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level

9 a.m.
What Ephemera Reveals to Medical Scholars
Russell A. Johnson

The History & Special Collections Division at UCLA's Biomedical Library recently started building a collection of 19th and 20th century baby record books—infant health care advice-filled memory albums in which parents recorded milestones in their child's development and added photographs and other personal mementos. Another new collecting focus is Victorian trade cards that feature patent medicines or practitioner services aimed at the alleviation of pain. The archivist for the collections will explain why the library ventured into these areas and will describe how items are procured from dealers and donors (and eBay), how the collections are cataloged and made accessible, and how historians, medical doctors, and other scholars are using these fascinating materials.

Russell Johnson grew up in Massachusetts and Maine, but now has lived half his life in Los Angeles. He is the archivist in the History & Special Collections Division of UCLA's Biomedical Library, which includes the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection.

10 a.m.
Ephemera in Libraryland: Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut
Terri J. Goldich

Children's literature and the alternative press may have little in common except Terri Goldich. She is curator to both and will bring the disparate collections to life in this presentation. The Northeast Children's Literature Collection includes an estimated 36,000 books, the manuscript collections of 90 authors and illustrators, correspondence, artifacts, and other research materials. Of particular interest are collections containing all aspects of book creation, such as book dummies, sketches, illustrations, dust jackets, drafts, revisions, and correspondence. Books in major award categories are added each year. The Alternative Press Collection was founded in the late 1960s as a repository for publications emanating from activist movements for social, cultural, and political change.

Terri Goldich has been curator of the Northeast Children's Literature Collection and the Alternative Press Collection at the University of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center since 1988. Ms. Goldich won the University of Connecticut Library Award for Excellence, and she has written and taught about various aspects of the collection, and has represented it in the broader media, and at a great many academic conferences.

11:00 a.m.
Every Man His Own Physician: Ephemera and Medical Self-Help
Christopher Hoolihan

The Edward C. Atwater Collection at the Edward G. Miner Library in Rochester, NY is one of the nation’s finest repositories of materials documenting the effort of ordinary Americans to control their own health. The collection includes books, periodicals, pamphlets, almanacs, trade cards, and other printed ephemera that address a wide range of popular health issues—from the self-treatment of disease and injury to the control of reproduction. This talk will focus on the surprising variety of print ephemera in the Atwater Collection and the role that it played in each American’s attempt to become his or her own physician.

Christopher Hoolihan is Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian at the Edward G. Miner Library. Among his publications is the two-volume Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform published by the University of Rochester Press in 2001 and 2004. A third volume is in preparation.

Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Break

Two afternoon conference sessions:
New England Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level

1:30 p.m.
Ephemera Tells a Story of Social Justice
Katherine Kane

The Stowe Center’s mission is to preserve and interpret Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Hartford home and the Center’s historic collections, create a forum for vibrant discussion of her life and work, and inspire individuals to embrace and emulate her commitment to social justice by effecting positive change. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s life and writings had an extraordinary influence on American lives. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s collection of ephemera records how her work was promoted, reported, criticized, copied and referenced for another 150 years.

Katherine Kane is the chief spokesperson, advocate and representative of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, directing programs, exhibits and outreach using three historic buildings on 2.5 acres in Hartford, CT, with the mission to provide vibrant forum and inspire commitment to social justice. Important collections and programming areas include women’s and African American history, the context of contemporary issues, and the interrelationships of races, ethnic groups, class and gender.

2:30 p.m.
Love Letters from Louise
John G. Sayers

In December, 1926, Louise Welch, a 32-year-old woman attorney, left Boston on a four-month World Cruise on the Red Star liner Berengaria. Every day she wrote to her love Thomas O’Connor, who remained in Boston—letters of description, letters of warmth, letters of affection, letters of suppressed passion. Every day Thomas wrote to her— letters of everyday gossip about Boston news and politicians, letters of tedium, letters of hope. Louise played the stock market. Louise wrote graphic descriptions of all that she saw. Thomas was her 27-year-old counterpoint, waiting patiently for the results of his Bar admission examinations. As well as all 240 letters, this archive contains photographs, shipboard memorabilia, and a wealth of personal papers. If you like love stories, played out on the letterheads of major hotels throughout the world, you’ll fall in love with Louise and her Tommy.

Canadian John Sayers serves on the board of The Ephemera Society of America, is on the Executive Board of the Toronto Postcard Club, and is a member of The Ephemera Society (U.K.) Mr. Sayers, who resides in Toronto, is a long-time collector of ocean liner ephemera and memorabilia.

Also Friday:

4 p.m.
Dealer Set-up

5 p.m.
Collectors’ Forum: Beware: Ephemera Bug Highly Contagious
Phil & Sandi Jones
Massachusetts Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level

A seasoned collector and recently infected daughter share in conversation about Illustrated Letterheads, Vinegar Valentines, Civil War-era letters.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

8:15 a.m.
Memberships will be sold at the Ephemera Society desk at the entrance to the show in the Grand Ballroom, Lobby Level.

9 a.m.
Members-only show preview ($10) for the Society’s 27th Annual Paper Show in Grand Ballroom, Lobby Level. Please have your membership card available.

9 - 5 p.m.
Exhibits open.

10 a.m.
General public entry admission is $12. ($1 off with any Ephemera/27 ad.)

Noon - 2 p.m.
Appraisals; get the Swann Galleries expert’s estimate on your special piece. (near Society desk in foyer)

3 - 4 p.m.
Collectors’ Forum: Poster Stamps – Art Groten in Massachusetts Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level.

5 p.m.
Show closes; reopens 11 a.m. Sunday.

6 p.m.
Cash Bar & A Little Magic, Mezzanine Club Level.

7:15 p.m.
Annual Banquet – A seated banquet in Boardrooms III & IV, Mezzanine Club Level, followed by auction next door in Boardrooms V and VI. Dinner reservations are required. Email info@ephemerasociety.org to receive a banquet reservation form. Dinner reservations must be received by Friday, February 23rd.

8:30 p.m.
Live Auction, Boardrooms V and VI, Mezzanine Club Level.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

8:15 a.m.
Members annual meeting.

Two morning conference sessions:
New England Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level

9 a.m.
Minnesota’s Printed Ephemera, 1838 to 2005
Moira F. (Molly) Harris

The talk will be devoted to the printed ephemera of the State of Minnesota, from 1838 to 2005. A new book from Pogo Press, Minnesota on Paper. Collecting our PrintedHistory (University of Minnesota Press) is the first analysis of ephemera limited to a single American state.

Moira F. (Molly) Harris, Ph.D, has written numerous books and articles on the history of art and popular culture. Her diverse subjects include Minnesota’s outdoor sculpture and murals, the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Hamm’s Beer advertising, and Sicilian donkey carts. At the 2004 Chicago Humanities Festival she served on a panel dealing with poker, her topic being the poker-playing dogs. Molly and her husband, John Harris, are the proprietors of Pogo Press, Incorporated, a small press located in St. Paul, Minnesota. John has written books and articles concerning postal history subjects and articles about local history.

10 a.m.
Getting it in Gear: The Revolutionary Impact of the Bicycle on 19th Century Culture
Donald Zaldin

In the 100-year span of the 19th century, personal transportation progressed from the horse to the bicycle to the automobile. Social class, gender, and age proved no barrier to the popularity of this middle link, which became a popular image in art, advertising, and design. The cultural dynamics of the technology and mythology of the bicycle were revolutionary, giving rise to significant social change. The Victorian era saw a lowering of social barriers, the democratization of travel, and a movement toward the emancipation and suffrage of women, who were propelled by the bicycle in their struggle to liberate themselves from their restrictive clothing and traditional domestic roles. The presentation will be illustrated by photographica and ephemera from the world-class Lorne Shields Cycling Collection, portions of which have been donated to the Canada Museum of Science and Technology, Ottawa, Canada.

Donald Zaldin is vice president of The Ephemera Society of Canada and a past president of The Bootmakers of Toronto, Canada’s official Sherlock Holmes Society. Donald is an avid collector of Dionnes and Sherlockian ephemera.

11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Paper Show hours in the Grand Ballroom, Lobby Level.

11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Exhibits open.

1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Collectors’ Forum: Victorian Graphic Design – Dick Sheaff in Massachusetts Ballroom, Lower Lobby Level.

4 p.m.
Ephemera/27 closes.

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America