“the minor transient documents of everyday life.”
To collectors “ephemera” are vintage printed or written items which originally served some specific purpose and were not expected to be retained or preserved, but which are now cherished. The study of ephemera is a growing research focus.1
Ephemera include air transport labels; bank checks; bingo cards; bookmarks; broadsides; bus tickets; catalogs; concert programs; envelopes; flyers; maps; menus; pamphlets; paper dolls; postcards; QSL cards; receipts; sheet music; stamps; theater programs; ticket stubs; valentines
The Ephemera Society (UK)
The Ephemera Society (UK) selects an “Item of the Month,”2 publishes a blog, and has a queries feature.
The Society’s emblem represents Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), Secretary to the Admiralty and celebrated diarist. Pepys's collection of ephemera included trade cards, board games and labels as well as ballads and other street literature. Surviving in two large albums at Magdalene College, Cambridge, are over one thousand items he kept to illustrate his daily life in London.
The Ephemera Society of America
The Ephemera Society of America publishes a journal, highlights exhibits, and has a calendar of events.3 Upcoming events include:
Airliners International Conference and Airline Collectibles Show
Denver Postcard & Paper Show
Wichita International Postcard and Paper Americana Show and Sale.
John M. Wing Foundation Printing Ephemera Collection
The Newberry Library, John M. Wing Collection on the History of Printing includes many examples of printed ephemera of all periods from the fifteenth century to today The collection includes advertising materials, artists’ books, book jackets, booklets, bookmarks, brochures, business cards, business reply cards, catalogs, envelopes, flyers, greetings cards, journal issues, keepsakes, letterheads, order forms, posters, prospectuses, proofs, and other materials issued by publishers, printers, government entities, advertising agencies, freelance artists, book sellers, libraries, universities, associations, clubs, and other organizations and companies. 4
Blessing, M., Jacobs, S., Kapler, J. and Timke, E. (2019), “Advertising in the archives: the Wisconsin historical society”, Advertising and Society Quarterly, Vol. 20 No. 4; Beard, F.K. (2018), “Archiving the archives: the world’s collections of historical advertisements and marketing ephemera”, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 86-106.