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Ephemera Society of America

January 2024 Virtual Conference

January 26, 2024

On Friday, January 26, 2024 The Ephemera Society of America featured two presenters during in our virtual conference. Below are the links to each of the presentations.

Dr. Sarah Johnson

Dr. Sarah Johnson:
Link to Presentation

Rural Free Delivery, Parcel Post and Opposition to Department Stores & Mail order houses, 1897-1915

As production of consumer goods increased in 19th-century America, retailers and wholesalers sought new markets beyond their direct geographical radius. The U.S. Post Office’s introduction of Rural Free Delivery (RFD) and parcel post services accelerated this expansion by reaching more rural consumers. Historian, author, and speaker Dr. Sarah Johnson examined the “encroachment” of urban department stores and mail order houses on the business of local merchants, express companies, fourth class postmasters, and others. Through catalogs, brochures, correspondence, trade journals, editorial cartoons, sheet music, and more, she traced the opposition that culminated in an anti-department store movement in 1897-98 and continued as an anti-parcel post movement extending well beyond the implementation of that service in 1913.

Evie Eysenburg

Evie Eysenburg:
Link to Presentation

The Traditional Chinese Pigtail: To Cut or Not to Cut? 

Evie’s curiosity about trade cards with the phrase “The Chinese Must Go” started her on a journey that has culminated in a large collection of ephemera centered on Western perceptions of the Chinese people and their culture. Differences in language, religion, diet, and dress provided fodder for anti-Chinese sentiment, frequently resulting in anti-Chinese legislation. “To Cut or Not to Cut?” will focus on the pigtail or queue and its use as both a means of control and an object of ridicule as Westerners attempted to force Chinese immigrants to assimilate.