Category Archives: Ephemera

Letters from Jackie: A Personal Piece of Camelot

Last week dozens of handwritten letters by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sold at auction in Palm Beach, Florida, for a total of $28,400. The letters were personal correspondence and thank you notes by the former First Lady to her interior designer, … Continue reading

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Watercolor Drawings from Paris

In the early 1800s, an artist or a group of artists created at least four volumes of watercolor catalogues depicting personal goods that were for sale in Paris. Two of the volumes, labeled numbers one and four on their spines, … Continue reading

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The Fowler Family’s Field of Phrenology

On a March day in 1848, James Terry, grandson of famous clockmaker Eli Terry, stepped into Orson and Lorenzo Fowler’s New York City office to have his head examined. He walked away, $3 poorer, armed with a detailed analysis describing … Continue reading

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The Grand Panorama of London

Much of the joy of working at the Winterthur Library lies within the potential for discovering “new” gems in the collection with every trip to the rare book stacks. Just such a thing happened in January of this year as … Continue reading

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The Ephemera of Love

Valentine’s Day – a day celebrating love, a thriving industry with billions of dollars spent on cards, flowers, jewelry, candy, dinners, and getaways, with murky origins in the third century execution of a Roman priest. The history of this custom … Continue reading

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Fashion as Art

Our forthcoming original exhibition Costumes of Downton Abbey, opening March 1, gives Winterthur a unique opportunity to shine a light on the library’s collection of 20th century magazines, including the rare La Gazette du Bon Ton. Founded in Paris in … Continue reading

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John Hancock Writes His Wife

Most of us know John Hancock (1737–93) as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. His large, bold signature sent a clear message to the British people that he hoped their days as rulers of the American colonies would … Continue reading

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Chromolithography: The Art of the Stone

The Winterthur Library contains an abundance of colorfully printed ephemera from the second half of the 1800s—trade cards, greeting cards, postcards, calendars, scraps, games, product boxes, and more. The imagery of beautiful women, sweet children, playful animals, and other charming … Continue reading

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Every Trade Card Tells a Story

Despite their small size, trade cards and labels yield loads of information across many subject areas for researchers. A form of advertising that appeared in England in the mid-1600s and in America by the 1720s, early trade cards were either … Continue reading

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When Saul Zalesch comes to town…

The staff of the Winterthur Library was pleased to host a recent visit from one of our most generous donors, Saul Zalesch. Saul has been donating rare and unusual items from his vast collection of American ephemera for the past … Continue reading

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