Long-Range Plan

The Ephemera Society's board of directors passed a long-range plan last October 1999 that outlines what we will be doing during the next five years and summarizes what our aspirations are for the organization as we enter a new century and millennium.

The single most important component of the Ephemera Society is its membership. We have grown from just a few members in 1980 to approximately 1,000 today. Most of us live in the northeast corridor, Maine to Washington, DC, and in California. The society wishes to grow to include a wider and more diverse membership and to strengthen its status as an educational organization. We are in the midst of a number of initiatives that we hope will result in adding numbers to the membership rolls.

We have established an archives at the Winterthur Museum to maintain a permanent record of our past. Members have been asked to contribute their memorabilia, and we are depositing new publications and other papers as they are now created. Since the Ephemera Society is dedicated to keeping the past alive by publicizing the importance of ephemera in the understanding of our nation's history, we thought it would have been highly ironic if we did not try to keep our own history alive through an archival program.

Since its inception, the Ephemera Society has been a strong advocate for the study of ephemera. To further ephemera research and to emphasize its importance in the eyes of the society, we hope to establish a short-term fellowship program open to researchers working on projects that will lead to publication, including articles, books, dissertations, and exhibition catalogs. We need to build an endowment to support this program.

Publications have been important for the society ever since its inception. During the next five years, we will be reviewing our publications program. Not only will we be looking at the kinds of things we issue, but also we will be investigating how to produce our publications in the most economical way without sacrificing quality.

The Ephemera Society hosts an annual conference and fair each year, usually in mid-March. Customarily, we attract 85-100 dealers to the fair, which is open Saturday and Sunday, and we schedule seven talks over the course of three days at the conference. A Saturday evening banquet, featuring a speaker, is a social highlight. Over the course of twenty years, we have met in five different locations, most recently in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. We plan to continue this event, and in an effort to make it better each year, we will regularly review its venue.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the next five years is the planned development of the Ephemera Society's web site. In its infancy now, the site includes a membership application; short essays about and images of various kinds of ephemera; the schedule of our upcoming conference; an order form for Rewards of Merit, a monograph published by the society; an article on ephemera that originally appeared in AB Bookman; and all of these news features from the Northeast Journal. We anticipate linking to other Internet sites that focus on showing ephemera and to our members' home pages. As well, we will include selected articles and profiles from past issues of Ephemera News and Ephemera Journal, questions from researchers, instruction packets for teachers based on information provided by ephemeral materials, preservation tips and articles on paper conservation, and a bibliography of ephemera publications. It is our hope that the society's web site will be interactive. We want members to contribute citations to their favorite books and articles, essays on their favorite kinds of ephemera, and answers to questions. In a forthcoming column later this year I will discuss the progress of our web site.

With the passage of twenty years, members of the Ephemera Society have experienced many different activities, and they look forward to the future, anticipating taking part in programs both tried and true as well as new. The long-range plan helps to chart these activities. Through this plan and the programs it outlines, the Ephemera Society dedicates itself to maintaining its preeminent position as an acknowledged leader in the collecting, study, preservation, and exhibition of ephemera. We will continue to provide opportunities for enhancing the appreciation of ephemera as an important part of America's cultural tradition and heritage.

E. Richard McKinstry

[This article originally appeared in the Northeast Journal of Antiques & Art.]

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America