Ephemera Society Member Web Sites
Members of the Ephemera Society have embraced the
Internet, and many of them have their own web sites that reflect
their collecting interests. While all of the sites are informative
and educational, three represent the diversity of ephemera that
appeals to our membership.
Art Groten collects poster stamps and through his
site at http://www.printerstone.com/
tells us what he has, offers help to others as they build their
collections, and provides information about poster stamps.
stamps are what their name implies: stamp sized versions of posters.
Colorful and imaginative, they were popular as a way to advertise
75-100 years ago. Their beginnings were in Europe and they later
caught on in America.
Art began collecting postage stamps when he was
eight years old and over time began to appreciate the collateral
material associated with stamps, including ephemera. Several years
ago he purchased the largest collection of poster stamps in the
United States. As Art writes, "these advertising vignettes
are often miniatures of posters created by the great graphic designers
of their time and are quite wonderful to behold."
Art says that from a hobbyist's point of view, poster stamps are
collectible by a number of criteria, including topic, image, designer,
or whatever else might strike a person's fancy. Stamps are available
depicting sports, schools, home furnishings, celebrations, architecture,
clothing, and the list is virtually limitless.
Art's bibliography on the literature of poster stamps
reveals the range of topics and images found on them. Arranged
by country, the list shows how broad the appeal is for poster
stamps with citations of writings in French, German, English,
Italian, Russian, Swedish, and Norwegian. A good book in English
on poster stamps, though it is out of print, is Lick 'Em, Stick
'Em, by H. Thomas Steele, published in 1989.
Ian Nicholson's web site is devoted to vintage luggage labels,
what he rightly terms "the lost art of travel." It is
located at http://www.vintagelabels.org.
Ian offers a brief essay on the history of travel in which he
discusses why people have traveled, modes of transport, organized
tours, the development of hotels, and the need for luggage for
people to use to carry their clothing and possessions as they
Another essay, "What to Collect," offers insights about
what to consider when putting a collection of luggage labels together.
Ian writes: "They [collections] can be as specific or generalized
as you want. Individual collections illustrate the evolution of
the label and the more focused the collection, the more interesting
it becomes to both the collector and to the observer." For
beginners, Ian suggests going to flea markets and ephemera shows,
establishing price limits, reading about luggage labels, and using
archivally sound supplies for housing their collections.
Ian identifies five types of labels:
Luggage labels are pieces of printed paper used to show the destination
of a piece of luggage. Luggage stickers, dating from the 1950s
onward, customarily have a self-adhesive, peel-off backing and
are printed on bright colored paper; they also show destinations.
Luggage tags, usually made of stiff cardboard, were used by hotels
to route baggage once a guest was in residence. Similar in design
to luggage labels, mailing labels were also used by hotels to
send letters and packages to their customers. Finally, reproductions
of all of these labels are available to collect, reflecting the
recent interest in much that is vintage.
Society members Debra Clifford and Angela Amato appreciate all
kinds of posters, including travel, entertainment, movie, circus,
military, advertising, and sports posters. Their web site is at
By clicking on several categories, site visitors can see a variety
of posters on various topics. For example, American Advertising
shows an anonymously designed Hires Root Beer Poster from the
1940s, a poster designed by Lucille Patterson advertising Royal
Baking Powder, and a poster from circa 1900 for the Maison Fonde
Vineyard in Sandusky, Ohio.
The section on European and French posters includes two samples
from the highly prolific designer Leonetto Cappiello; one advertises
breath mints and the other is for a product that claimed to bring
a person warmth and cure coughs at the same time. A poster from
France is for Lulu Biscuits, dating from around 1897, and a poster
from Bruges, Belgium, "Cycles Lea et Norma," dating
from the early 20th century, shows bicycles.
Debra and Angela show European travel posters from Spain, Portugal,
and Italy as well as from other continents. In addition, they
offer a vintage poster electronic newsletter.
Check out the societys web site for other member sites.
Better yet, become a member so yours can be included!
E. Richard McKinstry