ESA 37 – American Ingenuity: What’s the Big Idea?

Please join us for our 37th annual conference on March 16–19, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

Ephemera 37 Conference


Registration – Speakers – Exhibitors – Hotel Reservations

Mark your calendar for the Ephemera Society of America’s thirty-sixth annual conference,  “American Ingenuity” What’s the big idea?” on March 16 - 19, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

When Chicago hosted the Columbian Exposition in 1893, the United States led the world in the technology of manufacturing and communications (photography, the telegraph, a prepaid mail system, bicycle travel). By the next Chicago world's fair in 1933, even more "big idea" advances had been made in travel on land and by air. Speakers at our Friday conference - museum curators as well as independent collector/scholars - will present images of inventors and invention, focusing on innovative ideas and how they were disseminated for good (the freedom of bicycle travel) or ill (the chicanery of patent medicine).

After the presentations, there will be an opportunity to meet some of the speakers at a book signing.  Attendees who come early, on Thursday, may attend an important new Ephemera Society event, an afternoon presentation on the use of ephemera by college students in the classroom.

On Saturday and Sunday, ESA will present our widely anticipated Ephemera Fair considered by many the best in the country. The Fair runs from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, however there is an early preview for Ephemera Society members only at 9 am. On Sunday the Fair runs from 11 am to 4 pm. There will be exceptional material from a wide spectrum of knowledgeable and experienced dealers, displaying their freshest and best ephemera relating to the myriad topics ESA members search for. You can attend just the Fair if you are not able or interested in attending the conference. For more information on the Fair click here.

Following the Fair on Saturday, the Ephemera Society will hold its annual fund-raising auction, preceded by cocktails and followed by our banquet, open by reservation to all ESA members.  Our banquet presentation will feature a presentation by Nicolas Ricketts, Curator, The Strong National Museum of Play, who will discuss Innovation in Play. The speaker bios of Ephemera 37 are presented below:


The speaker bios of Ephemera 37 are presented below:

Tom Crouch

Tom D. Crouch is Senior Curator of Aeronautics with the National Air and Space museum. A Smithsonian employee since 1974, he holds degree from Ohio University and Miami University, a PhD from the Ohio State University, and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wright State University. Dr. Crouch is the author/editor of fifteen books and many articles, most dealing with aspects of the history of flight technology. He is the recipient of literary prizes from the Christopher’s, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the New York State Historical Association, and the Aerospace Writers Association.



Diane DeBlois and Robert Dalton Harris

r & d in archives cropDiane DeBlois and Robert Dalton Harris, proprietors of aGatherin,’ are charter members of The Ephemera Society of America. They were awarded the Maurice Rickards medal in 2008, and the American Philatelic Society’s Luff Award for Research in 2016. They wrote the section on telegraph history for Volume 3 of the American Stampless Cover Catalogue in 1993 (that mapped the development of all telegraph lines to the Western Union amalgamation). In 1994, The Ephemera Society published their monograph: An Atlantic Telegraph, The Transcendental Cable.

Russell Lewis

Russell Lewis is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the museum’s mission to creatively explore and showcase Chicago’s history and culture, and to preserve, manage, build, and make accessible to the public, the Chicago History Museum’s collection of more than 22 million documents and objects. He has been a member of the Chicago Historical Society and Chicago History Museum’s staff since 1982. He is author of Historic Photos of Chicago’s World’s Fair published in 2010, has been involved in the development of numerous exhibitions, including Chicago:  Crossroads of America, and has led a number of digitization projects, including The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory, and the online version of The Chicago Encyclopedia. He served as project director for the $27.8 million renovation of the Chicago History Museum.


Larry Lyons

Larry LyonsLarry Lyons is a leading expert on the U.S. Local Posts, and has published a set of identifier books for forgeries of Local Post adhesive labels. He has been editor of The Penny Post, a publication of The Carriers and Locals Society, since 1999, and is Executive Director of the Philatelic Foundation where he has served as a Trustee since 1999. He is a successful exhibitor of philatelic material, winning over 30 Grand Awards and one Champion of Champions competition.




Erika Piola

2016-erika-portrait-psErika Piola is Associate Curator of Prints and Photographs and Co-Director of the Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia. She is editor and contributor to Philadelphia on Stone: Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia, 1828-1878 (2012). Ms. Piola has also presented and published work on American visual culture, 19th-century ephemera, and the antebellum Philadelphia print market. She is on the board of the American Historical Print Collectors Society, and a member of several professional organizations, including the Ephemera Society of America, the Print Council of America, and the Association of Historians of American Art.

Nicolas Ricketts

Nicolas Ricketts is curator of board games, clothing, art and documentary materials at the National Museum of Play at The Strong in Rochester NY, and sits on the board of the Association for Games and Puzzles International. Mr. Ricketts served on the board of The Ephemera Society for many years as director, treasurer and president.


Jeremy Rowe

ESAJRowe portait

Jeremy Rowe has collected, researched, and written about historic photographs for over 30 years, and hosts the web site. Jeremy is a Senior Research Scientist at New York University, President of the Daguerreian Society, and member of the Ephemera Society Board.







Dick Sheaff

Dick Sheaff has served several terms on the Ephemera Society’s board of directors, and currently serves as Vice President. He is a retired graphic and communications designer who worked over the years with numerous businesses, colleges and other clients. Mr. Sheaff designed or art-directed over 500 U.S. postage stamps. He collects many sorts of ephemera, researches various subjects and writes frequent articles, with a particular interest in vintage design and typography. He maintains an ephemera-related, non-commercial website ( )


Lorne Shields

Lorne Shields portrait DSC_2754 2 layers copyLorne Shields was an early member of the Ephemera societies of England and Canada and recently joined the American society. In 1980 he donated the majority of his world-class cycling collection to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. He has exhibited at museums world-wide, including the Smithsonian, and given illustrated presentations at international cycling conferences and photographic and historical societies in Europe, America and Canada. His articles have appeared in the prestigious American journal, The Wheelman, on the developers and development of cycling and its impact on Victorian commerce and social culture.

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