March 19-22, 2015
9 a.m.– 5 p.m. — Board of Directors’ meeting, Belle Haven conference room.
6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. — Board reception for early arrivals. Join old and new friends, and be fresh for the conference that begins Friday morning.
Four morning conference sessions: Roundhill Room
Welcome and Introduction
Barbara Loe, Chairman and Nancy Rosin, ESA President
19th Century Baseball Ephemera: Early Marketing of the National Pastime
In 1869 Peck & Snyder, a New York City sporting goods purveyor, issued one of the earliest baseball trade cards with a sepia photo of the undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings team on the front. They were the first professional (paid) team and that year had barnstormed across America with a 57-0 record. The Peck & Snyder card fueled the production of baseball themed ephemera ranging from cigar labels, and postal covers, to sheet music and games.
A devoted baseball fan, historian, and vintage card collector, Michael Peich is Emeritus Professor of English at West Chester University (Pennsylvania). The proprietor of Aralia Press, a fine printing imprint that issues contemporary poetry, he co-founded the West Chester University Poetry Conference, and established the WCU Poetry Center. His website devoted to early 20th century Southern minor league cards is t209-contentnea.com.
10:00 a.m. — 10:15 a.m. Break
Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport.
Competitive walking was the most popular spectator sport in the United States in the 1870s and 1880s. Inside sold-out arenas, competitors walked around dirt tracks, practically nonstop for six straight days, in matches that were as talked about as the weather. Pedestrianism spawned America’s first celebrity athletes who earned fortunes in prize money and endorsement deals, and who were promoted with broadsides, handbills, trading cards, and other ephemera.
Matthew Algeo, a journalist who has reported from four continents for some of the most popular public radio programs in the United States, writes about unusual events in American history. The title of this presentation is his most recent book. Algeo has also held jobs as a convenience store clerk, a gas station attendant, a Halloween costume salesman, a proofreader, and even a hot dog vendor in a traveling circus.
The Crucial Role of Ephemera in Tracing Black Basketball History
The history of African Americans in basketball prior to the formation of the National Basketball Association (from 1904 through 1950 known as the Black Fives Era) would be difficult to trace, examine, or preserve without access to a small but growing archive of related ephemera maintained by The Black Fives Foundation. Included is the parallel cultural context, the business models used, the fans’ perspective, the level of media acceptance, and the stories of individual pioneers.
Claude Johnson is President & Executive Director of the Black Fives Foundation, using the pre-1950 history of African-American basketball to engage, teach, and inspire youth, while honoring its pioneers and their descendants. He was guest curator of “The Black Fives,” a museum exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. His book, Black Fives: The Alpha Physical Culture Club, documents a pioneering all-black basketball team.
The Selling of Sport / The Sport of Selling — Vintage Sports Posters
From the final decade of the 19th century through the end of the 1930s, posters promoting sports and physical leisure were a staple in the advertising campaigns of the great European railway companies. Meant to entice travelers to exotic destinations (selling seats on trains) today these images remain as glorious reminiscences of an earlier time when sport was more glamorous.
Nicholas D. Lowry is President and Principal Auctioneer of Swann Auction Galleries in New York City — the third generation in this family-owned business and the youngest auction house president in the world. He has served for fifteen years as appraiser on the PBS television show Antiques Roadshow; currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art; and has served an unprecedented three terms as President of the International Auctioneers Association.
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Four afternoon conference sessions:
Victorian Tabletop Games and the Cult of Manliness
The rise of the American parlor game industry during the second half of the 19th century paralleled the fervid expansion of physical culture. Muscular Christians—fearful of the feminization of the church, wary of immigrant hordes and degeneracy in the expanding urban centers —called upon men to take up the mantle of manliness. Games appeared that celebrated baseball, bicycling, arctic expeditioning, and the Rough Riders: evocative box covers and boards celebrated bodily vigor and lent the veneer of pulse-quickening thrills to what were sometimes pedestrian race games.
Rebecca Klassen is a research associate in decorative arts at the New-York Historical Society, where for the past year she has been curating rotations of The Games We Played: American Board and Table Games from the Liman Collection Gift. She received her M.A. from the Bard Graduate Center in the history of decorative arts, design, and material culture.
Book-Based Games and Game-Based Books in 19th Century America
Game production of the 19th century reflected the popular cultural expectations of children, the booming strides made by publishers to provide richly visual paper toys, and the rise of an American national children’s print market. Examples include the popular game Dr. Busby, and spin off book both by Anne Abbot; the paper doll/book set of Fanny Gray by artist John Greene Chandler; games based on the popular novels Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and The Lamplighter; and games inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s charismatic St. Nick.
Laura Wasowicz is Curator of Children’s Literature at the American Antiquarian Society, since 1987 overseeing the collection of 26,000 American children’s books issued between 1650 and 1899. She has written articles on various aspects of 19th century American children’s book publishing, picture book iconography, and child reading habits, and is editor of the Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Book Trade Directory, available on the AAS website.
3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Break
Go Play Outside! 1950s/60s Conservation Ephemera
In the 1950s and early 1960s conservation organizations began to move away from their traditional constituencies of hunters, anglers, and wildlife managers towards younger audiences, encouraging play based on outdoor exploration, bird-watching, photography, wildlife journaling, and other forms of non-traditional recreation. In doing so they created a universe of bright, colorful, visually-driven ephemera such as stamps and albums, brochures, kits, posters, books, and magazines.
Daniel Gifford, Ph.D. is the Manager of Museum Advisory Committees at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and a regular contributor to public history programs such as the Smithsonian Associates and the Ultimate History Project. He teaches courses on American popular culture through the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. His 2013 book was American Holiday Postcards 1905-1915: Imagery and Context.
Baseball, Beards, Bands, and the Babes: The House of David and Mary’s City of David
The Israelite House of David and Mary’s City of David barnstorming baseball teams were part of the missionary outreach of religious groups based at Benton Harbor, Michigan from 1903. They were celibate, vegetarian, did not cut their hair or beards, and owned property communally. To accommodate tourists, the colony established an amusement park and eventually a baseball stadium. The Israelite teams played against other independents, including the Negro Leagues, and their popularity into the 1950s included associations with Babe Ruth, Babe Didrikson, and Satchel Paige.
Christian Goodwillie is immediate past President of the Communal Studies Association. He is Director and Curator of Special Collections at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and serves as Associate Editor of the Richard W. Couper Press. He was Curator of Collections at Hancock Shaker Village from 2001-2009. He has authored, co-authored, or edited eight books and a number of articles on the Shakers and other topics.
Meet the Authors!
Book signings of notable books from our speakers and members will immediately follow the conference outside of Roundhill.
• 2:30 p.m. — Dealer Set-up
• 7–8 p.m. — Silent Auction Preview in Roundhill.
SATURDAY — Ephemera Fair Opens today!
• 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Silent Bid Auction in Roundhill. Many Lots. Bid early and often!
• 8:15 a.m. — Memberships will be sold at the Ephemera Society desk at the entrance to the fair in the Grand Ballroom.
• 9 a.m. — Members-only fair preview ($10) for the Society’s 35th Annual Ephemera Fair in Grand Ballroom. Please have your membership card available.
• 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Collector exhibits will be displayed in main hallway opposite ESA registration desk.
• 10 a.m. — General public entry. Admission is $14.
• 5 p.m. — Fair closes; reopens 11 a.m. Sunday.
• 5:30 p.m. — Silent Auction final bids close in Roundhill Room.
• 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. — Cash Bar outside Mead ABC.
• 6 p.m. — Live Auction outside Mead ABC — Auctioneer: George Fox
• 7:00 p.m. — Ephemera 35 Banquet and Presentation — Mead ABC. Reservations required.
A conference registration form is attached.
After Dinner Presentation
The Royal Game of the Goose – Road to Ruin or Pathway to Paradise?
The earliest Game of the Goose is on an Italian game of 1598. Although a simple roll-and-move dice game, Goose has spawned thousands of variants and in Europe is still going strong. Was this just a game for drinking and gambling – or are the symbolic mysteries of its spiral track meant to guide you to paradise? And how does its long history link up with The Mansion of Happiness, one of the earliest American printed games?
Adrian Seville is an international expert on the history of printed board games. An exhibition of his collection of the Game of the Goose is planned for February 2016 at the Grolier Club of New York. He has lectured at the School of Advanced Study of the University of London, and has advised the Bodleian Library (John Johnson Collection), the Rothschild (National Trust) Collection at Waddesdon Manor, and contributed to a study day at the Cluny Museum (Paris).
Members annual meeting, Mead AB
All members are urged to attend.
Exhibitors who prepared an exhibit will have the opportunity to describe the theme of their exhibit, why they selected the particular pieces, and what the significance of those pieces are.
• 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. — Ephemera Fair in the Grand Ballroom.
• 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. — Exhibits will be displayed in main hallway opposite ESA registration desk.
• 1:00 p.m. – 3 p.m. — Ephemera appraisals ($5 each)
• 4 p.m. — Ephemera 35 closes.