Tag Archives: ephemera

Artists’ Handmade Paper Dolls

One day I decided to hunt our Waldron Collection for handmade paper dolls by known or professional women artists. My interest was piqued after using illustrator Frances Brundage’s paper dolls from the 1890s set “Children from Many Lands,” sold by … Continue reading

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The Custom of New Year’s Calling

Looking to kick the New Year off right? Why not skip the bacchanalian revelry of New Year’s Eve and re-create the centuries-old custom of calling on friends on New Year’s Day? Popular in the 1800s, calling evolved from a Dutch … Continue reading

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Playing with Fire

“Fire engines gave us the same thrill that children have felt in all times at the sight of running horses accompanied by the clanging of bells.” –Samuel Canby Rumford  Samuel Canby Rumford grew up in a house on the corner … 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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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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The First Printed Christmas Card

Victorian Christmases were filled with paper ephemera. From books and board games to cards conveying holiday greetings and calendars, such products were readily available to just about everyone. Some holiday items featured now traditional images, including Santa filling stockings, snow … Continue reading

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Poster, Not Postage, Stamps

Winterthur Library first started collecting poster—not postage—stamps in 1995, and during the past 17 years, we have acquired about 1,800 of them. Among other purposes, poster stamps were used as advertising vehicles for products; to promote urban growth and settlement; … Continue reading

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Fishy Business: Historic Ephemera Traces History

E. Richard McKinstry is the Winterthur Library Director and Andrew W. Mellon Senior Librarian. He has served as president of the Ephemera Society of America, an experience that further enhanced his appreciation of printed ephemera and people who collect it. Especially during the … Continue reading

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