Ephemera 24 Conference

Join members of the Ephemera Society at Ephemera 24, our annual conference and fair, Friday, March 19-Sunday, the 21st, 2004. As in years past, we will be meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut, just off exit 5 of Route 95 and not too far from the train station in Greenwich. All of the presentations will take place in the Roundhill Room.

Ephemera 24 will feature six speakers, four on Friday and two Sunday morning.

Beginning the conference at 9:30 a.m. on Friday is Steven Lomazow, whose topic is called “A Compact History of American Periodicals: The Ephemeral Window of Popular Culture.” Steven, a practicing neurologist, has been studying America through its periodical press for 30 years. His own collection of magazines focuses on first issues, and he has served as a consultant to the Newseum in Washington, DC and has exhibited items from his collection at the Grolier Club in New York City. Steven is the author of American Periodicals, a Collector’s Manual and Reference Guide and is co-author of The Bibliography of American Literature in Periodicals.

Following Steven is Valerie Jackson Harris, who will be talking on “Selected Techniques in the Production of English Ephemera.” Along with her late husband, Peter Jackson, Valerie received the Ephemera Society’s prestigious Maurice Rickards Award for achievement in the field of ephemera in 2003. Valerie is the proprietor of a shop, Quadrille, on Portobello Road in London, England and has made presentations at past society conferences.

Anne Stewart O’Donnell will begin the afternoon session talking about “The Arts & Crafts Greeting Card, 1906-1925: A First Look.” Anne is an independent scholar and writer who specializes in Victorian and turn of the century design and is assistant editor of Style 1900.

Though they are small in size, greeting cards are large in the eyes of people interested in studying the philosophy behind the Arts & Crafts movement and its practices. In contrast to ornately designed Victorian greeting cards, those produced under the influence of the Arts & Crafts movement downplayed design and focused on a personal message or greeting.

The second speaker Friday afternoon is Robert Olson. His topic is “Victorian Trade Card Magic.” Robert, a full time professional magician, has a passion for magic of the past, leading him from a museum career at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts to performances in the style of eighteenth and nineteenth century magicians. Robert’s talk is based on his collection of trade cards with themes of magic. Some show children doing tricks, while others expose how tricks were done.

At 8:30 on Sunday morning, John Margolies will delight his audience with “Dreams and Nightmares: The American Hotel.” John is an author, photographer, and historian on American architecture and design. For the past 25 years, he has traveled throughout the United States, looking for both unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and resort architecture. John currently has a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and is studying what he terms “the sterility of today’s corporate built environment.”

American hotels have had a long history serving the needs of travelers in need of rest. They have also been venues for entertainment, celebrations, conventions, and other meetings. Some hotels have housed the best restaurant in town and others have enriched the life of their community in countless ways. Still others have ranged from the purely functional to the abysmal. John will look at the last 125 years of hotels in America, illustrating his talk with images from their ephemera, including brochures, postcards, and contemporary photographs.

Completing the presentations will be Wayne Morgan, a museum curator and independent researcher who concentrates on popular culture. Wayne is a newly-elected member of the Ephemera Society’s board of directors. His talk is entitled “Palmer Cox and the Brownies.” This year marks the 120th anniversary of a little known milestone, the first known occurrence in advertising of the use of a creator’s characters with his permission and to his benefit. The creator was Palmer Cox, a native of Canada, the characters he drew were the Brownies, and the product that was advertised was Ivory Soap. Long recognized as a children’s author and illustrator, Cox in addition played an important role in the development of licensing, using his Brownies in a variety of retail campaigns and advertising markets.

Please mark your calendar for March 19-21, 2004 with a notation to attend Ephemera 24. If you would like to make a reservation at the Hyatt Regency, phone 203-637-1234 and mention the society’s conference to get our special room rate. We look forward to seeing you there!

E. Richard McKinstry
Past President

[This article originally appeared in the Northeast Journal of Antiques & Art.]

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America