Report on Ephemera 23
From March 14-16, 2003, the Ephemera Society held
Ephemera 23, its annual conference and fair; and, on the 13th,
the Board of Directors had its annual day-long meeting. The society
once again enjoyed the hospitality and ambiance of the Hyatt Regency
Hotel in Greenwich, Connecticut.
On Friday, there were four papers on a variety of
topics, including "Photographic Ephemera," by collector
Matthew Isenberg; "Hooked on Ephemera: History 101 from the
Real World, or Why Academic Institutions Collect Ephemera,"
by Robert Volz, who works at the Chapin Library at Williams College;
"Ephemera Tales: Touchstones to the Past" by Barbara
Rusch, president of the Ephemera Society of Canada; and "John
H. Starin's Glen Island Resort: Marketing the Victorian Middle
Class," by Michael Zmuda.
Sunday morning, Anthony M. Sammarco delivered a
talk entitled "S.S. Pierce: Nineteenth Century Gourmand,"
and Elvin Montgomery followed with "African American Ephemera."
For the first time, the presentations were videotaped.
Stay tuned for particulars about availability and ordering instructions.
This year the society gave its Maurice Rickards
Award to Peter Jackson and Valerie Jackson Harris. The Rickards
Award is the highest honor the society bestows, and past winners
have included dealers, collectors, and library and museum professionals
who have distinguished themselves in the world of ephemera. Peter,
a native of England and best known for his collection of London
ephemera, also holds the Pepys Medal, the highest recognition
of the English ephemera society. He is a trustee of the Foundation
for Ephemera Studies, former chair of the Ephemera Society of
England, and an accomplished author and broadcaster. His wife,
Valerie, is the proprietor of Quadrille, a well known business
on Portobello Road, London, that specializes in ephemera and other
The society also recognized Jean Berg with a special
appreciation award for her many years of service to the Ephemera
Society and for her tireless promotion of ephemera collecting
as a dealer.
The society's auction, held Saturday evening after
a buffet dinner and awards presentations, featured 163 lots. Gary
Garland of Swann Galleries presided. Thanks to the generosity
of society members who donated items and their time to the auction
and those in the audience who placed bids, the society raised
more than $5,000 to support its education programs.
Over the years the society has staged exhibits at
its annual conference and fair, and Ephemera 23 was no exception.
Shows included "Adirondack Hotels," curated by Arthur
Groten, "Rare American Magazines," by Steven Lomazow,
and "Dance: the Universal Language," by Bonnie Singer.
Elvin Montgomery and Barbara Rusch did double duty, adding to
their contributions as speakers by organizing exhibits; Elvin's
was called "A Sampling of Afro-American Ephemera," and
Barbara's was "Goddesses and Whores."
John and Tina Bruno, owners of Flamingo Promotions
and promoters of the society's fair, wrote about it in advance,
saying "The Finest Internationally Prominent Purveyors of
Vintage Paper & Ephemera from around the world will gather
in the Grand Ballroom of this four star hotel [the Greenwich Hyatt
Regency] to offer the discerning collector the rarest merchandise,
the select find and the absolute best in the world of Ephemera.
Do not miss this one!" The Brunos were right. Seventy dealers
showed their wares, and for the first time in recent memory, there
was a waiting list of vendors, hoping to take part.
In addition, the weekend featured a session of evaluations
on Sunday afternoon, where anyone coming to Ephemera 23 could
have their collections appraised. And, there was a collector's
forum, organized by society vice president Nicolas Ricketts, and
a special discussion about trade cards.
The board reinforced its many commitments to the
society's programs. Board members, among other things, pledged
to work on expanding the regional presence of the society by conducting
local meetings in various parts of the country; discussed a redesign
of the society's web site, which attracts many new members, to
make it even more attractive and informative; recognized the need
to recruit corporate supporters; and committed themselves to fostering
growth by seeking a higher level of donations and grant support
and by endorsing a special initiative, "Each One Reach One,"
to encourage every society member to recruit one new member between
now and 2005.
Ephemera 24 will take place next year at the Hyatt
Regency in Greenwich, March 19-21, 2004. We look forward to seeing
many of you there.
E. Richard McKinstry