Noteworthy Members

The Ephemera Society has about 1,000 members from 45 states (unfortunately, none from Hawaii, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and West Virginia) and 10 foreign countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, England, Germany, Norway, and Spain. We have our share of Browns, Joneses, and Smiths, and our members are named Bopp, Kopp, and Popp. We have varied backgrounds as collectors and are interested in many kinds of paper ephemera.

Society members have contributed their skills to countless endeavors over the years, and the names of many members are recognizable for their achievements. Three who are especially noteworthy are John Margolies, John Bruno, and Harry Rinker.

John Margolies is an author, photographer, and historian specializing in American commercial architecture and design. For the past 25 years he has explored the highways and byways of America, searching for both unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and resort architecture.

John has written many books, the latest entitled See the USA: The Art of the American Travel Brochure. He has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyeth Endowment for American Art, and the Howard Gilman Foundation. In 1978, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded John a fellowship in architectural criticism.

In 1998, the History Channel telecast a two-hour program on aspects of roadside architecture and design, Highway Hangouts: Celebrating Roadside America, based upon John's work. Most recently, John served as guest curator for an exhibition entitled "See the USA: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape" at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC. John's other exhibitions have been shown at such venues as Lincoln Center, The Building Centre Trust in London, Eng., and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

John actively lectures before civic organizations, historical societies, and museums, as well as at American, Canadian, and English colleges and universities. The Ephemera Society has been fortunate enough to have had John deliver talks on American motels, gas stations, and the Catskills at our annual conferences during the past three years.

John Bruno comes to ephemera by way of dealing antiques. He and his wife, Tina, are the owners of Flamingo Promotions, a business that annually manages 25 antiques and collectibles shows on Long Island, Manhattan, upstate New York, and New Jersey. The lion's share of their shows are conducted for the benefit of community and non-profit organizations.

As we head into a new millennium, John's research focus remains in the twentieth century. He is especially interested in the design of home furnishings, popular culture, and vintage clothing. John's activities in the world of collectibles and his current interests are somewhat removed from his formal academic training and earlier career. Holding an MS in aerospace engineering, an MA in marketing communications, and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, John was employed for 20 years with NASA/Grumman in spacecraft engineering, design, and marketing.

In August 1999, John began to appear on PAX-TV's Treasures in Your Home, an interactive television program, as the show's appraiser. Prior to Treasures in Your Home, for four years John was senior appraiser on the FX Network's Personal FX-The Collectibles Show.

John and Tina have been featured in Newsday, Long Island's daily newspaper, and with Bill Beutel on "Eyewitness News," on WABC-TV in New York City.

Harry Rinker is the proprietor of Rinker Enterprises, located in Vera Cruz, Pa. Raised in Pennsylvania German country, Harry was imbued with a sense of history from an early age. He cannot recall a time when he did not collect. Over the years Harry has assembled collections of historical documents, author-signed books, postcards, catalogs, and Pennsylvania German materials. He also has an impressive collection on Hopalong Cassidy.

Harry is the author of many books on collecting, most recently publishing new editions of volumes on flea market treasures and country antiques and collectibles. As well, Harry's various price guides are recognized for their excellence.

Harry has been on many television programs, including appearances on the ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows, on Wall Street Week, and with Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. In addition, he had his own show, Rinker on Collectibles, which aired on WFMZ-TV in Allentown, Pa. Harry is on the radio regularly with a program called Watcha Got?, a phone-in show that is heard on stations from the East Coast into the mid-west; it is also broadcast on the Internet.

Traveling throughout the country, Harry maintains a busy schedule doing appraisal clinics and lecturing, and through his Institute for the Study of Antiques and Collectibles, he offers Elderhostel study sessions.

Whether lecturing, writing, organizing exhibitions, or appearing on television and radio, John Margolies, John Bruno, and Harry Rinker exemplify the best of the Ephemera Society's membership.

E. Richard McKinstry

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

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America