Wednesday 30 November 2011

Broadsides at the National Library of Scotland

The Word on the Street is devoted to Scottish broadsides, including public notices, ballads, speeches, and crime broadsides, between 1690 and 1910. Nearly 1,800 broadsides are available as jpegs and downloadable pdfs, complete with scholarly commentaries and transcriptions (with full-text searching and hit-highlighting). All can be browsed by title or subject or searched by keyword.
There are also excellent pages introducing the background, distribution and illustration of broadsides and highlights from Crime, Ballads, Emigration, Sport, Tragedy and disaster, Marvels, and Humour.
The screen shot is of Scotch Medley, in honour of St. Andrew's Day.

National Library of Scotland © 2004

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Vieux papiers, vieilles images

Vieux papiers, vieilles images is the seminal work by John Grand-Carteret, which introduced the Francophone world to the concept of ephemera. It dates from 1896.

Le Vieux Papier

Le Vieux Papier is the French equivalent of the Ephemera Society, and pre-dates it by 75 years. Its journal Bulletin de la Société archéologique, historique et artistique, Le Vieux papier, pour l'étude de la vie et des mœurs d'autrefois. has been published since 1900 (the Bodleian is among the libraries which have the complete run).

Le Vieux Papier holds 3-4 meetings a year over dinner and has less formal meetings on occasional Saturdays. The relatively new website includes an illustrated thesaurus which introduces the main interests of the society's membership.

© 2011 Le Vieux Papier


Monday 28 November 2011

Cornell University: Games and other ephemera

Pastimes and Paradigms: games we play is an online exhibition (from 2004), documenting the evolution of games through material from the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University.  Many historic board games are online, together with card games, jigsaws, puzzles, and prints showing children at play.  There are some nice animations too.

Copyright © 2004 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections

The Rare and Manuscript Collections pages reveal digital collections of political Americana and Food, wine and culinary history resources (from the Nestlé library), including 10,000 restaurant menus from 1850s to the present. There is much more to explore: Search Cornell reveals 171 hits for ephemera, including theatre ephemera, posters, scrapbooks, broadsides and much else. All tantalising!

Friday 25 November 2011

Duke University Libraries: John W. Hartman Center

Still on the American theme, Duke University Libraries' Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library has seven major projects, one an encyclopedia, the other six digital, all aiming to promote "understanding of the social, cultural, and historical impact of advertising, marketing, and sales".  This is a major initiative, focussing mainly on magazines and newspapers (rather than ephemera), television commercials, billboards, and outdoor advertisiing.

The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920 has over 2,800 advertisements, mostly from magazines, searchable by company, product, date, format, publication, etc.

(C) Duke University

But there is more!
Ad*Access contains 7,000 American and Canadian advertisements, divided into Beauty & Hygiene (1911-56), Radio (1922-56), Television (1939-57), Transportation (1938-57), and World War II (1942-45).

(C) Duke University

... and more
 AdViews is a "digital archive of thousands of vintage television commercials dating from the 1950s through the 1980s, and created or collected by the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles advertising agency"

...and more
Medicine and Madison Avenue has 600 advertisements relating to health.

Road: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (no images) and Road 2.0 (20,000 images) document bill boards and other outdoor advertising.

There are online exhibitions, supplementary information, a blog, RSS feeds, comment boxes, twitter - a multitude of web 2.0 functionality, and it is fun! Thank you Duke University.

Thursday 24 November 2011

New York Public Library digital collections

Happy Thanksgiving. The New York Public Library Digital Gallery contains a wealth of ephemera. You can search by collection (such as the Billy Rose Theater Collection or the Jerome Robbins Dance Division) or by subject.

(C) New York Public Library

(C) New York Public Library

Below is a selection of circus and magic posters from the Billy Rose Theatre Collection

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Museum of Music History

Just a quick coda to yesterday's entry. The Museum of Music History is new and has collections which can be consulted by appointment. Its web presence includes a lot of ephemera.  Definitely a development to watch!

MOMH © 2011

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Music Resources

An additional blog for St Cecilia's day!  Concert programmes abound in collections, including the John Johnson Collection and the Bodleian Music Room. There have been three major iniatives to document holdings of concert programmes. Cecilia (Mapping the music resources of the UK and Ireland) was followed by  the Concert Programmes database which focuses on describing concert programmes and enables searching by time, people, place, subject, tradition and institution.
(c) University of Cardiff, RCM London, MLA

Additionally, there is the Concert Life in 19th century London database and Research project.

The Royal College of Music, which has very important holdings of concert programmes, is also currently collaborating with the Wigmore Hall to catalogue concert programmes.   The Wigmore Hall has two podcasts of a study afternoon in May 2011 which discussed the archives of the Wigmore Hall, led by Prof Paul Banks, from the Royal College of Music's Centre for Performance History, and Paula Best, Head of Publications & Archive at Wgmore Hall.

The Royal Opera House is cataloguing every performance at the ROH from 1732 to the present.

(c) Royal Opera House

In 2011, the BBC launched the online Prom Archive in which all 7,168 performances at the Proms since 1895 are indexed. This is a search for Benjamin Britten (whose birthday is on St Cecilia's Day)

(C) BBC 2011

New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society has just re-opened, so a good moment to blog about the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Art, in which I was privileged to work for a week on an exchange with the late Wendy Shadwell some years ago.  Bella C. Landauer and John Johnson were contemporaries and knew each other. Their collections differ slightly in focus, but there is much overlap.   Ephemera comes under Graphic Collections in the N-Y H S and are described in the following terms:
The Society’s ephemera collections include lottery tickets, trade cards, billheads, tobacco labels, theater playbills and countless other types of material that were created for temporary use but have survived to illuminate everyday life and popular culture. A highlight is the Bella C. Landauer Collection of Business and Advertising Art, assembled over a forty-year period by the tireless Mrs. Landauer (1874-1960) and arranged alphabetically into 100 product categories, such as Banking, Food, Hotels, Theatrical Enterprises, and Transportation.

There are other ephemera collections too: Broadsides (catalogued), Dining Menus (mainly donated by Arnold Shircliffe) and American Board and Table games (Liman Collection).

(c) New-York Historical Society

Monday 21 November 2011

British Museum

The British Museum has superb collections of ephemera, mainly in the Dept of Prints and Drawings.

For bookplates and prints the BM catalogues are the standard reference works.

All three volumes of the Catalogue of the Franks Collection of British and American Bookplates in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings are now available online, thanks to a digitisation initiative by the University of Toronto.

The museum is putting increasing numbers of prints and ephemera online through its Collection database. At 21/11/11 there were 18,626 entries online under book plate.
There are 31,899 political prints online (which I found by entering satirical prints in the free text search).

The invaluable catalogue: Stephens, Frederic George; George, Mary Dorothy, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 11 vols, London, BMP, 1870 is also available online through the University of Toronto, together with a wealth of other reference works relating to prints at the museum.

The BM's collections of  British 18th and 19th century trade cards (the Heal and Banks collections) are unsurpassed. There are currently 14,754 trade cards online.

There is also a new online research catalogue of the museum's Paper Money (nearly 20% already online), with articles on banking history, security printing, etc.

Friday 18 November 2011


It is a moot point whether book or dust jackets count as ephemera. When taken from the book, perhaps. We have a collection of Jackets in the John Johnson Collection, which are catalogued but not digitised. The Bodeian's jackets are also sent to us to process, but that is another story.
The New York Public Library has 2,511 jackets online, from American and European books.
(c) New York Public Library
And, while on the subject, G. Thomas Tanselle's long-awaited book, Book-jackets: their history, form, and use, has just been published by Oak Knoll (available in December).

(c) Oak Knoll

Thursday 17 November 2011

Museum of London

The Museum of London has wonderful collections of ephemera and is actively surfacing them, notably the tinsel prints, valentines, Christmas cards and trade cards.
The Collections pages enable you to read about the collections and to search (here I searched for suffrage).
(c) Museum of London
(c) Museum of London

As well as the museum's website Ellie, the Project Assistant focussing on ephemera, is blogging regularly about progress.

The Museum's commercial site has thousands of images which can be searched and ordered.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

British Postal Museum and Archive

The British Postal Museum and Archive site is excellent. The British Postal History pages (under History and Learning) answer lots of questions about postal rates and stamps, postcode history, etc., all of which help with dating as well as being intrinsically interesting and very well presented and illustrated. The ephemera of postal history is there too, in abundance, and can be found via the Collections and Catalogues pages by theme, or in the online catalogue.

© The  British Postal Museum & Archive 2011

Monday 14 November 2011

Tuck Postcards

I've just discovered TuckDB, which aims to be the definitive listing of Tuck postcards. An amazing resource and clearly a labour of love, begun in 1998. Just the sort of thing the web is so good for, pulling together different collections. Many thanks to Allan Braun, James Lewis Lowe, Richard Moulton, Alison Milling, website designer Justin Tanner and all the other contributors. They are planning to open up the site for additions by other collectors. There are already 123,219 postcards online, documented and tagged. You can search (including advanced search options), browse by tag, set, etc. Immensely useful, especially as we are beginning to catalogue our postcards, including Tuck.

(c) TuckDB

Friday 11 November 2011

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum has a new website. Lots of wonderful content for ephemerists but the decision to include artefacts under the heading Souvenirs and Ephemera makes searching harder. Within the Souvenirs and Ephemera category, searching is by keyword, which makes it difficult to further limit by genre. Nice site though.

(c) Imperial War Museum

Thursday 10 November 2011

Scrap Albums and more

The Scrap Album site has beautifully-illustrated introductions to a range of ephemera, mostly connected to seasonal greetings, but also including English lotteries, rewards of merit and, notably, scraps and scrap albums. Excellent navigation and links to related sites.

(c) Malcolm Warrington, 2011

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Leeds Play Bills

Local studies collections are rich sources of ephemera. The Leeds Play Bills site is a wonderful example of how these can be surfaced for the benefit not only of the local community but also of theatre historians. The site links through to Leodis, a photographic archive of Leeds.

(c) Leeds Local Studies Library

Monday 7 November 2011


Bookmarkers, etc. woven by Thomas Stevens of Coventry form a very specific category of ephemera. Stevengraphs, Bookmarks & Postcards, etc is an excellent example of a collector/dealer (in this case Malcolm J Roebuck) documenting and researching his field, taking forward in this case electronically, the work of Geoffrey A. Godden in his book, Stevengraphs and other Victorian silk pictures. The site isn't limited to Stevengraphs but includes other manufacturers of woven silk bookmarkers, postcards, etc. 1,600 images are already on the site, the aim of which is  "to offer the most complete history of Thomas Stevens."

© 1999-2009 Stevengraphs Bookmarks & Postcards Etc

Friday 4 November 2011

American memory: Library of Congress

An American Time Capsule, three centuries of broadsides and other printed ephemera (Library of Congress) features a wealth of ephemera: 17,000 (of a potential 28,000) documents, with more digitisation scheduled for the future. There is a useful Introduction to ephemera, notably broadsides, reward notices, ephemera relating to anti-slavery, civil war, women, health, education, travel, industry, labor, and poetry and verse in ephemera. Full-text searching is available.

(c) Library of Congress

Thursday 3 November 2011

Conservative Party Archive

The Conservative Party Archive, housed at the Bodleian Library, includes over 600 posters from 1886-2008, all of which can be viewed online. There are two different ways of seeing them, explained on the site.
(c) Bodleian Library

Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Ephemera Society

The Ephemera Society website is full of information, news, online articles (see below), queries and, most relevant to this Ephemera Resources blog, a very useful links page which covers Organisations, Museums & Libraries, Archives & Collections and Online Resources.
(c) Ephemera Society