Ephemeral “Picture Book” Contest

Birthday card, sent by Helen, 1890s

Grab a pair of scissors and pick up a pencil! Or, if you’re technologically inclined, turn on your computer and open your favorite design program! Either way, we invite you to exercise your creativity with a new contest using images of great 19th-century print ephemera from the Winterthur Library! Each day this week (September 4–10), we will post two or three photographs, greeting cards, trade cards, or other advertisements to this blog post. Collect and download these images to use as the basis for a short story or an old-school graphic novel.

Just click on the image you’d like to use to print it or save it to your computer. We’ll add more images each day for a total of 10 by the end of the week. Make up your story as we go along or wait until all of the images have been posted to choose the ones you want and craft your narrative.


  • Stories should include no more than 7 images and should be written in 500 words or less (not including any printing on images).
  •  Use only these images provided by Winterthur. Keep content clean.
  •  Each entry should consist of 5 pages or fewer of standard 8 ½” x 11” paper (one side only).
  • Submit entries as PDFs to families@winterthur.org or as hard copies to Public Programs Department, Winterthur Museum, 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE, 19735.
  • Submissions must be received by September 30, 2012.
  • Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address with your submission, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope if you’d like your story to be returned.
  •  Winterthur employees are not eligible to enter.

Entries will be judged on coherency, creativity, and cleverness. The winner, who will receive a private two-hour tour of the museum and library for him/herself and a friend, will be notified on October 15. (An alternative prize will be offered to out-of-towners who aren’t able to visit Winterthur.) The winning entry will be posted on this blog!

Questions? Leave a comment here or e-mail families@winterthur.org. Happy writing!

Images #1 and #2, posted Tuesday, September 4:

Ad for Heinz & Co.’s 57 varieties of food products, ca. 1895

Birthday card, sent by Helen, 1890s


Images #3 and #4, posted Wednesday, September 5:

Music for “Isabelle, A Girl Who Is One of the Boys,” 1896

Photo of Ferris Wheel at Chicago’s World’s Fair, 1893






























Images #5, #6, and #7, posted Thursday, September 6:

Advertising paper doll for A. G. Spalding & Co., 1890s


Photo of group of “Chataquas” (adult education movement) taken by Charles Pattison, 1880s-90s

Menu for Willard’s Hotel, Washington, DC, October 16, 1885


Images #8, #9, and #10, posted Friday, September 7:


Photo of dining table set for party, 1890s


Ad for Estey Organ Co., ca. 1895


Owl Club’s Private Ball Masque & Fancy Dress Ball, Revere, MA, 1892

This entry was posted in Ephemera, Library and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *