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Image of Victorian song seller

Street pedlar selling new songs and long laces, watches hanging row by row, and boys standing round a show


Welcome to The Ephemera Society

The Ephemera Society is a non-profit body devoted to the collection, conservation, study and educational uses of handwritten and printed ephemera.

The term ‘ephemera’ covers a wide range of documents including leaflets, handbills, tickets, trade cards, programmes and playbills, printed tins and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more. In the words of the society’s founder, Maurice Rickards, “the minor transient documents of everyday life”.

Essentially produced to meet the needs of the day, such items reflect the moods and mores of past times in a way that more formal records cannot. Collectors of printed ephemera vary in their approach. Some focus on the ephemera of a particular trade or profession, others are interested in its social or graphic history. Other ephemerists collect documents simply as evocative reminders of the past.

Interior of Victorian grocer's shop
Flies, feasting in a grocer's shop, and buzzing in the sun

Illustrations from Grandmamma Easy's Merry Multiplication.
New Pictorial Toy Books - harmlessly entertaining, or moral and instructive.
Published by Dean & Co, Threadneedle Street. Price six-pence each, dated 1845.

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Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life