The Ephemera Society has about 1,000 members from 45 states (unfortunately,
none from Hawaii, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and West Virginia)
and 10 foreign countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia,
Cuba, England, Germany, Norway, and Spain. We have our share of
Browns, Joneses, and Smiths, and our members are named Bopp, Kopp,
and Popp. We have varied backgrounds as collectors and are interested
in many kinds of paper ephemera.
Society members have contributed their skills to countless endeavors
over the years, and the names of many members are recognizable for
their achievements. Three who are especially noteworthy are John
Margolies, John Bruno, and Harry Rinker.
John Margolies is an author, photographer, and historian specializing
in American commercial architecture and design. For the past 25
years he has explored the highways and byways of America, searching
for both unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and
John has written many books, the latest entitled See the USA: The
Art of the American Travel Brochure. He has received research fellowships
from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wyeth Endowment for
American Art, and the Howard Gilman Foundation. In 1978, the John
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded John a fellowship in
In 1998, the History Channel telecast a two-hour program on aspects
of roadside architecture and design, Highway Hangouts: Celebrating
Roadside America, based upon John's work. Most recently, John served
as guest curator for an exhibition entitled "See the USA: Automobile
Travel and the American Landscape" at the National Building Museum,
Washington, DC. John's other exhibitions have been shown at such
venues as Lincoln Center, The Building Centre Trust in London, Eng.,
and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.
John actively lectures before civic organizations, historical societies,
and museums, as well as at American, Canadian, and English colleges
and universities. The Ephemera Society has been fortunate enough
to have had John deliver talks on American motels, gas stations,
and the Catskills at our annual conferences during the past three
comes to ephemera by way of dealing antiques. He and his wife, Tina,
are the owners of Flamingo Promotions, a business that annually
manages 25 antiques and collectibles shows on Long Island, Manhattan,
upstate New York, and New Jersey. The lion's share of their shows
are conducted for the benefit of community and non-profit organizations.
As we head into a new millennium, John's research focus remains
in the twentieth century. He is especially interested in the design
of home furnishings, popular culture, and vintage clothing. John's
activities in the world of collectibles and his current interests
are somewhat removed from his formal academic training and earlier
career. Holding an MS in aerospace engineering, an MA in marketing
communications, and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, John was employed
for 20 years with NASA/Grumman in spacecraft engineering, design,
In August 1999, John began to appear on PAX-TV's Treasures in Your
Home, an interactive television program, as the show's appraiser.
Prior to Treasures in Your Home, for four years John was senior
appraiser on the FX Network's Personal FX-The Collectibles Show.
John and Tina have been featured in Newsday, Long Island's daily
newspaper, and with Bill Beutel on "Eyewitness News," on WABC-TV
in New York City.
is the proprietor of Rinker Enterprises, located in Vera Cruz, Pa.
Raised in Pennsylvania German country, Harry was imbued with a sense
of history from an early age. He cannot recall a time when he did
not collect. Over the years Harry has assembled collections of historical
documents, author-signed books, postcards, catalogs, and Pennsylvania
German materials. He also has an impressive collection on Hopalong
Harry is the author of many books on collecting, most recently
publishing new editions of volumes on flea market treasures and
country antiques and collectibles. As well, Harry's various price
guides are recognized for their excellence.
Harry has been on many television programs, including appearances
on the ABC, CBS, and NBC morning shows, on Wall Street Week, and
with Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey. In addition, he had his own
show, Rinker on Collectibles, which aired on WFMZ-TV in Allentown,
Pa. Harry is on the radio regularly with a program called Watcha
Got?, a phone-in show that is heard on stations from the East Coast
into the mid-west; it is also broadcast on the Internet.
Traveling throughout the country, Harry maintains a busy schedule
doing appraisal clinics and lecturing, and through his Institute
for the Study of Antiques and Collectibles, he offers Elderhostel
Whether lecturing, writing, organizing exhibitions, or appearing
on television and radio, John Margolies, John Bruno, and Harry Rinker
exemplify the best of the Ephemera Society's membership.
E. Richard McKinstry
[This article originally appeared in the Northeast
Journal of Antiques & Art.]