Internet Web Sites Featuring Ephemera

Many of us are probably acquainted with sites on the Internet that exist for selling and buying collectibles, especially ephemeral material. Many of us, too, have probably found web sites that contain information on topics that appeal to us, and we revisit these places from time to time. For those of you who have not surfed the Internet, here are some web sites having to do with various kinds of ephemera and organizations that promote ephemera collecting. Web aficionados may also find them of interest.

A splendid place to begin is at the Library of Congress. LC's general exhibit page is located at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/, and its main ephemera site is at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/rbpehtml/pessay.html. If you are interested in baseball cards check out http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/bbhtml/bbhome.html, and to see a special exhibit entitled "An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and other Printed Ephemera," go to http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/rbpehtml/pehome.html.

To see more on baseball, go to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, at http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/education/primary_sources/index.htm, and to supplement the broadsides at the Library of Congress, visit The College of William and Mary at http://www.swem.wm.edu/SPCOL/Broadsides/broadsid.html for a look at more.

Duke University has an appealing site for ephemerists. Its many advertisements are located at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/adaccess/, its presidential memorabilia is at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/americavotes/, and readers can find its sheet music collection at http://www.lib.duke.edu/music/fendshee.htm.

To complement Duke's sheet music, take a trip to Brown University for a look at its African-American sheet music collection: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/rpbhtml/aasmhome.html.

Scrapbooking is becoming popular, and there are at least two web sites that cover this hobby. At the University of Iowa the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium offers tips on creating scrapbooks: http://www.uni.edu/petersog/lcpcmenu.html. Also see The Scrap Album at http://www.scrapalbum.com/.

If you want to study the nineteenth century, Harper's Weekly of the Nineteenth Century, located at http://www.harpweek.com, is a good place to visit.

Children might be interested in the site at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, at http://www.rosenbach.org/kids/, and if they are into crossword puzzles, they may wish to check out the crossword puzzle web site of the New York Times. Called Crossword Puzzles for Kids, it is at http://www.nytimes.com.learning/students/xwords/index.html.

There are hundreds of kinds of ephemeral items, and if they do not exist by now, before too long there will probably be collectors groups formed around them. Several collector group web sites are devoted to the sort of ephemera that their names suggest: the American Matchcover Collecting Club is at http://www.matchcovers.com/history/index.html; the Bicycle Stamps Club is at http://members.tripod.com/~bicyclestamps/; the International Playing Card Society is at http://www.pagat.com/ipcs/index.html; 52& Joker is at http://www.52plusjoker.org/; and the Poster Stamp Society is at http://home.cdsnet.net/~pssoc/.

There are numerous web sites that should interest people who collect on specific topics. A few include:

Theater ephemera: http://www.neiu.edu/~rghiggin/ephem/Ephemera.html

Sarah Bernhardt ephemera: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~temple/eph.htm

Magic ephemera: http://www.uelectric.com/pastimes/gallery.htm

Phonograph ephemera: http://www.oldcrank.com/ and http://www.rose.com/~caps/ephemera.htm

Movie & TV ephemera: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/ephemera_memorabilia

Hardware, engines, and farm machinery: http://www.oldengine.org/members/christison/ephemera/ephemera.html

Postcards: http://www.web~pac.com/mall/default.htm

Jules Verne: http://www.interlog.com/~anash/collect.html

Hand presses: http://www.letterspace.com/handpress/

Circus ephemera: http://members.tripod.com/~ephemera2/

Cartoons by Dr. Seuss: http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/index.htm

Medical ephemera from the National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/ephemera/ephemera.html

Many sites have auction and show calendars that should be of interest to ephemera collectors. Several are: Maine Antiques Digest (http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/other/shoauc.htm), Book TV from C-Span 2 (http://www.booktv.org/schedule/book_fair_events_0300.asp), Northeast Journal of Art and Antiques (http://www.northeastjournal.com/ShowsAuctions/neShow+Auct.htm), and Antiques and the Arts Weekly (http://www.thebee.com/aweb/auctcal.htm).

Web sites from other countries include:

National Library of Australia: http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/ephemera.html

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/slv/cdp/cdpephem.htm

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, England: http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/library/index.htm

Ephemera Society of the United Kingdom: http://www.ephemera-society.org.uk/

University of Reading, Centre for Ephemera Studies: http://www.rdg.ac.uk/AcaDepts/lt/home.html

Conserving our ephemera collections is of utmost importance, and there are several sites that offer advice. See, for example, Conservation Online from Stanford University (http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/), the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (http://aic.stanford.edu/), the Northeast Document Conservation Center (http://nedcc.org/), and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (http://www.ccaha.org/).

E. Richard McKinstry
President

[This article originally appeared in the Northeast Journal of Antiques & Art.]

   © 2011 The Ephemera Society of America