Report on Ephemera 22
The Society's annual meeting for 2002 took place at the Hyatt
Regency Hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut, March 15-17.
Leading off the event was our conference, featuring six papers
on such diverse topics as bookmarks, the ephemera generated by
Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker, paper ephemera collections
at the Hagley Museum and Library, the history of Carnegie Hall
through its ephemera, the achievements of Charles A. Lindbergh
told through ephemera associated with his life, and digitizing
addition, there were four exhibitions. "What are These Little
Beauties?" was a show devoted to poster stamps, 1880-1945.
Charles Kiddle organized it, and he covered many topics that have
been advertised and illustrated over the years by poster stamps,
including French aviation, American businesses, World War II,
expositions, ships, transportation, and the list goes on. As well,
he showed several poster stamps about poster stamps.
Ephemera Society member Nancy Rosin curated a show on Valentines
entitled Esther Howland: Mother of the American Valentine,
showing selections from Howlands Worcester, Massachusetts,
shop. The exhibit displayed the variety and range of her products
and included an illustration depicting the making of the cards.
Charles and Nancy did double duty by hosting collector's forums
on their specialties.
A third exhibit highlighted almanacs, spotlighting several special
publications: a temperance almanac from 1845, a German language
one from 1861, and the tried and true farmer's almanac dating
"Telegraph Tunes" showed illustrated sheet music, including
a tune from 1880 called "I am a Western Union Telegraph Boy,"
by Herbert Spencer.
For the first time in recent memory the society held a benefit
auction, raising more than $6,200 to support the educational programs
of our organization. Members very generously contributed items,
and an illustrated catalog listing most of the pieces that were
scheduled to be on the block was circulated to membership in advance
of the auction. Bidding was at times spirited, and we thank Swann
Galleries, an institutional member, for organizing the event.
There were more than 50 lots, including materials that came in
at the last minute. Those individuals wanting engravings and lithographs
of images by William Blake, a manuscript archive of diaries kept
by New Yorker Harry Hopkins in the 1850s and 1860s, items from
the World's Colombian Exposition of 1893, and a Maud Humphrey
calendar were poised to bid. More recent items were a Mao Tse-Tung
panoramic calendar with thirteen portraits of the Chinese leader,
a typed letter signed in 1970 by Lord Mountbatten, and scrapbook
of signatures from political figures-including Harry Truman and
American state governors-from 1949.
At Saturday night's banquet society president Ron Stegall presented
the Maurice Rickards Award, named after the founder of the English
ephemera society and author of the recently published Encyclopedia
of Ephemera. It is given to recognize lifetime achievements in
ephemera collecting, study, exhibition, and conservation. Cal
Otto received the award. Cal was one of the founders of the American
ephemera society, serving in various official capacities over
the years, including president and chairman of the board. He has
discussed the importance of ephemera on Vermont public television,
team taught an ephemera course at Rare Book School at the University
of Virginia, organized exhibitions, written about ephemera, and
chaired the Virginia Festival of the Book.
There were 75 dealers at the ephemera fair, which was held Saturday,
March 16 from 9 AM-5PM and Sunday, the 17th, 11 AM-4 PM. Thanks
to the interest of our new promoters, Tina and John Bruno, proprietors
of Flamingo Promotions, we had 20% more dealers than last year.
They came from as far away as London, England, as close as New
York City. Posters, broadsides, poster stamps, letters, photographs,
illustrated billheads, prints, maps ... you name it and it was
We welcomed over 40 new members during the weekend; many signed
up in order to be admitted to the special members-only show, and
dealers new to the fair joined to support the society. We also
welcomed two corporate supporters: Swann Galleries and Collectibles
Insurance. There were two appraisal sessions, and we featured
a conservation workshop. Finally, President Stegall announced
that the Ephemera Society would be taking part in the forthcoming
meeting of the American Association of State and Local History,
scheduled for later in the year in Portland, Oregon. A panel of
speakers will be extolling the virtues of ephemera collecting
E. Richard McKinstry