How to make corks fit. How to adjust a door. How to extract a splinter. A surprisingly useful How to Do It series of mid-19th century cigarette trade cards, digitized by the New York Public Library.
If this is a real picture of the Brontës, then I'm Heathcliff! [The Guardian] A collector is convinced that the £15 photograph he snapped up on eBay is of the Brontë sisters. It’s highly unlikely, but the story is a mark of our enduring fascination with the literary family. Plus, a Brontë Society expert gives her verdict. Could this be the only photograph of the three Brontë sisters? asked Seamus Molloy [Daily Mail], who picked the photograph up for 15 quid on eBay.
From Archive.org: "The A/V Geeks Film Archive is an ephemeral film collection curated by Skip Elsheimer. What started as a hobby more than ten years is now a lifetime commitment. His collection has grown to over 24,000 films gathered from school auctions, thrift stores, closets and dumpsters." Includes such hits as "Wink Martindale Talks about "Year 1999 AD"! Disney's "VD--Attack Plan"! DoD's "Red Nightmare"! [more inside]
In the summer of 1963 Jerry Gretzinger began drawing a map of an imaginary city. You can now use Jerry's Map to zoom in on any of the over 3,200 eight by ten inch panels of the original paper map, executed in acrylic, marker, colored pencil, ink, collage, and inkjet print. This short film by Greg Whitmore takes a fascinating look at the project and the artist's process, which "is dictated by the interplay between an elaborate set of rules and randomly generated instructions." [via]
“Modern Literature Collection: The First 50 Years: is a digital exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Modern Literature Collection (MLC), part of the Special Collections in the Washington University Libraries. The digital exhibit is a companion to the onsite exhibit in Olin Library, on display November 2014 – March 2015, and contains everything available onsite, and much more. We hope that through these digitized materials you will enjoy exploring the history of the MLC, as well as the rich contents of some of the writers’ archives." [more inside]
The Pale King drafts: The David Foster Wallace archive at the Harry Ransom Center UT has made some documents from The Pale King accessible online, including a few pages of his workbook, handwritten drafts, and typed edits. [more inside]
Musings on, in the age of digitization and photocopies and the dying off of old collectors, what it means to be a book collector by Johan Kugelberg of Boo-Hooray (the guy who cataloged Afrika Bambaataa's collection for Cornell University, and I can't believe there isn't a Previously for that!) [more inside]
Michelangelo's Grocery List : written for an illiterate servant.
"We have not learned, even, to live with our fellow man. Instead we have perfected more means to annihilate him -- to wipe him (and ourselves) from the face of the Earth." A 1974 letter from Lieutenant Colonel Clyde S. Shield, lead test pilot for the Manhattan project, to his newborn grandson.
Since at least November 4th, 2004, the Internet has secretly been under the rule of a shadowy, unelected government led by a secretive "Office of the President of the Internet." Media accounts claim that Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian may have been a recent candidate for the office. Other sources suggest The Tech Guy, Leo Laporte, may have been elected in July 2009. [more inside]
The Carrier's Address In the first two centuries of American newspapering, printers ended the year with elaborately worded decorated holiday messages, often in verse, written in the voice of the printer's boy or news carrier, hinting that the end of year would be a great time for a Christmas or New Year's tip.
"New Englanders learn quickly to dismiss the chowder where tomato ruins its gorgeous broth, where references to New York tarnish its name...However, few know how such distinctions came about in the first place, what processes were involved that resulted in one person's disgust of another's beloved creation, and why, to this day, do we stand by such convictions?" The New England Chowder Compendium, from the McIntosh Cookery Collection at the UMass Amherst library. [more inside]
US Presidential race got you stressed? Escape into the past with Retro Campaigns.
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
Your change, with thanks — Among the refinements of middle-class Victorian shopping was the giving of change not directly from hand to hand but in paper packets. The envelope, known as a ‘change packet,’ measured some 60 mm (2 ½ in) square and was printed with the legend ‘The change, with thanks’, often in a decorative roundel or other device. [more inside]
Mike McHenry has posted several photo pages of the Chinese firecracker and firework labels he's been collecting since 1968.
x-ray delta one's flickr stream is filled with thousands of scans assembled by a one-man library named James Vaughan. The collected ephemera contains brochures, ads, and magazines from the world of air travel, cars, trains, and lots of other things. No matter where you dive in, there are always treasures.
The Overlook Hotel: "Ephemera related to Stanley Kubrick's Masterpiece of Modern Horror, The Shining."
Plenty of people collect Disneyana, the toys, books, animation cels, and theme-park souvenirs. Then there are those fans who collect information and details on the Disney parks themselves, collecting official park maps or drawing up their own ride blueprints, assembling the design history behind the attractions, and even collecting vintage tickets and ticket books. Yesterland (previously: 1, 2, 3) is an ever-growing collection of Disneyland history, and has an updated collection of links to similar fan sites and Imagineering blogs, which is a whole collection of rabbit holes of nostalgia and behind-the-scense information. So grab a riding crop and pretend like it's the 60s all over again!
"I draw with a Biro pen, i paint with anything. I often run into the sea." Mark Powell draws old people on old envelopes with a plain old ballpoint pen. [more inside]
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Paul Lukas found hundreds of Manhattan Trade School for Girls "report cards" from the early 1900's and has posted several of them online. [more inside]
Hey Oscar Wilde! — A spot to archive nerd images of interest from out of print/hard to find art books, magazines, comics and other assorted ephemera laying about as well as detours into other things found about the web. Some of the pieces from the 'Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!!' literary art collection (previously on MeFi) may make it on here from time to time as well.
Biomedical Ephemera, or, a Frog for your Boils is "A blog for all biological and medical ephemera, from the age of Abraham through the era of medical quackery and cure-all nostrums. Sometimes featuring illustrations of diseases and conditions of the times, sometimes fascinating ephemeral medical equipment, and sometimes clippings and information about the theories themselves." The archive page is also a useful starting point. via Things Magazine.
Home Kinks, part 1 and part 2 - for years, Popular Mechanics Press published a series of tips, many from readers, in a special edition format they called "Household Kinks." Scanning Around With Gene has posted a collection from 1940s and '50s editions.
Eclectic, cheerful and interesting visuals with plenty of links worth exploring to other sites: Vintage | Ephemera | Comics | Children's Illustration | Poster Art from the The Martin Klasch Blogspot. [more inside]
"Rock Springs is a mining town - coal mainly. All the men who lived here in town were not shaving in honor of the Frontier Days Celebration and did they look terrible. We heard that a prize was to be given to the one who had the best growth of alphaalpha on his mug." -- The travel scrapbooks of Ruby and Sam Anglund, 1935-1956. [more inside]
If you are a fan of the quirky type fonts of a pre-digital era, you may enjoy "the" project, a whimsical little romp through the graphic yesteryear brought to you by the hound of lettering. (via Mira y Calla)
Please enjoy one of collage artist Lewis Klahr's haptic, romantic meditations on materiality and mortality, False Aging, and a look at his process.
"I have started an archive of photographs deemed "too hard to keep." The reason you can't live with the photo or photo album I do not need to know..."
Comics with Problems (previously, 2) presents Dignity with Respect, the US Army's official comic book explanation of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Among it's important reminders: information given to mental health professionals by soldiers is not automatically considered confidential and officers are obligated to investigate whether a solider's claim to be homosexual is "sincere". h/t Boing Boing.
When Gladys and Harold Degree pulled the siding off their Colchester, VT home, they made a surprising discovery--five large, full-color posters from an 1883 visit by the Forepaugh Circus. Conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center made another surprising discovery underneath--posters for Forepaugh's rivals, the John B. Doris Circus. The newly conserved posters are on display at the Shelburne Museum through October 24th. (via)
Remember Paper is a blog with photos of interesting magazines, books, and other paper-based ephemera. NSFW.
"QSL cards confirm either a two-way radiocommunication between two amateur radio stations or a one-way reception of a signal from an AM radio, FM radio, television or shortwave broadcasting station. They can also confirm the reception of a two-way radiocommunication by a third party listener. A typical QSL card is the same size and made from the same material as a typical postcard, and most are sent through the mail as such." Here's a substantial collection of them.
"When my grandfather passed away last year, my family gathered to go through his belongings. He had been in the foreign service and he had filled a whole wall of his study with hotel door hangers from all his travels throughout the world. They're really beautiful, in aggregate, and I wanted to share. Enjoy."
Ephemera Assemblyman a weblog. Personal favorites: Film Poster Paintings from Ghana :: Magician Souvenir Programs :: Abraham Lincoln Political Cartoons :: (The Art of) Spanish Rolling Papers :: Tickets from Political Conventions. Much more to be explored.
The amazing products and lifestyles that would be at your fingertips if you lived 50 years ago and had a magazine subscription.
Beautifully designed, quirky, colorful late 19th-century "artistic" and "gaslight" printing at Dick Sheaff's ephemera pages. [via, via] [more inside]
Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child. An excellent collection of vintage soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
In June of 2004, fifty-eight friends and acquaintances joined in a collaborative labor project that lasted for eight days. They were instrumental in organizing the Prelinger Library in San Francisco, CA. One month from today will be the little library's fifth anniversary celebration. The library project/ public art project/ art installation/ archive/ part information center is an appropriation-friendly collection of books, periodicals, zines, and print ephemera. The library isn't organized by the Dewy Decimal system, but sorted by Megan Prelinger into four constant threads: landscape and geography; media and representation; historical consciousness; and political narratives from beyond the mainstream. The library is the less-known work of Rick Prelinger, and his wife, Megan. Rick is most commonly known for his video collection, which is the primary source of ephemera films on archive.org. (All things Prelinger previously)
Moody's Collectibles sells vintage postcards, but they also make available a huge catalogue of their stock. You can browse geographically by US State, by country, and by topic. Or, you can search for anything from alligators to the California Zephyr. They also have a blog. [more inside]
A Crooked Gambling Supplies catalog from 1960, a 1914 Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles, dozens of magic posters from the '20s to the '40s, and more fun ephemera from Old Catalog's flickr sets.
User El_Greco of the SkyscaperCity Forum presents "Lost London", an absolutely stunning photographic thread of old London architecture.
The Motel in America. In a different America, where the novelty of driving cross-country and the charm of the highway strip drew droves of tourists--and their automobiles--from coast to coast in the name of exploration and recreation, motels provided a home away from home for weary travelers. While many of the great motels of the mid-twentieth century have disappeared from the national landscape, the linen postcards left behind in the Motel Morgue can give us a glimpse into what this era of American tourism and leisure looked like.
Peace and War in the 20th Century is an ambitious, in progress, massive assemblage of posters, photographs, propaganda, ephemera, letters, diaries, paintings, sketches, stories, letters, music and related items, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The collection is international in scope. Some of the nodes lack content, and the navigation is a little confusing, so the jump I list some of my favourite case studies from their site. [more inside]
A retro set of cocktail napkins showing Eisenhower-era damsels and drunkards, with captions by The Bard. via
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