Ephemera 23 Conference
Ephemera Society's annual conference and fair takes place Friday,
March 14-Sunday March 16, 2003 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenwich,
Connecticut. In addition to the fair, which features 80 dealers,
plus a Saturday evening buffet and auction, and other activities,
the festivities of the weekend include six talks in the hotels
Roundhill Room on the study and appreciation of ephemera.
The program begins at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with a
presentation by Matthew R. Isenburg entitled "Photographic
Ephemera." Today, some of the most prized pieces of ephemera
relate to photographica, especially from the early nineteenth
century. Matthew's presentation offers a glimpse into his holdings
of daguerreotypes and other images, cameras, and equipment, one
of the largest collections in private hands.
A veteran of World War II and a graduate of Northeastern
University, majoring in American history, Matthew co-authored
a book, Photographica, in 1978 that chronicled the development
of the camera. In 1989, he co-founded the Daguerreian Society.
The second Friday morning presentation is called
"A 'Double Feature' on Reproduction History," by Peter
Jackson and Valerie Jackson Harris. Peter and Valerie will illustrate
embossing and printing reproduction methods from woodcuts to lithography,
examining techniques and clarifying differences, and train those
present on how to identify the various techniques used to produce
their own prints.
In September 2003, Peter received the Pepys Medal,
the highest recognition that the English ephemera society offers.
A trustee of the Foundation for Ephemera Studies and former chairman
of the English society, Peter is, among other things, an accomplished
author, broadcaster, journalist, and taxidermist. Valerie, a long-term
participant in activities of both the English and American ephemera
societies, is the proprietor of Quadrille, a shop on Portobello
Road in London, specializing in ephemera and other collectibles.
Following a break for lunch, Robert Volz begins
the afternoon part of the program at 1:30 with a talk called "Hooked
on Ephemera: History 101 from the Real World, or Why Academic
Institutions Collect Ephemera." Educating students of the
twenty-first century, who have been bombarded with many and varied
media experiences, is challenging. Using highly visual resources,
such as historical paper ephemera, brings history to life for
them. Robert, Custodian of the Chapin Library at Williams College,
will draw upon the collections of ephemera that he oversees which
enliven classroom presentations.
Robert Volz has enjoyed a forty-year career at Williams,
Bowdoin College, and the University of Rochester. Personally,
he collects Chicago music ephemeraas he says "from
punk bands to Orchestra Hall"to complement his collection
of Chicago music recordings.
Winding up Friday's talks is Barbara Rusch, whose
topic is "Ephemera Tales: Touchstones to the Past."
Every artifact, including paper ephemera, retains its own imprintits
unique historical and sensory DNAwhich dedicated collectors
and researchers read to extract information. Printed and handwritten
ephemera from other times offer glimpses into the popular culture
of our forebears and provide tribute to their lives. Barbara will
offer such glimpses through the readings of selected examples
Barbara Rusch has collected nineteenth century ephemera
for more than twenty years. Founder of the Ephemera Society of
Canada in 1987 and still serving as its president, Barbara edits
Ephemera Canada and writes, lectures, and curates exhibitions
on ephemera. In 1989, she received the Rickards Award from the
American ephemera society and in 1992, the Pepys Medal from the
On Sunday, Anthony M. Sammarco begins the conference
session at 8:30 a.m. with "S.S. Pierce: Nineteenth Century
Gourmand." S.S. Pierce & Co. is known throughout the
United States for its gourmet foods and liquors, having originally
been established by Samuel Stillman Pierce in Boston in 1831 as
a corner grocery store. Anthony traces the development of the
firm through its ephemera.
Known for his writings on the history of Boston,
Anthony has built impressive ephemera collections on the Baker
Chocolate Co., the city of Boston, as well as S.S. Pierce. He
serves as an officer in the New England chapter of the Victorian
Society and teaches history at the Urban College of Boston.
The final speaker, Elvin Montgomery, follows with
"African American Ephemera." Interest in African American
history has grown over the years and collecting artifacts and
ephemera associated with it is booming. Elvin will lead conference
attendees on a fascinating journey that highlights many examples
of African American ephemera.
A management consultant, author, and avid collector,
Elvin Montgomery maintains a large private research and reference
collection of African American ephemera that has grown from his
undergraduate days at Harvard and graduate school years at Columbia
to today. Each February he organizes a Black History Month antiques
and collectibles show in New York City.
E. Richard McKinstry