Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Ephemera Network

The Ephemera Network is a "community site for anyone and everyone interested in ephemera". Members (currently 691 of them) can sign up to groups with specific interests, such as Trade catalogues, Games, Billheads and Letterheads, or Stereoview cards. There are 69 groups, from Advertising cookbooks to World War 2 Games and Puzzles. The aim is for like-minded people to connect with each other. Non-members can see comments but cannot comment themselves.  There are several tabs, including Blogs, Events, and Discuss.  It is an excellent site for encouraging and supporting amateurs, collectors and those new to ephemera, and contains some fascinating information (including lengthy posts about specific genres or subjects) and links to other sites and blogs.

(C) The Ephemera Network. 2012, Created by Mike Ferguson

Monday, 30 January 2012

Railway posters at the National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York has put 10,707 records for its posters online, many with associated digitial images. These can be filtered by railway company or cross-searched with other material through the search box on the Collections page. The screen shot shows a results for National Caledonian Railway.

C) National Railway Musuem

There are also 4,444 catalogued entries (not all digitised) associated with Using the railways (postcards, tickets, passes, labels, toys, etc) which can be limited by category and railway.

Users are invited to upload their own images to a Flickr site associated with the Museum.

There is also a fasinating blog about the work of the Museum -  from library and archive collections, to railway vehicle collections or conservation. I particularly enjoyed reading the blog by Lorna Frost about the conservation of paintings for the recent Art in Advertising exhibition.

The Museum is represented on many social media: YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook and Delicious.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Geffrye Museum trade catalogues

The Geffrye Museum has announced a monthly programme of putting online its extensive collection of trade catalogues of household goods. Only five (in their entirety) so far, but an invaluable resource in time.

(C) Geffrye Museum

The museum website also has an extensive collection of wallpapers and textile sample books.  Twenty three satirical prints are online too, providing a "rich and unexpected insight into the decoration of the domestic interior."

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Trade catalogues in the Winterthur Museum Library

The Winterthur has contributed to the Internet Archive the printed catalogue: The trade catalogues at Winterthur: a guide to the literature of merchandising, 1750 to 1980 by E. Richard McKinstry, New York, 1984.  It can be read online, downloaded as a pdf, downloaded to Kindle, viewed as full text, etc. It is searchable (I found the pdf version easiest) and there are also excellent chronological, geographical and alphabetical indexes.  The catalogue is annotated with Winterthur shelfmarks.

Although predominantly American, there are many trade catalogues from other countries, notably c. 150 from  England, including many from the 18th and early 19th centuries starting with East India House, 1750.  Other countries represented are Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, and Switzerland.

The catalogue is divided into subject areas: Agricultural implements and machiney, Architectural building plans and materials, Art supplies, Brass goods, Ceramics and glassware, Clothing and accessories, Department and dry goods stores and misc, Ecclesiastical and funerary supplies, Entertainment, leisure activities and recreational goods, Food and refrigeration, Furniture, Garden and lawn supplies and ornament, Hardware, cutlery, utensils and hand tools, Iron and steel goods, Jewellery and clocks and watches, Lighting fixtures and electrical supplies, Measuring implements, Medical and health supplies, Musical instruments and supplies, Paint and varnish, Paintings and prints, Photography, Plumbing, heating and cooling equipment, Printers' equipment and publications, Silver and silver-plated goods, Stationery and office supplies, Statuary, Stoves, Vehicles and equestrian supplies, and Wall and floor coverings.

(C) Internet Archive and Winterthur Musuem
Also in the Intenet Library is the Guide to the microfiche edition of Trade catalogues at the Winterthur Museum, part 2 by Eleanor McD Thompson (1991).

Entries can  also be found for the trade catalogues through the Winterthur Library online catalogue: Wintercat.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Smithsonian's Instruments for Science

The Smithsonian Libraries Instruments for Science, 1800-1914: scientific trade catalogs in Smithsonian Collections, is a digital resource searchable by company (with drop down list), type of instrument, title, keyword, etc. (try theodolite, for example). It is international, with British, French and German firms as well as American. The screen shot shows catalogues for Negretti and Zambra of Holborn Viaduct, London. Trade catalogues have rarely survived and contain a wealth of information.  The introduction page contains two essays on scientific trade catalogues, by Steven Turner and Jim Roan.

(C) Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Smithsonian Institution Libraries online exhibition finder

The Smithsonian Libraries' Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web is an invaluable tool. Unsurprisingly, I keyed in Ephemera and got over 150 hits, which I look forward to exploring at leisure, mainly from the USA but including some from the United Kingdom, Austalia and Canada. At a time when there are more and more exhibitions, real or virtual, being put online, it is good to have a facility to search them by subject.  Users are invited to suggest additions.
(C) Smithsonian Libraries

Encyclopedia of Ephemera

The Encyclopedia of Ephemera is the fruit of Maurice Rickards' lifetime's work in establishing a collection which would illustrate all types or genres of ephemera.  He sadly died (in 1998) before finishing the encyclopedia and the work was completed and edited by Prof Michael Twyman, aided by Sally du Boscq de Beaumont and Amoret Tanner, all of the Centre for Ephemera Studies in the Dept of Typography, University of Reading, where the Rickards Collection is now housed.  It was published in 2000 by the British Library.

Copiously illustrated and with substantial entries on each category of ephemera from ABC primer to zoetrope strip/disc, the encyclopedia is an essential reference work for anyone interested in ephemera per se or in subjects represented by ephemera. There are two editions, one British, one American. Although there is not officially an electronic version of the encyclopedia, substantial snippet views appear through Google books.

The work of defining categories and genres of ephemera continues at the Centre for Ephemera Studies where a thesaurus of genre terms for ephemera is in preparation.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

American Antiquarian Society

The American Antiquarian Society is a major repository for American ephemera, notably early material, outlined in the excellent online Guide to ephemera.  A major digitial resource is only available by subscription: American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I, 1760-1900 (Readex Division of NewsBank).

There is much else to explore in the AAS website.

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(C) American Antiquarian Society
The Guide to the Collections gives an overview in two columns: one by subject grouping, the other alphabetical, with icons showing which have been digitised. Links lead to a series of web pages introducing the category and outlining the resources at the AAS.

There is a very useful genre listing, which gives the cataloguing and listing status of each category.  From this, those which are of most interest to ephemerists are: Almanacs, Billheads, Bookplates and booksellers' labels, Booksellers' catalogues, Broadsides, Calendars, Calling card, Canadiana, Cartes de visite, Civil war cartoons, Civil war envelopes, Clipper ship cards, Election ballots, Ephemera, Games, Invitations, Lottery tickets, Menus, Paul Revere Collection, Postcards, Printing and publishing history, Rewards of merit, Sentiment cards, Songsters, Textile printing, Trade cards, Trade catalogues, although there is clearly more ephemera kept under subject.   Of these, almanacs, booksellers' catalogues, broadsides, Canadiana, printing and publishing history, songsters, and trade catalogues are partially catalogued.  Priority has been given to early material.  The online catalogue, which includes many records for ephemera, can be searched by genre as well as keyword, subject, name, etc.

Some collections have been digitised and are available online in the form of Illustrated inventories. The important  Paul Revere Collection contains 18th century trade cards, certificates, masonic ephemera, prints and much else, all described and digitsed in an Illustrated Inventory.  There are also subject tags, a searchable pdf, list of resources and thumbnail gallery (shown in screen shot).

(C) American Antiquarian Society

The Charles Peirce Collection of Social and Political Caricatures and Ballads is also fully digitised and is also notable for its interractive view of the album before it was disassembled. These political cartoons are supplemented by The European Political Print Collection.  Ambrotypes and daguerrotypes also have fully illustrated inventories.

The AAS holds an important archive of McLoughlin Bros. catalogues, price lists and order forms, available as full-colour pdfs, and also some 50 volumes of Louis Prang's salesmen's books featuring greetings cards.

There is also an invaluable 19th century American Children's Book Trade Directory.

Online exhibitions include Big Business Food Production, Making Valentines, Visions of Christmas, and A Woman's Work is Never Done, all of which feature ephemera.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The National Archive Image Library

The National Archive Image Library is a commercial image service, but also offers a glimpse of ephemera and other images from the National Archive's vast collections. The images are divided into the following categories: Buildings and factories, Colonial and empire, Crime, Design, Entertainment and theatre, Events and exhibitions, First World War, Mamuscripts, Maps, Medical, Military, Mining, People, Piracy, Places, Politics, Second World War, Slavery, Transport and Travel, and Victoriana.

(C) National Archives

There are also Monthly showcases which take a seasonal or topical theme, to date:  New Year, Winter, War and National Savings, Queens and Crowns, London, Seaside, Sports, Titanic, Creative Images, and Festival of Britain.

(C) The National Archives

Further images, mainly photographic but including some ephemera, are available copyright-free through The National Archives UK's Photostream on Flickr.  These have been tagged. The screen shot shows images relating to Christmas.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bibliothèque Nationale de France: posters from the Grands Magasins

There is a wealth of ephemera (under Images) in Gallica: Bibliothèque Numérique. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France often tweets topical result sets from Gallica. This screen shot came from one such tweet relating to the first day of the French sales.
You can display results as a list, as 'normal display' (image + record) or as  a 'mosaique', as in the screen shot. In this display, the records pop up when your mouse hovers over an image. A search for 'publicité' yields 2322 results: mostly printed ephemera with some photographs, including shots of hoardings.You can search within the results, e.g. 'bains', 'bicyclette' or limit by date, artist, language, etc. and you can save the results to your 'espace personnel.'
Other useful terms are documents iconographiques, adresse de marchand (trade card) billet (ticket), affiche (poster).
A wonderful way of surfacing ephemera within the BnF.

(C) Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Shell Art Collection at the National Motor Museum Trust

The Shell Advertising Art Collection was relocated to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in 1993.  It contains posters, postcards, Shell guides, press advertising, and valentine cards (both those sent by Shell to their customers from 1938 to the 1970s and the historic collection they acquired in 1964 from The Valentine Shop in the Strand).

Selections of each category are online through the Highlights and Explore pages of the National Motor Museum website.. The collection contains work by some of the most notable designers of the 20th century, such as McKnight Kauffer, Edward Bawden, and Rex Whistler.

Copyright The National Motor Museum Trust

Monday, 9 January 2012

American Trade Cards at Harvard

The American definition of trade card is slightly different to the English one, so these are not engraved or lithographed business cards but rather colourful, mainly chromolithographed, advertisements. 1,000 of 8,000 19th century trade cards from the Baker Library (at the Bloomberg Center, Harvard Business School) have been catalogued as part of the Harvard University Library's Digital Initiative.
Catalogue records and images can be seen through the Visual Information Access catalogue, VIA.
There is also an online exhibition from 2000: An new and wonderful invention: the nineteenth-century American trade card.

Copyright 2004 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
Copyright 2004 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Museum of Brands

Although you cannot browse the Museum of Brands online, a personal visit to the Museum is a very rewarding experience. 12,000 items of packaging and advertising, arranged mainly by decade, convey a strong sense of period.  Robert Opie, the founder and curator of the Museum, has written many books on packaging, most of which are still available.

Copyright © 2009 Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Music covers in the Spellman Collection (Reading University Library)

One of the many ephemera collections in Reading University Library is the Spellman Collection of Victorian Music Covers. Some 800 of these are available online through VADS (Visual Arts Data Services), where they can be searched by title, composer, artist, publisher, date, printing process, and theme (here Transportation).

(C) Reading University Library and VADS