Conference & Fair EPHEMERA/20  March 3-5, 2000

Schedule of Speakers and Presentations

Friday March 3.9:30 A.M.-12:30 p.m.

e-Phemera in the New Century
Ben Crane

During the course of the last few years the Internet has played an ever-increasing role in expanding our access to information. It has grown in popularity due to many and various technological advances, and falling prices have made it possible for many people just about everywhere to purchase their own computers. Seemingly few aspects of our lives remain untouched by the ongoing revolution in the world of electronics, including the selling and buying of ephemera. Ben Crane will discuss where we are with respect to ephemera on the Internet and what might develop as the new century unfolds. He will present some examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly in ephemera Web sites. Following Ben's presentation there will be an opportunity for audience discussion.

Ben Crane has been a member of the Ephemera Society since 1990. A collector of trade cards for more than 30 years, Ben is the author of The Before and After Trade Card, published by the society in 1995. Since retiring from Bell Labs in 1995, Ben has been operating The Trade Card Place, an Internet website. He has also worked with the Trade Card Collectors Association in establishing standards for describing and cataloging trade cards.

Ephemera from the Special Collections and Archives Department, Alexander Library, Rutgers University
Ronald L. Becker

By the time New Jersey had become one of America's original states, printers working there had already produced a significant amount of work. From early colonial times, when printers from New York and Philadelphia set up their presses to print bills of credit, paper currency, and other items, until recent years, New Jerseyans from many generations and walks of life have used or seen a variety of ephemeral material. The Special Collections and Archives Department of Alexander Library, the main research library of Rutgers University, holds the most impressive assemblage of paper ephemera ever to have been assembled connected to the state of New Jersey. Today, Ron Becker shares some of the most significant and little known pieces of ephemeral material from the collections he oversees at Rutgers.

Ron Becker is the head of the Special Collections and Archives Department at Rutgers University, New Jersey's state university. He is a native of Vineland, New Jersey, and a graduate of Duke University and the School of Library Service at Rutgers. Ron has been active in the Society of American Archivists and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, serving as MARAC's president and newsletter editor. Ron began his career as library cataloger at The New Jersey Historical Society more than 25 years ago, and ever since he has been immersed in the ephemera of his native state.

The Great North American Cameo Stamp Project: A Report from the Field
Thomas Beckman

In 1992, the Ephemera Society published Cameo Cards & Bella C. Landauer, a booklet illustrating 200 nineteenth century business cards, some embossed in a manner reminiscent of bas-relief cameo gemstones. Tom Beckman is expanding this project. Having seen nearly 2,500 cameos thus far, he has identified more than 60 of their designers and makers in the United States and Canada. Tom will offer a five-part definition of cameos, or "stamps," as they were called originally, suggest several sources from which they derived, explain how they were simultaneously color-printed and embossed from brass and gutta-percha dies, examine their major design subsets along with a number of variants, comment on the careers of some of the diesinkers who made them, and speculate on their demise.

Tom Beckman is the Registrar at The Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington. Long a member of the Ephemera Society (his name appears in the Society's 1981 directory), he presented a talk at the Society's 1992 conference entitled "Japanese Influences on American Trade Card Imagery and Design, 1875-1890." Tom invites members to bring their cameo cards to his presentation and has agreed to distribute copies of his census on all known cameo stamp makers.

Friday, March 3 2:00-4:00 p.m.

The Ephemeral Nature of Architectural Drawings; or, an Ode to Technology
Lois Olcott Price

Architectural drawings are not created as an end in themselves; they are created to illustrate an architectural concept for a client or provide the graphic information necessary to construct a building. They are, therefore, usually treated as ephemera once the client is sold or the building is completed. While buildings remain fairly constant over time, the physical nature of the drawings themselves has not. American architectural drawings have progressed from carefully rendered images on the best papers to hasty pencil sketches on tracing paper and characterless computer assisted design (CAD) images printed in fugitive inks. The same technological progress is evident in the copies made from drawings which have developed from sturdy blueprints and ink tracings on cloth to diazo prints that fade within months and digital files that become increasingly difficult to access as CAD programs are upgraded. This presentation will explore the ephemeral nature of architectural drawings and their physical progression from permanence to ephemera.

Lois Olcott Price graduated from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture in 1973 and came back several years later to take an MS in art conservation. After working for 13 years as a conservator for the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, she again returned to Winterthur to assume the position of Conservator of Library Collections and Adjunct Professor of Art Conservation for the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. While at the Conservation Center, she received several grants to support research into the fabrication and preservation of American architectural drawings and is currently completing a monograph on the subject.

Images of George Washington
Geo. Gregory Smart

Using images from his own collection, Greg Smart will illustrate two hundred years of our first president as he has lived on in the popular imagination. While being one of the central and preeminent icons of American culture, both the historical and mythic George Washington are illustrated in seldom seen ephemera that broadens the context of national interpretation.

Geo. Gregory Smart is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale, where he was also Scholar of the House. He has presented to the Ephemera Society on two previous occasions, on his research into Rufus Porter, and on the topic: "The Recreation of the American "Indian".

Saturday, March 4 7:30 p.m. Banquet

The Peter Jackson Collection
Peter Jackson

James Boswell tells us that Samuel Johnson once said "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." For almost 50 years Peter Jackson has been collecting material on London, and he now has what is undoubtedly the largest collection of Londoniana in private hands. Peter's collecting began in 1948 when he was hired as an illustrator to produce a regular feature, "London is Stranger than Fiction," for The Evening News . His prints, maps, drawings, books, playbills, medals, ceramics, and a host of other items on London have made Peter an acknowledged expert on the history of the city. Tonight Peter will share some of his collection with us.

Peter Jackson is President of the Ephemera Society of the United Kingdom. Over the years he has provided material from his collection to broadcasting and publishing companies. In demand for public appearances, in 1981, he supplied television commentary on the history of the route used by Prince Charles and Lady Diana for their wedding procession. Peter is the author of London: 2,000 Years of a City and its People and The History of London in Maps.

 

Sunday, March 5 9:00 a.m.

The Catskills Revisited
John Margolies

During the 1970s, John Margolies began to document the Catskill Mountain resorts of New York State. At that time there still was an active resort tradition, though it was coming to an end. People flocked to bungalow colonies, farmhouses, boarding houses, medium-sized hotel blocks, and the huge so-called "Borscht Belt" resorts. By the 1990s nearly all of them had gone out of business, including the venerable Grossinger's and the mammoth Concord Hotel. The major mountain houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries are long gone too, and only the magnificent Mohonk Mountain House remains in all its glory. In this presentation, John draws upon his photographs of this lost world of the Catskills, and he escorts us through a bygone era via vintage postcards, brochures, photographs, correspondence, and travel narratives.

John Margolies is an author, photographer, and historian on American commercial architecture and design. For the past 25 years he has explored the highways and byways of America, searching for both unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and resort architecture. John has written many books and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. The History Channel adapted his book, Highway Hangouts, for a television program. John is currently serving as guest curator for an exhibition entitled "See the USA: Automobile Travel and the American Landscape" at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC.

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