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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ephemera

Ephemera is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, prospectuses, stock certificates, tickets and magazines. Decks of personality identification playing cards from the war in Iraq are a recent example.

In library and information science, the term ephemera also describes the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use. This classification excludes simple letters and photographs with no printing on them, which are considered manuscripts or typescripts. Large academic and national libraries and museums may collect, organize, and preserve ephemera as history. A particularly large and important example of such an archive is the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

postcards

When applied to collectibles, ephemera refers to the minor transient documents of everyday life. Greeting cards, product labels, tickets, calendars, invitations and paper dolls are classic forms of paper ephemera.
But not all ephemera can be regarded as minor or even transient. Birth and marriage certificates, mourning cards, banknotes, sheet music, manuscripts and bookplates are examples of ephemera with considerable importance to the user or owner. Baseball cards, holiday ornaments, paper dolls and souvenir items are also considered ephemera, yet they were designed to be kept.
Some ephemera were deliberately preserved in family albums or attic trunks because they were beautiful images, held sentimental value or marked an event of historical importance. Trade-cards, die-cut scraps, invitations and newspaper articles are some examples. Still other forms of ephemera were inadvertently saved by routine storage year after year. Billheads, catalogs and annual reports come to mind. Whether by intention or accident, ephemera survive as treasures of material culture and as reminders of our past and present history.

Ephemera Links

Ephemera Society of Americahttp://www.ephemerasociety.org

The Ephemera Society of America, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed in 1980 to cultivate and encourage interest in ephemera and the history identified with it; to further the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of ephemera by people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of interest; to promote the personal and institutional collection, preservation, exhibition, and research of ephemeral materials; to serve as a link among collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars; and to contribute to the cultural life of those who have an interest in our heritage as a nation or a people, both nationally and internationally.

Collector Groups

The American Antique Deck Collectors Club http://www.52plusjoker.org/

American Matchcover Collecting Club http://www.matchcovers.com/

American Philatelic Society http://www.stamps.org/

Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum http://www.pierce-arrow.com

The English Playing Card Society http://www.wopc.co.uk/epcs/

The Ephemera Network http://ephemera.ning.com

Golden Glow of Christmas Past http://my.execpc.com/~gmoe/gg-web2

The International Playing-Card Society http://www.pagat.com/ipcs/index.html

Museum of World War II http://www.museumofworldwarii.com

Poster Stamps Collector Club http://www.posterstampcc.org

Typepad http://ephemera.typepad.com

Ecrater Ning http://ecrater.ning.com/group/ephemera

 

Professional Organizations

American Antiquarian Society http://www.americanantiquarian.org

American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors http://www.aape.org

American Historical Print Collectors Society http://www.ahpcs.org

American Bookbinders Museum http://www.bookbindersmuseum.com

Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America http://www.abaa.org/

American Philatelic Society http://www.stamps.org

American Printing History Association http://www.printinghistory.org/

Association for Research Libraries
A book and Web site presenting illustrated and highly readable profiles of selected rare and special collections available for use in the major research libraries of North America. http://www.celebratingresearch.org/

American Textile History Museum http://www.athm.org

Centre for Ephemera Studies, University of Reading, England http://www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/lt/home.html

Ephemera Society of Austria http://members.aon.at/ephemera/

Ephemera Society of the UK http://www.ephemera-society.org.uk/

Folger Shakespeare Library http://www.folger.edu

Historic New England/SPNEA http://www. historicnewengland.org

The Library Company of Philadelphia http://www.librarycompany.org

Manuscript Society http://www.manuscript.org/

Professional Autograph Dealers Association http://www.padaweb.org/

Musée de l’imprimerie http://www.imprimerie.lyon.fr

Writing Equipment Society http://www.wesonline.org.uk

Conservation

The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works http://aic.stanford.edu/

Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts http://www.ccaha.org/

Graphic Conservation Company http://www.GraphicConservation.com

http://graphicconservation.blogspot.com/

Northeast Document Conservation Center http://nedcc.org/

 

I love the diverse field that comes with ephemera, no matter where you look, ephemera is everywhere..

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