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January 5, 2008 1:02 PM   Subscribe

The Ephemera Society was glancingly mentioned prior, but deserves a better mention. It includes:
An exhibit, an article, and links to Michael Ragsdale's 9/11 ephemera.
A history of Coca-cola print ephemera.
An article by Will Shortz on the ephemeral history of the crossword.
Articles from the Louisiana Library Association's journal issue on ephemera, including Principles for Organizing an Ephemera Collection and an Overview of Political Ephemera.
posted by klangklangston (11 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
5th link is dead.
posted by anomie at 1:12 PM on January 5, 2008


That Will Shortz article is great.
In 1924 two young graduates of Columbia University’s Journalism School, Richard Simon and Max Schuster, were starting a publishing company. According to legend, Simon was having dinner with his Aunt Wixie, who requested a volume of crossword puzzles for her daughter — her daughter being a fan of the weekly challenges in the World.

Discovering that no such volume existed, they commissioned the World’s puzzle editors (a trio with the impressive names Prosper Buranelli, F. Gregory Hartswick, and Margaret Petherbridge) to edit such a book from a drawer full of unpublished manuscripts. The Cross Word Puzzle Book, released in April, was the first crossword book in the world, and the first book of any sort from the fledgling firm of Simon and Schuster. As a promotional gimmick, the book had a loop attached on the back cover with a Venus pencil inside it.

Sales took off immediately. The first printing of 3,600 copies sold out in a matter of weeks. A second printing did likewise. Then numerous printings of ever-increasing numbers followed. Two more volumes were rushed into print, and other publishers followed with their own. By the end of the year the Cross Word Puzzle Books ranked #1, #2, and #3 on the national nonfiction bestseller list, with 400,000 copies in print. Altogether, six of the top 10 volumes on the list were crosswords.

The success of the crossword books launched a nationwide craze, even more furious than the hula hoop, pet rocks and Beanie Babies.
The first S&S book was a crossword collection! Who knew? (Besides Will Shortz, that is.)
posted by languagehat at 1:17 PM on January 5, 2008


"5th link is dead."

The Coca Cola link works for me.
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 PM on January 5, 2008


"The first S&S book was a crossword collection! Who knew? (Besides Will Shortz, that is.)"

Too bad "Simon and Schuster" is too long for anything but a center string. Sixteen letters!
posted by klangklangston at 1:38 PM on January 5, 2008


"5th link is dead."

The Coca Cola link works for me.


Count better.
posted by thinman at 4:03 PM on January 5, 2008


I love ephemera. I want to start a collection. Since I'm interested in objects from the '70s and '80s, it does become hard to distinguish "ephemera" from "crap" sometimes.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:12 PM on January 5, 2008




"Principles for organising an Ephemera Collection" is a very good article and has pre-empted an AskMe I've been thinking of asking.

In fact, it's all good.
posted by WPW at 4:52 PM on January 5, 2008


Oooh, I didn't realize that there existed a crossword-themed pinball game. That combines two of my especially dorky interests. Here it is on the Internet Pinball Database.
posted by painquale at 5:57 PM on January 5, 2008


Since I'm interested in objects from the '70s and '80s, it does become hard to distinguish "ephemera" from "crap" sometimes.

If you keep the "crap" around long enough, it turns into "ephemera," as everyone else who had the "crap" had long before thrown it out. Valuable, rare crap = ephemera? That's not to knock it; I love these types of relics. If you keep a piece-o-shit Burger King toy around for a century, it'll become a treasure, a window into a different era.

Fun post, thanks!
posted by not_on_display at 6:26 PM on January 5, 2008


> glancingly mentioned prior, but deserves a better mention.

Are you sure? Glancing mention seems so right for ephemera.
posted by jfuller at 6:35 PM on January 5, 2008


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