Exhibit Themes Promise Fascinating Browsing

Printed paper does the talking as at least half a dozen collectors and subject experts exhibit portions of their collections during Ephemera 25's three-day run in Old Greenwich, CT.

Wild Women (and the Men Who Loved Them) is the subject of Kathy Alpert's exhibit. As owner of PostMark Press, Alpert is working on a book about early 20th-century women as seen through the postcard. For Ephemera 25, she will exhibit a selection of images expected to be included in a chapter with the Wild Women working title. Included are classic early 20th-century showgirls; the notorious showgirl Evelyn Nesbit, who was embroiled in "The Crime of the Century" when her jealous husband Harry Thaw shot and killed her former lover and famed architect Stanford White; and "A Lobster Salad with French Dressing" postcard lampooning a wayward New Yorker.

In United States Advertising Poster Stamps, to 1939 Englishman Charles Kiddle examines the poster stamps issued by various businesses to promote their products or services with particular emphasis on the "Golden Age" between1910 and 1920. The exhibition, never before seen in the United States, features the famous artists who designed the stamps and includes Maxfield Parrish's illustration for Crane's Chocolate, considered the "Holy Grail" of poster stamp collecting. Kiddle also pays attention to the printers who produced poster stamps, how they were used, and collected.

Kit Barry draws from his trade card collection to examine the image of the artists in the late 19th century. Barry says the artist image is a widespread, recurring theme that appears in many mutations. In picturing the artist or the painter's pallet, this subject had a strong presence in advertising from the 1870s through the 1890s. The popularity of this subject suggests that the American consumer embraced the artist, and thus fine art, as an expected part of everyday life. Barry says the lack of the artist image theme in 20th- century advertising suggests a separation of the general masses from fine art.

There's magic in one of the exhibits. Robert Olson, who baffled an audience last year with his illusions, displays a sampling of Victorian Trade Cards focusing on the performance of magic. Like small posters, they were used by magicians to advertise their shows and by businesses to advertise their products.

The exhibit compiled by long-time member Jean Berg willbe easy to spot - look for the orange! It all began with a simple ferry ticketthat stood out only because it was printed on orange-coated stock. Other items,all printed on that same orange-coated stock and dated between 1835 and 1860,followed. A large broadside warning people away from a dwelling contaminated byscarlet fever is displayed alongside an admission ticket to a do-it-yourselfsurgery class - both orange. "When I started collecting them they sold for anickel. Now they're $100 items!" Berg laments.

There are other exhibits being planned for the amusement and education of Ephemera 25 attendees and they all use paper to open windows on the past. Don't miss them.

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America