A small band of collectors interested in promoting the collecting, study, and preservation of ephemera established the Ephemera Society of America (ESA) in 1980, to serve as a link between and among collectors, archivists, researchers and dealers, and to encourage interest in all aspects of vintage paper. Five years earlier, in 1975, Maurice Rickards and his associates in England had established The Ephemera Society of the United Kingdom., and similar organizations have arisen in Canada, Austria, and Australia.
Shortly after ESA was formed, it was granted 501(c)3 non-profit tax-exempt status as an educational organization. The society embarked upon a publishing program to educate its members and the general public about the world of ephemera. Issue #1 of our Ephemera News newsletter came out in the Summer of 1981, and this regular newsletter continues its unbroken publication run to the present time. Printed as ink-on-paper until mid-2011, it is now entitled eNews and sent electronically each month to every member. eNews delivers news, details on conferences and other activities, a calendar of upcoming shows and events, auction notes, new book notices, links to stories of interest, announcements and other content of interest to ephemerists.
ESA publishes The Ephemera Journal, a highly regarded print publication devoted solely to illustrated scholarly articles on many different topics. Journal authors have included faculty and staff from a long list of distinguished institutions including the American Antiquarian Society, Winterthur, the Huntington Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, Colonial Williamsburg, the Clements Library, Brown University and many other distinguished organizations. Many fine articles have come from independent scholars and collectors.
In 1994, the Ephemera Society published a book, Rewards of Merit: Tokens of a Child’s Progress and a Teacher’s Esteem, by Patricia Fenn and Alfred P. Malpa. In hardcover, over 200 pages long and profusely illustrated with hundreds of images, this volume is the definitive study of these tokens of teacher esteem.