Report on Ephemera 24
From March 19-21, 2004 members of the Ephemera Society
gathered in Greenwich, Connecticut for Ephemera 24, the organization's
annual conference and fair.
One day earlier, on March 18th, the board met, welcoming
many new members, including Gigi Barnhill of the American Antiquarian
Society; Diane DeBlois, proprietor of aGatherin'; dealer Ralph
Gallo; Art Groten of The Printer's Stone, a business focusing
on poster stamps; Matt Isenburg, a collector of daguerreotypes
and author of Photographica; Wayne Morgan, from Canada and an
expert on the Brownies, and James van Pernis, printer and owner
of Saturn Press, a company on Swan's Island, Maine.
addition, the Society has a new president: Nicolas Ricketts, curator
at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York, who succeeded Ron
Stegall, the organization's extraordinarily effective leader for
the past three years.
This year's conference talks ranged from a
presentation about Palmer Cox's Brownies to ephemera associated
with our country's hotels, from the ephemerality of American
magazines to the production of English ephemera, from Arts and
Crafts greeting cards to trade cards featuring images of magic.
The benefit auction Saturday evening following our
buffet dinner included over 150 lots. As in years past, Gary Garland
of Swann Galleries in New York City was the auctioneer. Thanks
to the generosity of members who both contributed items to the
sale and made purchases and Gary's leadership, the Society
netted about $5,500
For the first time, or at least the first time in
recent memory, an article about the Society's meeting appeared
in the local press. Greenwich Time, the local paper, contained
an article on March 20 by reporter Michael Dinan entitled "Life's
Snippets Gathered by Collectors of Ephemera." In promoting
Ephemera 24, Michael detailed the exhibits on display. Check it
out online at http://www.greenwichtime.com.
Michael Ragsdale, a new member of the Society, exhibited
a portion of his collection of ephemera having to do with the
events of September 11, 2001. Michael, a senior technician for
Audio Visual Services at the College of Physicians and Surgeons
at Columbia University and a cameraman for C-SPAN, collected his
first piece of 9/11 ephemera at an ATM machine in New York City,
where many people had dropped dated receipts carrying the message
"transaction denied" because of the interruption in
communications that the World Trade Center attacks had caused.
Ron Stegall pointed out that "his collection
is really history speaking in its own words without the layers
of interpretation and analysis of third parties."
This year the Ephemera Society's Maurice Rickards
Award was presented to John Dann. The award was named after one
of the founders of the Society and an acknowledged leader in the
study and appreciation of ephemera from all areas of the world.
John Dann is head of the William L. Clements Library at the University
of Michigan, one of the foremost collections of Americana in the
nation. Serving at the Clements for nearly thirty years, John
has been responsible for making a superb collection even better
through an active acquisitions program that has included active
pursuit of ephemera in its many forms. In accepting the Rickards
Award, John reminisced about his early introduction to collecting
by his grandfather. As John told it, his grandfather interrupted
a meal to which he had invited several important guests to check
a dealer's catalog just after it had arrived in the mail.
He didn't look at it at the dinner table or even in the house.
Instead he pored over it sitting on the curb next to the mailbox.
Collecting was indeed foremost on his mind and an important activity!
Ephemera 24 leads to Ephemera 25, which will celebrate
the Society's 25th anniversary. Ron Stegall heads up the
committee planning the festivities. A special fundraising effort
leading to the establishment of The Star Fund got underway to
support our silver anniversary activities. For $25 contributors
got a lapel button, for $250 a star paperweight in addition to
the button, and for $2,500 a three-night stay at the Hyatt Regency,
where Ephemera 25 will take place, two dinner tickets, and a paperweight
and two lapel buttons.
Plan to join us for Ephemera 25 next March and consider
making a donation to The Star Fund, using the address listed below.
E. Richard McKinstry
PS: Congratulations to the Poster Stamp Society
for having such a successful meeting in St. Louis. Read all about
it in the April 2004 issue of The Poster Stamp Bulletin.