Summer 2003 issue of The Ephemerist, the journal of the
British ephemera society, is devoted to London as a tribute to
the late Peter Jackson, founding member and past chairman of the
British society. In March 2003, the American ephemera society
honored Peter and his wife, Valerie Jackson Harris, by giving
them the Maurice Rickards Award for achievement in the world of
ephemera, the highest award the organization bestows.
Peter's passion as a collector was London, and over
the years he amassed what is probably the largest privately held
collection of ephemera ever put together on the city. In 2000,
Peter gave the banquet address at Ephemera 20, the American society's
annual conference and fair held in Greenwich, Connecticut, highlighting
the many treasures of his collection.
The Summer 2003 issue of The Ephemerist contains
six articles, including collecting ephemera on cricket, the Thames
Tunnel, the Crystal Palace, an exhibition at the British Museum,
posters, and the collection of ephemera at the Museum of London.
Interspersed among all of the words are many illustrations, adding
visual luster to their topics.
The Ephemerist has been published since November
1975, and the current issue is number 122. A complete run is available
in the archives of the American ephemera society, located in the
library of the Winterthur Museum, near Wilmington, Delaware.
Over the years The Ephemerist has contained
countless announcements of society sponsored events, advertisements,
reviews, and articles; Peter Jackson, himself, was responsible
for responding to many questions in the "Notes & Queries"
section. One article from the journal in particular has an appeal
to ephemerists everywhere, regardless of where they are from or
what they collect. The author, who wishes to remain anonymous,
has given a stamp of approval for it to be reprinted here. It
first appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of The Ephemerist.
Ephemera and the Compulsive Reader
It is a well-known fact that the most interesting item in the
newspaper is the one which lies on the kitchen floor, preferably
upside down. Similarly, the possible side-effects of the new ointment
or medicine become of greater interest when the accompanying leaflet
is hanging out of the wastepaper basket. But surely it is breakfast
time when the compulsive reader is most hungry, and the cereal
packet is there to meet the need. What are those encouraging figures
of vitamin contentcornflakes enriched with iron, comparative
amounts of caloriesas enjoyed by the famous sportsman or
pop singer? They are there to be studied, before the papers and
the post arrive: the history of the product, a fascinating glimpse
of its making, twice baked, and shot from guns, grown in the rich
heartlands of Utopia, picked by local people in a sun-drenched
landor is that the tea packet?
Don't miss the free offersplastic cups if you send two
coupons and 90p P&Pbut how does that compare with X's
offer of a striped apron, or Y's set of dinosaurs? These questions
must be seriously addressed.
The junk mail arriving on the mat includes a new logo on the
charity appealpause to see if it is done by what's his name.
Working out the instructions on the DIY kit for assembling new
bookshelves, it becomes imperative first to study the enclosed
leaflet in four languages, exercising rusty skills by checking
out the equivalent words in French, Spanish and Dutchor
is it Swedish?
The family in the next street is wishing to extend their garage,
or the back porchcan't make out the official form posted
on their fence, but there's quite a bit to read there, and also
a notice on the tree about a lost ? with brown ears, answering
to the name of ?, manuscript illegible.
Time waiting at the bus stop is never wasted when the shelter
is plastered with group flyers with ingenious new titles. And
there's a handy phone box for that just remembered call which
may reveal new attractions.
Fortunately for the compulsive reader, the supply is never ending:
ephemera is all around us.
[signed] An Addict
E. Richard McKinstry
[This article originally appeared in the Northeast
Journal of Antiques & Art.]