Phil Jones Fellowship2013 Ephemera Society of America
Philip Jones Fellowship Announcement

The Ephemera Society of America invites applications for the Philip Jones Fellowship for the Study of Ephemera. This competition, now in its sixth year, is open to any interested individual or organization for the study of any aspect of ephemera, defined as minor (and sometimes major) everyday documents intended for one-time or short-term use. It is expected that this study will advance one or more aims of the Society:

  • To cultivate and encourage interest in ephemera and the history identified with it
  • To further the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of ephemera by people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of interest
  • To promote the personal and institutional collection, preservation, exhibition, and research of ephemeral materials
  • To serve as a link among collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars
  • To contribute to the cultural life of those who have an interest in our heritage as a nation or a people, both nationally and internationally

The $1,000 stipend can be applied to travel and/or study expenses, but cannot be used to purchase ephemera. How the stipend will be used; the expected form and outcome of the project and its relationship to ephemera; when and how the outcome will be disseminated; and its benefit to furthering the goals of the ESA should be clearly stated in the application.

Ephemera includes a vast amount of paper material such as advertisements, airsickness bags, baseball cards, billheads, bookmarks, bookplates, broadsides, cigar box labels and bands, cigarette cards, clipper ship cards, board and card games, greeting cards, sheet music, maps, calendars, blotters, invitations, luggage labels, menus, paper dolls, postcards, posters, puzzles and puzzle cards, stock certificates, tickets, timetables, trade cards, valentines, watch papers, and wrappers. These are but a handful of examples. Please see the ESA website at for more information about ephemera.

The fellowship selection criteria include: 1. the significance of the project; 2. the project's relationship to ephemera and the mission of the Ephemera Society of America; 3. how the project will be shared with ESA members and the general public; 4. evidence of the applicant’s ability to disseminate the results of the project effectively through scholarly or other articles, presentations, exhibitions, etc.; and 5. how the applicant will use the stipend.

Examples of previously funded proposals include:

  • A study of Charles Magnus, one of the most prolific printers of ephemera in the nineteenth century
  • A study of an ephemeral guidebook, The Negro Motorists Green Book, demonstrating how black Americans adapted to changes resulting from the automobile and the interstate highway system during the era of segregation
  • An elementary school teacher's project using ephemera to interest children in the social history of various cultures. View a copy of the elementary school curriculum developed by 2010 Awardee Laura Hand Donahue.
  • A study of the Victorian custom of exchanging snippets of hair and its relationship to archival documentation
  • A study of black church fans and their significance in shaping African American identity and community life in America

Applications are due December 1, 2012. Specific application instructions for this fellowship can be downloaded here. In order for an application to be considered, these instructions must be followed.

The applicant's resume, submitted as part of the application, should include the applicant's experience and proven ability to carry out this project and disseminate its results. The completed application should be sent electronically to: Decisions will be reported to the successful individual or organization by March 10, 2013, and will be announced at the Society's annual meeting and conference, March 15-17, 2013, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

The successful candidate will have one year to complete the project, and will be required to submit two written reports to the Board of the Ephemera Society: an interim progress report due September 10, 2013, and a final report due March 10, 2014. The winner may also be asked to write an article about the project for an issue of the Society's The Ephemera Journal, and/or prepare a presentation about the project for the following year's annual conference.

To download Application Packet Instructions and an Example of how to format your cover sheet, click here.

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   © 2012 The Ephemera Society of America