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August 2021 Conference

Ephemera for Research

On Friday August 13th, two ephemera professionals shared their experiences with collections institutional and personal.

Paul EricksonRandolph G. Adams Director of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan, discussed the rewards of opening researchers’ eyes to the power of ephemera — from trade cards to sheet music to broadsides to pamphlet fiction. Many researchers come to special collections libraries not knowing what “ephemera” is and not thinking it will play any role in their project. As a professional, Paul’s primary goal (and challenge) is to create spaces for scholars to encounter unexpected materials in library collections.

Beth Carroll-HorrocksESA Board member and Head of Special Collections at the State Library of Massachusetts, took us through her personal collection — over 18,000 rulers on an astonishing variety of paper ephemera.