Defined as the documents of everyday life intended for short-term use and disposal, ephemera comprises a wide range of printed and handwritten material, including pamphlets, newspapers, calendars, greeting cards, posters, advertising novelties, packaging and other treasures rescued from the wastebasket. Such items are valuable for a short time, used for a business transaction or a theatre admission or a lover's message, but quickly become obsolete. To the rescuer with imagination every card and leaflet tells a story - of an individual, a community or a nation. Having served its original purpose, ephemera now takes on a second life as part of the historical record, providing evidence of those who printed it, used it, saved it or are depicted on it. This is our heritage preserved in scraps of paper which previous generations almost threw away. Some are rare, others are commonplace, all are history.
Tucked away for safekeeping a century ago in scrapbooks, shoe boxes and old trunks, Victorian ephemera was treasured for its sentimentality or for its visual appeal. Today the artifacts in this collection represent the cherished mementos of a bygone age, providing vital links to the lives and concerns of our predecessors. Such is the magic of ephemera - to move, to delight, to conjure up images of a vanished world.
Packaging: The Art of Containment
Celluloid Boxes and Photo Albums
How to Be a Proper Victorian
Newspapers and Magazines
A Cure for What Ails You: Quack Medicine and Pseudo-Science
The Art of Persuasion: Advertising Novelties and Promotional Material