Ephemera articles and stories that will
educate, inspire, and delight!


The Black Fives

by Sheryl Jaeger
How the "Sporting Life" impacted the social and cultural development of America: The Black Fives Era of Basketball (1904-1950) explores the important role of African American basketball teams. "The Black Fives" is a short film by award-winning director Marco Williams, produced by the New York Historical Society to introduce the…

Split Fountain Printing

by Richard Sheaff
Split fountain printing is a time-honored technique for printing in two or several colors in one pass. It was a way to have more colorful pieces without the expense of full color. Modern printing presses have ink trays, or "fountains", situated above the press sheet. Rollers below then spread the…

Mt Washington Cog Railway

by Richard Sheaff
I recently came across a sketch I had made back in 1989 for a U.S. postage stamp which I had designed, issued in 1995. What caught my eye was a notation I'd put on it saying that it was the first time I had used my spanking new first computer…

Cash Railways

by Diane DeBlois
Some stores still use them: a rubber-footed canister that speeds through a maze of tubing via compressed air, delivering receipts and change with a satisfying 'thonk.' At one point, most of the major cities of Europe and America even had such pneumatic tube service integrated with the postal system. But,…

Colorful Circus Paper Traces the Spread of ‘Jumbomania’

by Deborah Walk, Jennifer Lemmer, and Marcy Murray
Despite its featherweight, printed paper from the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art exerted enough power back in the 1880s to ignite and sustain enthusiastic public interest in a beloved 13,000-pound curiosity named Jumbo. Circus paper encompasses a wide range of material such as tickets, letterhead, route cards, programs,…