The Ephemera Society made itself known on the West Coast earlier
this year as part of the San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print,
and Paper Fair, January 31 and February 1, 2004. The event, which
was held at the Fort Mason's Center Festival Pavilion, included
nationally known exhibitors from the western United States, Canada,
and Europe, featuring antiquarian and rare books, prints, maps,
posters, autographs, photographs, and ephemera, dating from the
7th to the 21st centuries.
Society members John Grossman and Valerie Jackson Harris, proprietor
of Quadrille, a shop on Portobello Road, London, and an active member
of the English ephemera society, gave talks. John spoke about American
ephemera in general, illustrating his presentation with selections
from his own collection, while Valerie entitled hers "Selected
Techniques in the Production of English Ephemera;" she repeated
her session on March 19 at Ephemera 24, the society's annual
conference and fair. Both talks were very well received.
also prepared an exhibition, showing ephemera from her collection
of English materials, and Bruce Shyer, a Society member from nearby
Oakland, did another on American ephemera.
Nic Ricketts, president, and Ron Stegall, past president, manned
the Society's booth at the San Francisco fair. Extolling the
virtues and benefits of membership and showing off Society publications,
they recruited thirteen new members. Judging from the positive reception
the Society received at the fair, we anticipate and look forward
to adding many more members from the Coast in the coming months
In addition to welcoming new members in San Francisco and other
places, the Ephemera Society is pleased that so many people are
finding out about us through our web site and joining online. The
site made its debut four and one-half years ago at the end of 1999.
Over the years it has grown from just a few pages to dozens, having
sections on a variety of topics of ephemera.
Early in 2004, the site was redesigned, keeping its content while
taking on a new look. It has been simplified, including all the
content from before, but organized in an easier to understand way.
For example, the earlier site contained a section on the bibliography
of ephemera under the heading "What is Ephemera?". Now,
"Bibliography" is a heading all by itself. Likewise, our
online store is easier to find with two places to access it on each
page. Where we used to have a "News and Articles" section,
we now have two separate sections, one for "ESA News"
and another for "Articles."
We also went from green to red hue as our signature color. This,
coupled with some strategically placed color bars separating segments
of the page, creates a crisp looking site.
If readers are interested in comparing the two sites check out
the old one at The Wayback Machine, which bills itself as an Internet
Archive, at http://web.archive.org.
Just type in the Society's URL and pick a date.
Anyone interested in seeing exhibitions on the Society's web
site can look at displays highlighting trade cards, read an article
on online exhibitions at the American Antiquarian Society, and via
the links page visit many online shows elsewhere on the Internet.
The site's bibliography section includes writings on ephemera,
and there are a number of articles on ephemera that have been fully
reproduced from other places. Read Will Shortz's article on
crossword puzzle ephemera, several articles that originally appeared
in LLA Bulletin on ephemera from Louisiana, Lee Finley's
article on goldfish imagery on trade cards, and many more.
Want to see the web sites of fellow Society members? Navigate to
the members links page. Want to read about Society activities for
the past five years? Go to the News section. Interested in the kind
of presentations that have been made at Society conferences? Go
to Conferences. Ephemera 21 is represented quite well with many
Other Society members continue to spread the word about ephemera.
Pamela Franzmeier and Kathy Alpert were quoted in an article in
the latest issue of Bark, which bills itself as the "modern
dog culture magazine." The piece includes vintage holiday greeting
cards with images of dogs. Richard Sheaff, a stamp designer and
art director for the U.S. Postal Service, was featured in an article
in the New York Times on the digital techniques used to create
the art of postage stamps. Most stamp artists working today use
software to create their designs. Hopefully, their readers will
investigate the world of ephemera further, become hooked, and join
E. Richard McKinstry
[This article originally appeared in the Northeast
Journal of Antiques & Art.]