Mid-Year Conference - Unmediated History The Scholarly Study of 19th-Century Ephemera

Sept 19-20th, 2013

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Mid-Year Conference - Unmediated History: The Scholarly Study of 19th-Century Ephemera
September 19-20th, 2013
Library Company of Philadelphia
Ephemera Society of America

The Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia has joined forces with The Ephemera Society of America to present this conference, which seeks to further acknowledge and promote printed and graphic ephemera not only as sources of striking illustrative images, but also as primary evidence in the reconstruction of popular movements and visual cultures.

The Library Company has been collecting ephemera since 1785, when it acquired the Pierre Eugène Du Simitière collection of Revolutionary War-era pamphlets and broadsides. Today the Library Company has one of the largest, most important, and most varied collections of 18th- and 19th-century ephemera, including postcards, stereographs, scrapbooks and albums, trade cards, patent medicine advertisements, and World’s Fairs souvenirs and collectibles.

The Ephemera Society of America, formed in 1980, cultivates and encourages interest in ephemera, as well as the history identified with it. Through an annual conference, mentoring program, publications, and speakers bureau, the Society aims to further the understanding of ephemera; to promote the collection, preservation, exhibition, and research of ephemeral materials; and to serve as a link among collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars.

Launched in 2008, the Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia (VCP at LCP) is dedicated to promoting the importance of historical images as primary source material for studying the past. The Program fosters the research, collection, and interpretation of historic visual material through exhibitions, research fellowships, conferences, and public programs.

In 2012 the Library Company completed a two-year project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to arrange, catalog, and selectively digitize nearly 30,000 pieces of ephemera in its collections. To further examine and showcase the materials explored through this project, VCP at LCP produced Remnants of Everyday Life: Historical Ephemera in the Workplace, Street, and Home, on display May 13-December 13, 2013. The project and exhibition inspired the collaboration between The Ephemera Society and VCP at LCP, and served as the stimulus for Unmediated History.

The Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia
and The Ephemera Society of America

Printable brochure

Registration Page


Rosenbach Museum and Library- private tour 2008 Delancey Pl., Philadelphia; limit of 35 visitors, registration required info@ephemerasociety.org. 12:00am
Depart for lunch, location to be determined 2:00pm
Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, Ingrid Bogel viewing some of the current preservation work with a focus on ephemera - 264 South 23rd Street, Philadelphia, PA
4:00pm End of public day

Opening Dinner Reception for conference registrants sponsored by the Library Company’s Visual Culture Program and The Ephemera Society of America; exhibition tour by curators Rachel D’Agostino and Erika Piola,

Registration for “Unmediated History: The Scholarly Study of 19th-Century Ephemera”

Opening Remarks:
John C. Van Horne, Director, Library Company of Philadelphia;
Rachel D’Agostino, Co-director, VCP at LCP, Library Company of Philadelphia;
Nancy Rosin, President, The Ephemera Society of America

Session 1: Building and Promoting Institutional Collections of Ephemera: Patent Medicine at UCLA & World’s Fairs at Hagley Museum and Library Chair: Rachel D’Agostino
Russell Johnson, University of California - Los Angeles
Terry Snyder, Haverford College

Lunch (On your Own)
Session 2: The Impact of Photography on the 19th-Century Viewscape: Stereographs & Postcards
Chair: Diane DeBlois
Jeremy Rowe, Arizona State University
Chris Pyle, Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Lake County Discovery Museum, Wauconda, Illinois

Session 3: Artistry in 19th-Century Ephemera Production and Collection: Trade Cards & Scrapbooks
Chair: Erika Piola
Richard Sheaff, R. Dana Sheaff & Company
Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City University

Reception - The Print Center, 1614 Latimer Street
    2013 Ephemera Society of America. GloryHorse