by Richard McKinstry

Broadsides are pieces of paper printed on one side, and they were issued to convey messages. Usually published without illustrations or downplaying them in favor of text and vignettes, broadsides were customarily posted in prominent locations for as many people as possible to see. They promoted sales of countless forms of merchandise, announced the arrival of new products, proclaimed when meetings would take place, reminded their readers of current events, and served a host of other purposes. Broadsides were an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience and were a major instrument for communicating before the development of mass media. Truly ephemeral in nature, broadsides were mostly intended for immediate use and then discarded.

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America