All The Ephemera You Ever Wanted — And Some You Didn’t Know You Wanted

OLD GREENWICH, CONN. — The Ephemera Society of America presented Ephemera/34, a longstanding and well-respected series of seminars and a show over the weekend of March 14. The three-day event touts “Antiquarian and Collectible Paper for Everyone,” and the group is true to its word. Large displays of important historical documents, photographs and other materials ranging from the Revolutionary War period through modern times were offered, along with a huge selection of advertising, posters, Valentine’s Day cards, salesman’s displays, prints, books and original works on paper.

If there was an item made of paper or on paper that you were looking for, there was a very good chance it was at Ephemera/34. There was also a huge variety of extremely appealing visual material that you had no clue that you were looking for, many in crossover collecting categories, and much of it went home with collectors. Such was the case with one jazz aficionado at the show, also a huge fan of Dave Brubeck, who collects original vinyl records. The shopper was enthralled to find a promotional booklet from one of Brubeck’s early albums printed in a colorful Modernist style that is now destined to be framed and hung in the audiophile’s listening room.

Promoters John and Tina Bruno, Flamingo Eventz, were on hand to welcome shoppers to the early buying session of the show that began at 9 am. A long line of Ephemera Society attendees were granted access to the show an hour prior to the public opening an hour later. Buying on the floor was brisk, especially in the stand of Jean’s Books, Hatfield, Penn., where a stellar selection of wonderfully illustrated early children’s books are always available.

Dealer Jean Kulp was busy from the moment the show opened, helping customers with items that included an unused swatch of imprinted material featuring Palmer and Cox Brownie figures, front and rear images that would have been cut out, stuffed and sewn together to make children’s dolls. Early books with colorful illustrations, including many first edition examples, were also offered, including an early printing of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr Seuss.

Peter Blackman, White Fox Rare Books, Windsor, Conn., offered a grand selection of items that ranged from a Japanese toy company’s trade catalog featuring colorful Japanese masks in the original box to a pictorial promotional book produced by Paramount in 1925 that featured the studio’s lineup of stars, such as Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson and W.C. Fields.

“I love Halloween stuff,” proclaimed dealer Dale Vargason, Wayland, N.Y., as he pointed toward a set of bright orange Halloween paper poppers that remarkably still retained its original box.

At Jeffery Marks, Rochester, N.Y., there was a rare set of Schrafft’s countertop displays that consisted of an entire 1920s-era baseball team. “It is rare to find a complete set with all nine players,” commented the dealer. A roadside sign from the 1920s advertising a clothing store with a humorous cigar-smoking, well-dressed figure was offered, along with a well-done watercolor of an early locomotive and tender that the dealer was not sure if it had been “done by the artist for himself or executed for publication.”

A nice set of Rockwell Kent-illustrated boxed volumes of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare was at Dennis Holzman, Cohoes, N.Y. Also attracting attention was a Parker Bros Spanish American War-themed puzzle titled “Roosevelt’s Charge” that the dealer had framed with the box top appearing above the completed puzzle. “Something a little more macabre is this 1910 photograph depicting a somber-looking professor with ten students gathered around a partially dissected cadaver,” stated the dealer.

The Revolutionary War manuscript store accounts for Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh, N.Y., marked “Ledger for stores sold or delivered by Jos. Browne, Storekeeper, 1782,” was offered by Robert Fraker, Savoy Books, Lanesboro, Mass. The ledger featured highly interesting accounts recording wartime requisitions and prices for items such as tools, tents, wagons and cannon from nearly 150 soldiers, including Washington’s aide-de-camp Colonel David Humphries.

“It is amazing that these survived in the archives of Clayton and Bell throughout the World War I bombings in London,” proclaimed dealer Ari Millner of a series of original design drawings for the stained glass windows produced by the company. Seen at Prints Charming, SoHo, N.Y., the circa 1900–1930 drawings included a window design for St Albans and another for Queen Esther.

“We specialize in all things culinary within the ephemera field, everything that surrounds the field of food and drink,” stated dealer Donald Lindgren of Rabelais, Thought For Food, Biddeford, Maine. Among the assortment offered was an animated cocktail recipe book, circa 1930, cookbooks, colorful labels, as well as a large selection containing the vast majority of printed recipe books from the various Shaker communities.

A $2,000 reward was offered in 1866, according to a broadside, for the recovery and arrest of “four men in disguise… that forcibly plundered and robbed the home… and threatened the lives of the inmates with revolvers.” Bonds, a gold watch, a gold pencil and a diamond ring were among the take for which the reward was $1,000 for the return of the stolen items and $250 apiece for the apprehension of the robbers. The broadside was one of many at Thomas Cullen, Orchard Park, N.Y.

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