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The Philip Jones Fellowship

The Ephemera Society of America is no longer receiving applications for the Philip Jones Fellowship for the Study of Ephemera. The funding for this competition has been exhausted. We may revisit this in the future. We thank you for your interest.

The Fellowship was open to any interested individual or organization for the study of any aspect of ephemera, defined as minor (and sometimes major) everyday documents intended for one-time or short-term use.

It is expected that this study will advance one or more aims of the Society:

  • To cultivate and encourage interest in ephemera and the history identified with it
  • To further the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of ephemera by people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of interest
  • To promote the personal and institutional collection, preservation, exhibition, and research of ephemeral materials
  • To serve as a link among collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars
  • To contribute to the cultural life of those who have an interest in our heritage as a nation or a people, both nationally and internationally

The $2,000 stipend can be applied to travel and/or study expenses, but cannot be used to purchase ephemera. How the stipend will be used; the expected form and outcome of the project and its relationship to ephemera; when and how the outcome will be disseminated; and its benefit to furthering the goals of the ESA should be clearly stated in the application.

Ephemera includes a vast amount of paper material such as advertisements, airsickness bags, baseball cards, billheads, bookmarks, bookplates, broadsides, cigar box labels and bands, cigarette cards, clipper ship cards, board and card games, greeting cards, sheet music, maps, calendars, blotters, invitations, luggage labels, menus, paper dolls, postcards, posters, puzzles and puzzle cards, stock certificates, tickets, timetables, trade cards, valentines, watch papers, and wrappers. These are but a handful of examples. Please see the ESA website at for more information about ephemera.

The fellowship selection criteria include:

  1. The significance of the project;
  2. The project’s relationship to ephemera and the mission of the Ephemera Society of America;
  3. How the project will be shared with ESA members and the general public;
  4. Evidence of the applicant’s ability to disseminate the results of the project effectively through scholarly or other articles, presentations, exhibitions, etc.; and
  5. How the applicant will use the stipend.

Examples of previously funded proposals include:

  • 2008 E. Richard McKinstry. A study of Charles Magnus, one of the most prolific printers of ephemera in the nineteenth century
  • 2009 Gretchen Sullivan Sorin. A study of an ephemeral guidebook, The Negro Motorists Green Book, demonstrating how black Americans adapted to changes resulting from the automobile and the interstate highway system during the era of segregation
  • 2010 Laura Hand Donahue. An elementary school teacher’s project using ephemera to interest children in the social history of various cultures. View a copy of the elementary school curriculum developed by 2010 Awardee Laura Hand Donahue.
  • 2011 Hi’ilei Julia Hobart. A study of the Victorian custom of exchanging snippets of hair and its relationship to archival documentation
  • 2012 Marianetta Porter. A study of black church fans and their significance in shaping African American identity and community life in America
  • 2013 Jenny Cho. The publication of Chinese in Hollywood. This book consists of over 180 images of ephemera related to the presence of Chinese and Chinese Americans in the neighborhood of Hollywood, as well as in the film and television industries.
  • 2014 Talia Coutin. A study of Will H. Bradley’s bicycle advertisements and how their design invoked gendered ideologies in order to sell bicycles to women.
  • 2015 Bartolomew Brinkman. A study of Yellowstone National Park travel scrapbooks from 1880 to 1970 providing unique and varied accounts of the changes in travel through the park reflective of changes in society.
  • 2016 Shana Klein. The Fruits of Empire: Contextualizing Food in Post-Civil War American Art and Culture, reveals how everyday representations of fruit provided a platform for artists and viewers to discuss the nation’s most heated debates over land, labor, and race that determined the course of the American empire.
  • 2017 Barbara Rohrer. South Carolina Postcards: Rhetorical Reflections of Southern Culture and Industry
  • 2018 Reverend Professor Raul Fernandez-Calines. Fighting Human Trafficking through Ephemera: Strategies for Education and Action highlights the usage of ephemera as an effective and unique form of communication in the struggle against human trafficking – a topic of life and death for millions of women, children, and men around the world.
  • 2019 Saskia and Gert Bultman. The Way to Modern Living: Embracing the Future in Twentieth Century Advertisements. Explores how and in what ways American and Western European advertisement influenced consumers desire to be ‘modern’.

Specific application instructions for this fellowship are below. In order for an application to be considered, these instructions must be followed.

The applicant’s resume, submitted as part of the application, should include the applicant’s experience and proven ability to carry out this project and disseminate its results. The completed application should be sent electronically to:

Decisions will be reported to the successful individual or organization by March 3, 2023, and will be announced at the Society’s annual meeting and conference, March 16-19, 2023 in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

The successful candidate will have one year to complete the project, and will be required to submit two written reports to the Board of the Ephemera Society: an interim progress report due August 15, 2023, and a final report due February 1, 2024. The winner may also be invited to write an article about the project for an issue of the Society’s The Ephemera Journal, and/or prepare a presentation about the project for the following year’s annual conference.

Application packet instructions and an example of how to format your cover sheet are below:



An application consists of the following materials, in the following order:

  1. Contact information

 Name Street Address or P.O. Box City, State and zip code (if outside the U.S., please give full international address) Phone number E-mail address Your profession (student, historian, independent scholar, collector, etc.) How did you hear about this fellowship?

  1. A description of your project

Beginning on the same page as your contact information, include the title of the project, and a double-spaced statement in 12-point font summarizing and describing the project, and how you would use the fellowship stipend. The fellowship selection criteria include: 1. the significance of the project; 2. the project’s relationship to ephemera and the mission of the Ephemera Society of America; 3. how it might be shared with ESA members and the public; 4. evidence of the applicant’s ability to disseminate the results of the project effectively through scholarly articles, presentations, or exhibitions; and 5. how the applicant will use the stipend. Your contact information and the description of your project should total no more than two pages.

  1. Your current resume

Please submit a current résumé highlighting your experience and proven ability to carry out the project with your application. Your résumé should be no more than two pages.

Instructions for formatting applications:

  1. Documents should be in 12-point font, with page numbers in the lower right hand corner
  2. The description of the project should be double-spaced
  3. The application should be submitted as a single pdf file of no more than four pages (two pages for your contact information and the description of your project, and two pages for your resume)
  4. The file name should follow the following naming convention: Last name and brief application title (for example, Smith_Trade_Cards.pdf)
  5. A footer with the document name should appear in 12-point font on each page

Applications must be sent via e-mail to Applications not following the formatting requirements will not be considered.