Long Range Plan Redux
In 1999, the board of the Ephemera Society passed
a long range plan that charted the course of the activities of
the organization for five years, through 2004 and up to the society's
25th birthday celebrations, forthcoming in 2005.
The vision was clear. Members of the board
identified the society as "an acknowledged leader in promoting
the collecting, study, preservation, and exhibition of paper ephemera."
Further, the board dedicated its efforts to "maintaining
its [the society's] preeminent position by continually providing
opportunities for enhancing the appreciation of ephemera as an
important part of America's cultural tradition."
The mission of the society was and is to cultivate
an interest in ephemera and the history identified with it; to
further the understanding and appreciation of ephemera by people
of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of interest; to promote collecting;
to contribute to the cultural life of those who have an interest
in the past; and, as an organization, to serve as a link among
collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars.
The board wanted to increase membership and to more
evenly distribute it geographically across the United States.
While most members still come from the Northeast corridorMaine
to Washington, DCthe society made significant gains in the
West thanks to regional meetings in California, participation
in the annual meeting of the American Association for State and
Local History in Portland, Oregon in 2002, and our presence at
the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print, and Paper Fair early
We increased the number of life members to seven,
and the number of people in other premium membership categories
now includes almost 100 individuals. Institution, library,
and museum members number about 70. The society includes
34 international members from eight foreign countries, including
Canada, England, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, and
Mexico. Plus, there are two corporate sponsors, thanks to
a special initiative designed to attract support from the for-profit
Recognizing the need to keep up in an ever advancing
electronic age, the board authorized the development of a web
Recently redesigned, the site features areas devoted to society
events, publications, articles, and exhibitions, a question-answer
section, society store, schedules of conferences, a bibliography
of ephemera writings, and links to other web sites on ephemera.
Attesting to the importance of the site, the society now attracts
most of its new members online. In 2002, the web site received
a Golden Web Award for excellence from the American Association
In addition to offering online resources, the society
maintains its active publications program with improved numbers
of Ephemera News, a quarterly that now features splashes
of color, and Ephemera Journal, a scholarly periodical
issued every two years and now abstracted for the academic community
in publications issued by the American Bibliographical Center-CLIO
Press. Other society publications include an annual membership
directory and, most lately, catalogs issued to accompany auctions
at our annual meetings.
For the first time, the society established an archive
of its records, dating from 1980, reasoning that if we existed
to publicize the importance of ephemera in our nation's history,
we should likewise consider our own records important enough to
maintain. From a few boxes, the archive has grown to number
24; in addition, there are dozens of books on ephemera in the
archive. Members very kindly donated memorabilia they had
from years past, we assembled full runs of society publications,
and to add an international component we acquired all issues of
The Ephemerist, the English ephemera society's quarterly
newsletter. The archive is located in the library of Winterthur
Museum, near Wilmington, Del., and is open to anyone wishing to
In 1999, Northeast Journal editor Harold
Hanson approached the society about contributing a monthly column.
As president at the time, it was easy for me to say yes and to
assume the responsibility of writing them. Over the course
of six years, the Journal has published nearly 60 pieces,
ranging from reports about our various conferences and fairs to
a column on the bibliography of ephemera, from a brief historical
sketch of the society to a report on the 25th anniversary celebration
of the English ephemera society in London at the Russell Hotel,
which I attended. As I end this final column, I thank Harold
for the opportunity to publicize the Ephemera Society's activities.
We have almost 25 years behind us; many more lie ahead in which
the society will move forward, engaging the interests of new generations
E. Richard McKinstry
PS: Congratulations to the Poster Stamp Society
for having such a successful meeting in St. Louis. Read all about
it in the April 2004 issue of The Poster Stamp Bulletin.