Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Pepys' trade cards and ephemera

I was privileged recently to visit the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge and to see the 17th century trade cards collected by the great diarist. Samuel Pepys, among his many other attributes, was a pioneer ephemerist. In the Pepys Library are preserved his volumes of approx. 1740 ballads and other 'vulgaria' (chapbooks, etc).  In the London and Westminster volumes are some 41 of the earliest  trade cards I know, together with many other 17th century ephemera:  'tickets of invitation, (including a ticket for the Society of Gentlemen Lovers of Musick, 1696) and several funeral invitations.

The ephemera are individually catalogued in vol. 3 of the Catalogue of Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge ed. Robert Latham (1980), pp. 39-43, which references the article in The Connoisseur, XCII (1933): Samuel Pepys. His trade cards by Ambrose Heal (whose collection of, mainly 18th century, trade cards is in the British Museum). A further article by Heal: 17th century booksellers' & stationers' trade cards appeared in Alphabet & Image 8 (Dec 1948).

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Magic Lanterns

One of  the John Johnson Collection volunteers (Ian Matzen) is cataloguing early Cinema at the moment and has blogged about lantern slides of Robinson Crusoe, and another (Kevin Varty) is an magic lanternist who has drawn to my attention excellent resources in the subject.

The Magic Lantern Society website can only be fully used by members, but has a lot of freely-accessible information on its website, including the history of magic lanternslists of slide readings (the readings themselves can be seen by members) and publications on magic lanterns.

“© The Magic Lantern Society 2007. All rights reserved

The Lucerna site (a collaborative site hosted by the University of Trier) includes 'details of slide sets, slide images, readings and other texts related to slide sets, lantern hardware, people and organisations involved in lantern history, and much more.'  The site is read-only but encourages participation for which a log-in is needed.

Searching can be restricted to results with images, and to country, manufacturer, characters in title, subject, type of image, format, production process, stockist, series title, keyword, date, etc.  A typical record will be divided into two tabs: Set details (with an impressive number of links to related resources) and Slide listing.

By no means all sets have images, but many do and provide a fascinating insight into the realm of the magic lantern lecture.
(C) Lucerna

Monday, 12 March 2012

GARD - The GAmes Research Database

GARD (the GAmes Research Database) is an invaluable resource, compiled by game collectors and experts who are aiming to create a comprehensive listing of board games and other old games in their own and other collections (both public and private).  The database can be browsed by maker and searched in various ways: examples, books, makers, gamenames (titles), adverts (in progress), registrations, and across a combination of these (including by date) in Scan tables. Thumbnails, which accompany nearly all the games, can be expanded by clicking the View button to the left of the table.This also reveals the full metadata.

I had the pleasure of meeting the creators of GARD and other games and playing cards experts, who came to the Bodleian in 2010, viewed all the games in the John Johnson Collection and generously shared their expertise. They have added our holdings to GARD, with references to the exisitng digital images available through the Oxford Digital Library. Through the trademark and design register and copyright registrations (National Archives), they were usually able to assign dates to the games.

The site includes useful links and overviews of collections, both public and private.

The GARD site is very much work in progress and will eventually include articles on games, adverts for games and attempts to match rules to games without them (and vice versa).

There is a lot of very useful material in this site, achieved for the benefit of scholarship through painstaking research. Some of the site is restricted to members of GARD and others by invitation, but much is public and well worth exploring

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Digitised ephemera at the University of Washington

The University Libraries, University of Washington Digital Collections include several discrete ephemera collections. The digital collections can be searched across all collections (a search for poster returned 380 results,  from the First World War to contemporary posters and graffiti) or within a collection.  There are advanced search screens and you can also browse each collection with suggested sample searches.

Collections of particular interest to ephemerists are:
Early Advertising of the West, 1867-1918 which covers a wide range of topics, from advertisements in magazines, directories and theatre programmes
War Poster Collection (posters from WWI and WWII)
Menus Collection (menus from 1889-2003, including travel menus)
Vietnam War Ephemera Collection
Pamphlet and Textual Documents Collection
Historical Children's Literature Collection with an excellent online exhibition: Looking Glass for the Mind
Labor Archives Digital Resource
Napoleonic Period Collection (83 satirical prints)
19th century actors and Theater photographs which includes cartes de visite
Prior and Norris Troupe Photographs and Ephemera
Pacific North West Sheet Music Collection
Alask-Yukon Pacific Exhibition (use the sample search for advertisements)
Fashion Plate Collection
International Collections Database (search for postcard)
Stereocard collection

© University of Washington Libraries
Each home page has a description of the scope of the collection.
There are also online exhibitions. News and developments in the digitisation programme are disseminated through a blog.

This is a very impressive initiative to document life in Washington State, and beyond. Ephemera play a part in this, alongside major photographic and map collections.

Women's Suffrage Banners and Ephemera from the Women's Library

For International Women's Day!

The Women's Library, formerly the Fawcett Library, is the major repository of women's suffrage material in this country. Images from these collections are available in two ways:

The VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) currently hosts 55 institutional collections (including two John Johnson Collection sections: Political Prints and Trades & Professions) which can be cross-searched or searched within individual collections. Included in the site are the Women's Library: Suffrage Banners (248 banners, including artwork) and The Women's Library Suffrage Collection.

(C) VADS and Women's Library
(C) Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd. and Women's Library
The latter is a taster of 67 choice images from a full range now delivered through the Mary Evans Picture Library, which hosts 2113 images from the Women's Library.  Not all are ephemera, but photographs, banners and artefacts can be excluded by confining the search to 'Illustrations only' (515 results).

Stop press: For today, the Women's Library has just mounted an online exhibition: Women and the vote.

 The Women's Library ephemera collection is not restricted to suffrage and contains much contemporary material.

More information about Women's Studies archives and resources is available through the Genesis portal, including 152 results for ephemera.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The East London Theatre Archive

The East London Theatre Archive (a JISC funded project) is a wonderful resource for theatre and social historians. Drawing on a range of sources, primarily but not exclusively the V&A Theatre Collections, the theatres themselves and the University of East London, 103 theatres are represented from the Albert Saloon to Walthamstow Palace. A fascinating area, East London includes theatres such as the Pavilion Theatre and Queen's Theatre, but also many music halls, temperance halls, coffee houses and saloons. The screen shot shows records for Albert Saloon.

The website is excellent, with searching (including popular searches), browsing by collection, theatre, material, place, decade, subject and Quick topic (e.g. equestrian drama or dogs).  The search results are accompanied by thumbnails which click through to further thumbnails of each page and rich metadata. Clicking on these thumbnail leads to the full image.

The project goes far beyond the realm of entertainment and includes advertising in theatre programmes, and themes such as the Crimean War and Slavery. The list of subjects covered is vast and enticing: alcoholism, apes, architectural drawing, automata, etc. etc. ELTA is also a rich resource for family historians.

Excellent essays by Catherine Haill (with bibliographies) on such themes as East London Immigration and Pantomimes contextualise the material. There is an informative introductory essay by John Earl.

There is much to explore and a further project, CEDAR, which has now moved to OTHA at UEL has added further dimensions to the project, including the theatre holdings of Royal Holloway (London University) and will form the subject of a future blog post.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Lamb Collection at Dundee Central Library

The Lamb Collection at Dundee Cental Library Local History Centre contains 450 boxes of ephemera, including photographs, maps, prints and books. Alexander Crawford Lamb (1843-1897), owner of a Dundee temperance hotel, set out to preserve evidence of Dundee's past -in  trade, commerce and the activities of its inhabitants.

Much of this material is now being surfaced, through the the Local History Centre website, which has an introduction to the collection, Lamb's biography and obituary, and sections on 19th century entertainment, cholera epidemics and crime. Each of these subjects is introduced and is represented by a short slide show.

© Dundee City Council 2009

Beyond this, The Silence of the Lamb project has led to the cataloguing and digitisation of 2,400 items, available through Resources for Learning in Scotland. 491 of these so far can be browsed as a collection as well as cross-searched with other collections. A feature of RLS is its Pathfinders, which provides themed learning resources.

Museum of Childhood website: update

The Museum of Childhood has a new website in the excellent V&A style. Easier to navigate and search (through V&A Search the Collections). Lots of interesting content and links to related images.

(C) Museum of London

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Ephemera at the University of Glasgow

There is an overview of Ephemera in the University of Glasgow on the Special Collections pages and a link to the Scottish Theatre Archive online catalogue which contains much material from the University of Glasgow ephemera collections. There is also a very useful introductory page to the Scottish Theatre Archive, with Flickr slide show and a list of collections included in this resource.

The Social history page describes collections of Chapbooks and Broadsides as well as named special collections including ephemera, notably Euing (temperance), Murray (broadsides, street literature, chapbooks and advertisements) and Smith.

The Ephemera of John Smith is an online exhibition by Adam McNaughton. John Smith collected ephemera received in the course of his career (bookseller, town councillor and estate owner). Initially bound in albums, it is now arranged by theme: Transport, Political, Church, Trade, Entertainment, Crime, Education, Medical, and City affairs. The ephemera relate mainly to Glasgow in the first half of the 19th century. The online exhibition shows ephemera representative of each of the themes, with explanatory text describing the item and its relationship to the collection.

Glasgow Broadside Ballads: the Murray collection is an excellent introduction to and teaching resource for ballads from collections at Glasgow, and indeed to ballads in general. There is an index to the ballads in the collection with linked images, sound files of ballads being sung, introductions to ballads and the oral tradition, publishing and selling ballads, ballad consumers and singers.

Other online resources of interest to ephemerists are: Seaside entertainment (an online exhibition of postcards) and a Flickr  featuring Victorian Christmas cards.

Welsh Ballads online

Happy St. David's Day!  Welsh Ballads online is a co-operative project between the National Library of Wales (whose ballads are already online) and Cardiff University Library. (online soon).  This JISC-funded project features c. 4,000 ballads from the 18th and 19th centuries. Ballads can be browsed or searched by title, author, keyword, subject etc.

© Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru The National Library of Wales 2009

Cardiff University's site includes online articles about Welsh ballads, Digitised ballads from the Salisbury Library, and useful links, including a link to the Welsh Ballad collection in the University of Wales Trinity St. David.