Ephemera Society's board of directors passed a long-range plan last
October 1999 that outlines what we will be doing during the next
five years and summarizes what our aspirations are for the organization
as we enter a new century and millennium.
The single most important component of the Ephemera Society is
its membership. We have grown from just a few members in 1980 to
approximately 1,000 today. Most of us live in the northeast corridor,
Maine to Washington, DC, and in California. The society wishes to
grow to include a wider and more diverse membership and to strengthen
its status as an educational organization. We are in the midst of
a number of initiatives that we hope will result in adding numbers
to the membership rolls.
We have established an archives at the Winterthur Museum to maintain
a permanent record of our past. Members have been asked to contribute
their memorabilia, and we are depositing new publications and other
papers as they are now created. Since the Ephemera Society is dedicated
to keeping the past alive by publicizing the importance of ephemera
in the understanding of our nation's history, we thought it would
have been highly ironic if we did not try to keep our own history
alive through an archival program.
Since its inception, the Ephemera Society has been a strong advocate
for the study of ephemera. To further ephemera research and to emphasize
its importance in the eyes of the society, we hope to establish
a short-term fellowship program open to researchers working on projects
that will lead to publication, including articles, books, dissertations,
and exhibition catalogs. We need to build an endowment to support
Publications have been important for the society ever since its
inception. During the next five years, we will be reviewing our
publications program. Not only will we be looking at the kinds of
things we issue, but also we will be investigating how to produce
our publications in the most economical way without sacrificing
The Ephemera Society hosts an annual conference and fair each year,
usually in mid-March. Customarily, we attract 85-100 dealers to
the fair, which is open Saturday and Sunday, and we schedule seven
talks over the course of three days at the conference. A Saturday
evening banquet, featuring a speaker, is a social highlight. Over
the course of twenty years, we have met in five different locations,
most recently in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, at the Hyatt Regency
Hotel. We plan to continue this event, and in an effort to make
it better each year, we will regularly review its venue.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the next five years is the planned
development of the Ephemera Society's web site. In its infancy now,
the site includes a membership application; short essays about and
images of various kinds of ephemera; the schedule of our upcoming
conference; an order form for Rewards of Merit, a monograph
published by the society; an article on ephemera that originally
appeared in AB Bookman; and all of these news features from
the Northeast Journal. We anticipate linking to other Internet
sites that focus on showing ephemera and to our members' home pages.
As well, we will include selected articles and profiles from past
issues of Ephemera News and Ephemera Journal, questions
from researchers, instruction packets for teachers based on information
provided by ephemeral materials, preservation tips and articles
on paper conservation, and a bibliography of ephemera publications.
It is our hope that the society's web site will be interactive.
We want members to contribute citations to their favorite books
and articles, essays on their favorite kinds of ephemera, and answers
to questions. In a forthcoming column later this year I will discuss
the progress of our web site.
With the passage of twenty years, members of the Ephemera Society
have experienced many different activities, and they look forward
to the future, anticipating taking part in programs both tried and
true as well as new. The long-range plan helps to chart these activities.
Through this plan and the programs it outlines, the Ephemera Society
dedicates itself to maintaining its preeminent position as an acknowledged
leader in the collecting, study, preservation, and exhibition of
ephemera. We will continue to provide opportunities for enhancing
the appreciation of ephemera as an important part of America's cultural
tradition and heritage.
E. Richard McKinstry
[This article originally appeared in the Northeast
Journal of Antiques & Art.]