Friday, 29 June 2012

Explore More Ephemera Collections at the Library Company of Philadelphia: guest post by Erika Piola

I am so pleased to guest post an update about the Library Company of Philadelphia’s ephemera collections first described on February 13, 2012. Thanks to the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities, more of our printed and graphic ephemera is now available online. Those with an interest in popular and visual culture, history of women, German-Americana, and economics now have access to near 30, 000 pieces of ephemera as well as over 7,000 representative digital files of these holdings in our catalog ImPAC.

(C) Library Company of Philadelphia

Ranging in date from circa 1720  to circa 1900, and arranged by genre and/or provenance, our newly accessible materials include early 18th-century bills of lading; amateur newspapers;  postcards, stereographs, and trade cards documenting Philadelphia cityscapes, businesses, and commercial customs; and a number of personal and professional albums and scrapbooks. Within the latter, the works of early prominent local photographers, specimens compiled by 19th-century Philadelphia printers and engravers, as well as trade cards, souvenirs, and mementos collected by socialites of the Progressive Era can be found. Other ephemera documents the Centennial Exhibition of 1876; the history of the Library Company; and the work of artist Peter Moran.

(C) Library Company of Philadelphia

(C) Library Company of Philadelphia
The grant funding also facilitated the cataloging and digitization of materials given by contemporary collectors and long-term donors. The Helen Beitler Collection contains items predominantly related to 19th-century advertising, including billheads, blotters, calendars, envelopes, and labels. The collections given by William H. Helfand, a Library Company trustee emeritus and retired drug company executive, are a rich source for the history of patent medicine. The Roughwood Collection given by folklore scholar Don Yoder and William Woys Weaver document the lives of the Pennsylvania Dutch, while the Michael Zinman collections shed light on international communities through his World’s Fairs Collection, the blind community through his raised letter publications,  and the legal community through his collection of pre-1801 blank forms, such as subpoenas, deeds, and court summons.

More esoteric materials are also represented. Patrons can peruse Philadelphia amateur scientist Joseph Breintnall’s nature prints of leaves, one of our earliest acquisitions of ephemera, given to the library in 1746; circa 1895 color-printed flash cards to teach foreign languages through the Berlitz Method; as well as “Things Found in Books” from within our holdings.

Although several of the collections noted above are viewable in the digital catalog, additional and complementary records describing the materials can be further discovered in our traditional catalog WolfPAC. Through search terms representing the genre of the material, the collection or collector’s name, or the grant funder “National Endowment for the Humanities,” catalog users have another method in which to learn about the diversity of the Library Company’s ephemera collections.

I hope I have inspired a few more ephemera enthusiasts and scholars to visit our collections online (and in person). And one final note - please do not assume that a collection retrieved through a hyperlink is the only digital collection represented by the text highlighted. Please explore ImPAC. More ephemera of interest is sure to be found.

Erika Piola
Associate Curator, Prints and Photographs
The Library Company of Philadelphia

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Waddesdon board games: update

The excellent Giochi dell'Oca website contains the records and images for the French board games at Waddesdon Manor referred to in my blog post of June 26. They can be seen by selecting Collezione Rothschild - Waddesdon (The National Trust) from the Game Owner drop-down menu.  The full catalogue records (by Phillippa Plock) can also be seen as a pdf, without the associated images.  Further analysis and supplementary images of the Waddesdon games will soon appear on this site and the catalogue will, in due course, also be available through the Waddesdon Collection web pages.

(C) Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.
(C) Giochi dell'Oca (website)

Games People Play exhibition

A selection from Adrian Seville's collection of printed board games is on display at Haldon Forest Park, near Exeter, at the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World. The exhibition (part of the Cultural Olympiad) is titled Games people play and  runs until September 30.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Giochidelloca Website for Games based on the Game of Goose: Guest post by Prof Adrian Seville

We are privileged to have our first guest post, by Adrian Seville, whose joint website with Luigi Ciompi contains a wealth of scholarship about board games based on the Game of the Goose. 

The Giochi dell'Oca website established by Luigi Ciompi and Adrian Seville now contains over 1600 images of printed board games based on or allied to the Game of the Goose (Jeu de l’Oie, Gioco dell’Oca, etc). The database contains not only games from their collections but also games from other collections, both private and public. Images are accessible from the archivio (archive) page. They are of good quality and are free to download, though permission to publish them elsewhere is required. Detailed information about many of the games is also given. The storia page gives a list of publications that can be downloaded and there is comprehensive bibliographia page. The pdf Hints on how to use the site  is an invaluable introduction (in English) to searching.

(C) Dr Luigi Compi

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Board Games: the British Museum and the current exhibition at Waddesdon Manor

730 board games from the British Museum's collection are online. Many are from the bequest of Lady Charlotte Schreiber, (who also collected fans and playing cards). I focussed first on those from 1790-1800 (103 of them: British, continental and oriental) and then on the 45 Game of the Goose (see screen shot). All have excellent images and metadata.

(C) Trustees of the British Museum
There is currently an exhibition of French 18th century board games at Waddesdon Manor: Playing, learning, flirting: printed board games from eighteenth century France at Waddesdon Manor.  The games (mainly Le Jeu de l'Oie, the Game of the Goose, and its variations)  have also been recently catalogued but are not yet online. Several are exquisitely hand-coloured. The exhibition runs until October 28th 2012, with study sessions on July 20 and September 21.  There is an article on the collection and exhibition by curator Rachel Jacobs in the Summer 2012 edition of The Ephemerist.

(C) Waddesdon Manor

Monday, 25 June 2012

Further ephemera at Yale (1)

In addition to the wonderful collection of 18th century British trade cards and other ephemera at the Lewis Walpole Library (see June 7 post), Yale hosts a plethora of collections devoted to or including ephemera (and prints).  This is a brief overview. Further occasional posts will explore these resources in more depth

A search for ephemera of the Center for British Art takes the user to 66 individual and collection-level records.

The exhibitions pages include a description of an exhibition (from 2010) Art for all: British posters for transport.

Through Discover Yale Digital Content  you can find digitsed ephemera from.various libraries, galleries and museums under the Yale umbrella, including the Yale Center for British Art, Peabody Museum, University Art Gallley and University Library.  There are 1573 entries under board games, for example (screen shot), 3418 under trade card, and 3272 for playing card (including the major Cary Collection of Playing Cards at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscipt Library, which also also has a dedicated searchable database).

The Discover Yale Digital Content Advanced Search enables more sophisticated searching. Results can be restricted to resources available online and by repository. Genres (such as the above) can be found through the  keyword search.

Primary Sources at Yale is an educational tool where primary materials from all twenty two of Yale's libraries can be searched irrespective of format. Ephemera are divided between Visual materials, Realia and Printed or published texts.

(C) Yale University

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The California Ephemera Project and the Online Archive of California

The California Ephemera project (CEP) currently brings together the ephemera of four institutions:, all located in San Francisco: the California Historical Society; the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society; the San Francisco Public Library; and the Society of California Pioneers.   The date span is 1850 onwards and many genres of ephemera are included, notably advertisements, announcements, brochures, catalogs, menus, pamphlets, billheads, theater programs, clippings, bylaws, flyers, tickets, and travel guides.

The CEP links very seamlessly  (through 'browse all collections' or "search OAC") into the Online Archive of California, which provides: "free public access to detailed descriptions of primary source collections (artwork, manuscripts, papers, historic photographs, and so on) maintained by more than 200 libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California — including collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses".  A search of OAC for ephemera returns an impressive 2954 collections (from the output of fine presses to Walt Disney) and 847 items.

While many Online Archive of California searches bring up finding aids to the collections, others reveal multimedia approaches, such as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, presented by the Bancroft Library, which has an online exhibit, interactive map and 360 degree panorama.

Collections can be searched or browsed. Browsing is by collection or institution, and a little eye symbol indicates digital image content.

A box titled 'Need to find a digital image' takes the user to Calisphere (which is not devoted to ephemera) where you can search by topic or genre, e.g. Advertising (screen shot). There are also themed selections for Educators.

Copyright © 2011 The Regents of The University of California

Monday, 18 June 2012

Science and Society Picture Library (SSPL)

The Science and Society Picture Library is the official print sales website of the Science Museum, National Railway Museum (see also post dated 30 January) and the Royal Photographic Society Collection. There are 40,000 images, divided into Vintage posters, Transport, Photography, Natural World, Places, Science & Technology, Society and Wars, and Other Collections. Each category is further subdivided. The Vintage Poster Transport section, for example, covers Railways, Aviation, Road Transport (shown in the screen shot), Water Transport and Other.

Ephemera can also be found through the search box. Advertisement, poster, trade, bill, programme, etc are all fruitful terms.

This is another excellent site where ephemera play their part in telling the overall story.  The images are accompanied by descriptions, often providing context.

Browsing if free but this is, of course, a commercial site, selling high-quality prints of an impressive range of museum images in various sizes, framed or unframed, on canvas, etc.  Users can log in, create My favourites, and a Basket.


Bridgeman: Art and Education

There are two major sites under the Bridgeman banner, both of which contain a wealth of ephemera from an impressive number of museums, libraries, archives, etc.  The first is the Bridgeman Art Library which requires a subscription for optimum usage (e.g. access to full images and lighboxes), but which can be browsed and searched (excluding advanced searching) by non-subscribing researchers. Thumbnails can also be downloaded.

Bridgeman Education is a subscription resource (through FE, HE etc).  A search for Ephemera yields 12,400 results. All images are cleared for educational use.

For both sites I have searched for Advertisement:  5378 results in the Art Library (screen shot) and 5013 in the Education Library.

Both image libraries offer much to researchers and have good accompanying metadata.

Bridgeman can be followed on Twitter: @BridgemanArt and those interested in learning what new collections are coming online can subscribe to a newsletter.

(C) Bridgeman Art Library

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Theatre collections in the Templeman Library, University of Kent

As well as cartoons (see post of June 12), the Templeman Library at the University of Kent has excellent collections of theatre playbills, programmes and posters, including (appropriately for ths year) a Charles Dickens Theatre Collection.

These can be searched through the library catalogue and also through a dedicated Theatre search facility. This allows users to filter by collection, subject (e.g. opera, melodrama), material type (theatre programme, playbilll etc) and theatre.  The filters appear in the order of the number of items associated with the term. Performers and titles of plays are indexed and can be found via the search box.

Where available, large thumbnail images appear alongside the metadata. A click on the thumbnail brings up a larger image, which itself can be zoomed with Zoomify.

(C) Templeman Library, Kent University

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cartoon Archive Rapid Digitisation (CARD)

Last year The British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent's Templeman Library undertook a JISC-funded rapid digitisation project (CARD) which included not just cuttings of cartoons but also the notorious saucy seaside postcards by Donald McGill, from the Director of Public Prosecution's Archive. There is a CARD blog by Nicholas Hiley, Head of the British Cartoon Archive.

There are 389 postcards (excluding the DPP cards) on the BCA site by Arnold Taylor, Douglas Tempest, David Low, Giles, etc. as well as Donald McGill, and by publishers D. Constance Ltd, Bamforth and Co, Evening Standard, Daily Express, and Daily Mirror.  Many of the 1,324 prosecution cards (for cards by various artists) are in copyright and therefore have no image files but the 254 for McGill are online.  There is an index to the abbreviations used by the DPP.

The BCA catalogue also has 895 entries for poster (published in newspapers) and 1,568 for advertisement, mostly newspaper cartoons satirising advertising. The Advanced search includes a drop-down menu for searches by format: there are 265 menus (covers and artwork), 163 Christmas cards, for example. A fascinating insight into another ephemeral view of the world.

(C) British Cartoon Archive, Templeman Library, University of Kent

People's History Museum, Manchester

The People's History Museum in Manchester mainly covers the last 200 years of the organised labour movement in Britain, with some earlier material.  There are Information guides to the British Union of Fascists, Early industrial Manchester, Miners strike, 1984-85, General Elections, Spanish Civil War, Chartism, and Women's Suffrage. The Archive and Study Centre can be visited by appointment Monday-Friday

The collections include a wealth of political and satirical prints, banners (which are linked to the Textile Conservation Studio), some 3,000 buttons and 1,500 political posters.  The collections are catalogued and can be searched by keyword or as a defined search. Records are accompanied by thumbnails which can be clicked for larger images.

The posters are the focus of the current exhibition: Picturing politics, which closes on June 17.  Various aspects of these are the subject of illustrated online articles by various academics under the headings: After the war, Labour for security, Let's go with labour and People power.

Much to explore on this site.

(C) People's History Museum

Monday, 11 June 2012

About postcards

The blog About postcards, a reference resource for postcard collectors is an invaluable source of information on postcard genres, artists and themes by postcard dealers and enthusiasts Linda and Peter Chapman. Illustrated from their own collection, the tagged blog posts have built up into a multi-layered tool for all who are interested in postcards or in the very many subjects they illustrate. Above all the posts provide context -  for an isolated card from a series or an example of an artist's work, etc.

There are really nice features: a search brings up a little results box with thumbnails and sentences extracted from the posts containing the relevant term hit-highlighted (as in the screen shot).  The posts themselves can be viewed classically (chronologically) or as a mosaic (of images with titles which appear when moused over) or as flipcards. It is a site which is fun to dip into for fascinating snippets of information but is also a serious research tool. One of the JJ volunteers found the site while cataloguing South African War postcards.

There is also a glossary of postcard terminology.

(C) About postcards

Thursday, 7 June 2012

British ephemera from the Lewis Walpole Library

After a brief interlude, to collect Jubilee ephemera (great response so far)....

I was very excited to receive an email from Susan Walker at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, alerting me to their recent-ish digitisation of Trade cards and invitations, Trade tokens and bookplates and Ballads and broadsides. These last are divided into Volume 1Volume 2,  and Volume 3.  Of course, all are fully cross-searchable through the Lewis Walpole Digital Collection.

Being the Lewis Walpole Library, this material is 18th century. The trade cards come from two albums, the first dating from 1733 to 1769, the second from 1705 to 1799 (with most from 1757 to 1758). They constitute a wonderful, rich and rare resource and add greatly to the available 18th century British trade cards online.

(C) The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

The high resolution images enable the cards, invitations and ballads to be studied in detail.

Other treasures in the Walpole Library's Digital Collection include political prints and satires.