Ephemera 21 Conference
21, the Ephemera Society's conference and fair will be held this
year over St. Patrick's Day weekend, March 16-18, 2001, at the Hyatt
Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. We anticipate having
about 85 dealers who will be offering a remarkable array of paper
ephemera for sale, including colorful posters, broadsides, advertising
materials, photographs, postcards, handwritten letters, scrapbooks,
and the list goes on.
If you aren't hooked on ephemera yet, come join us and see what
all the fun is about! If you are a dedicated ephemerist, come to
what we consider to be the Cadillac of ephemera shows and meet your
friends and our dealer members.
In addition to the fair, the society has scheduled a full program
of informative talks over the weekend.
Charles B. Wood, a rare book and manuscript dealer from Cambridge,
Massachusetts, will open the program on Friday at 10:00 AM with
a presentation on his collection of salmon fishing ephemera. For
the last ten years, Charles has been collecting manuscripts, letters,
typescripts, pamphlets, advertising ephemera, travel brochures,
etc. on this subject. He recently published an article about his
collection in Ephemera News. People attending our conference
will have an opportunity to hear more about Charles' collection
and see examples of what he has.
Next is Robert Dalton Harris, a charter member of the Ephemera
Society and proprietor of aGatherin', located in Wynantskill, New
York. Rob will talk about a recently discovered essay by Henry David
Thoreau that he, Thoreau, wrote on the backs of pieces of ephemera.
Rob will discuss what Thoreau wrote and the ephemera that he wrote
Beginning our afternoon session on Friday at 2:00 is Rachel Coffey,
a graduate student in the Winterthur Program of Early American Culture,
offered through the University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum.
Ephemerists are familiar with Rewards of Merit, those small pieces
of paper that were given to recognize the achievements of students
in school, and many of us are undoubtedly acquainted with Shaker
gift or spirit drawings, artwork produced by members of the Shaker
religious sect during moments of inspiration. But, how many of us
have ever tied the two together? Rachel Coffey will do just that
as she describes the influence that Rewards of Merit had on Shaker
Nicolas Ricketts, curator at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New
York, and society treasurer, will conclude Friday's presentations.
The title of his talk is "A Paper Trail: Ephemera at Strong Museum
from Past to Present." Nic will lead us through the Strong's holdings,
especially focusing on its copy of A Visit From St. Nicholas
in Clement Moores own hand, posters, trade cards, postcards,
photographs, stereographs, etc. He will also talk about how the
museum has incorporated ephemeral artifacts in its exhibition program,
show slides of the museum's paper storage practices, and discuss
the Strong's current collecting goals.
Saturday evening's cabaret will feature a living paper doll, Barbara
M. Darlin, whose presentation is called "Arsenic and Tight Lace:
Beauty Secrets of La Belle Époque." How far would you go
to make yourself more beautiful? Would you wear a corset so tight
that it was impossible to take a deep breath? Would you pin
hairpieces and pads into your hair to add volume? Would you take
arsenic to whiten your complexion? Barbara will answer these questions
for us. She will also consider admonitions from nineteenth century
advice books on women's complexion, hairstyles and care, how the
ideal body shape was achieved, the controversy over tightly laced
corsets, and the use of makeup. All of this is woven into a demonstration
of the laborious task of dressing in full evening attire for a ball.
Audience members volunteer to be her maid and help with the laces
On Sunday, March 18, at 9:00 AM, John Margolies, noted author,
photographer, and historian on American commercial architecture
and design, will inform and entertain us with a talk on miniature
golf. John discusses miniature golf courses, often located by the
side of the road and at resorts, as examples of landscape and recreational
design, as well as sources of popular American iconography. John's
illustrated talk will highlight his own photographs of miniature
golf courses and depictions of them on paper ephemera.
Michael Twyman, recently retired Professor of Typography &
Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, England, winds
up the proceedings with a talk entitled "Ephemera Comes of Age,"
focusing on the recently published Encyclopedia of Ephemera
by the late Maurice Rickards and edited by Michael, and the collections
at the Centre for Ephemera Studies. After his presentation, he will
sign copies of the Encyclopedia
We hope to see you in Old Greenwich!
E. Richard McKinstry
[This article originally appeared in the Northeast
Journal of Antiques & Art.]