Ephemera Journal X
The Journal has been issued every two years
or so since 1987. In the beginning, society members who were interested
in sharing information about ephemera looked forward to producing
a publication devoted to both scholarly and popular discussions
of the origins, production, uses, and study of ephemera.
I, the first step, dealt with the origins of ephemera. Highly
illustrated articles, many of which included color depictions,
featured discussions of Reward of Merit cards, carrier addresses,
trade cards, stickers, printer Louis Prang, and California orange
crate labels. In addition, the first issue of Ephemera Journal
contained a full color poster, entitled "This is Ephemera,"
tipped in at the beginning of the volume.
Volume X continues in the tradition established
sixteen years ago with three informative articles.
Nicolas Ricketts, Ephemera Society vice president
and curator at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York, writes
about collecting contemporary ephemera, something that engages
his attention just about every day in his workplace.
The Strong Museum opened in 1982 with a first-rate
collection of ephemera that documented the 19th century. Today
the Strong Museum has more than 500,000 objects, including the
world's largest and most historically significant collection of
dolls and toys, America's most comprehensive collections of home
crafts and souvenirs, and nationally important collections of
home furnishings and advertising materials and ephemera.
Around 1990, the museum changed its focus, striving
in part to provide its public with a link to more contemporary
materials so that it could better understand the past by exploring
Staff at the Strong began expanding its collecting
activities, including building its ephemera holdings, to areas
that would provide information about the consequences of progress,
expressions of identity, and the rise of the middle class. As
Nic summarizes it: "progress, identity, and class."
Recent exhibitions have had an impact on collection
development. With such shows as "When Barbie Dates GI Joe:
Toying with the Cold War," "Altered States: Alcohol
and other Drugs in America," and "UnEarthing the Secret
Life of Stuff: Americans and the Environment," museum staff
needed to be on the lookout for items that would enhance their
displays. In his article, Nic leads his readers through the marvels
and importance of recently produced ephemeral items that have
been acquired by the Strong Museum for these and other exhibits.
Surveying far different collections, Aneta Firlej-Buzon
of the Institute of Library and Information Science, Wroclaw University,
writes about collecting ephemera in Polish libraries. Her article
offers definitions of the various types of Polish ephemera and
discusses reasons for collecting it. Aneta also considers classification
schemes used to organize collections. She concentrates her attention
on the holdings of the Polish National Library and the eight largest
university libraries in her country.
Aneta points out that staffs of Polish libraries
have a rich heritage of collecting ephemera, beginning their efforts
in the 1880s. Until recent times, however, there was only a handful
of publications describing their collections, and one of them
was her doctoral dissertation. She notes that the main purpose
of assembling collections was and is to create a rich, complete,
and reliable resource for studying the social life of her country.
Finally, Michael Twyman of the Centre for Ephemera
Studies at Reading University in England and the editor of The
Encyclopedia of Ephemera...offers "Chromolithography:
The Legacy of [Old] Europe." Michael has written and lectured
extensively, most notably in America at Rare Book School at the
University of Virginia, where he regularly offers a course on
The theme of his article is how American chromolithography
was influenced by its European forerunners, a topic that Michael
somewhat modestly says is difficult to come to grips with. "The
hope is that by writing about early chromolithography from a European
standpoint it will be possible for others to piece together parts
of the jigsaw from the American end."
Michael's thoughtful essay addresses many areas
under such headings as "Problems of Terminology," "Early
Chromolithographed Publications in Europe," "Chromolithography
Comes of Age," " The Beginning of Chromolithography
in America," and "The Golden Age of American Chromolithography."
The images in his article include European trade
cards, a sheet music cover, a promotional calendar, several prints,
and other illustrations.
Copies of Ephemera Journal X are sent to
members of the Ephemera Society as a benefit of membership. If
you are not a member they are available for $15.00 per copy. Articles
are abstracted in America: History and Life, published
by the American Bibliographical Center, Santa Barbara, California.
E. Richard McKinstry