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The Ephemera Society News

Music Collections acquires Boosey & Hawkes archive

British Library

Image Boosey's Musical Cabinet

The British Library announced in January 2017 the acquisition of a major collection relating to British music publishing: the archive of Boosey and Hawkes.

Comprising many hundreds of boxes of documents relating to the business of the firm for about a hundred years up to around 1980, it is of enormous research value, charting, as it does, the rich role that Boosey and Hawkes played in the musical life of the nation during that period; and of course the company is thriving and still very much in business today.

The modern company was formed in 1930 when the two founder firms merged: one had been established at the end of the 18th century as a lending library by John Boosey, before moving into publishing popular operas as they became fashionable in the mid-nineteenth century.

William Henry Hawkes, on the other hand, was a military musician who set out to provide editions of woodwind and brass music in the second half of the 19th century. The new firm therefore came to cater for all musical tastes, producing editions of light music, popular songs, music for brass and military bands, dance orchestras, as well as publishing the works of some of the greatest classical composers of the 20th century. Today no other British music publisher has a greater international standing.


Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand

Ephemera collections on Tumblr

The Library, a member of the Ephemera Society, has an extensive collection of ephemera which includes material relating to New Zealand covering the period from the beginning of printing there (about 1840) to the present, with a few older items from Britain and Europe.

Detail from Victorian valentine

Note from the curator: A cheery label for a canned plum pudding, traditionally eaten by New Zealanders at Christmas-time despite its being summertime here. Note the logo at the right, showing St George fighting the dragon, in best English tradition. All the appropriate wintry Christmas imagery appears on this label, published by a Dunedin company that also produced jams, soups, tinned meat and fish, and household products such as laundry crystals.

Label: St George Preserving & Canning Company Ltd :Ye olde English plum pudding, prepared
by Irvine & Stevenson’s St George Coy Ltd., New Zealand

View the collection


Books as they were bought by Mavis Eggle

The Social History of a Collection

The title Books as they were bought may be a little misleading. The author has tried to create a picture of the market for all printed items in the state in which they were sold. Books are featured in a variety of bindings, also including paperbacks, part-issues, magazines with original adverts and covers, as well as chap books and broadsides bought in the street. Each of the four volumes covers a decade.

Image of book covers

Image of book pages

Available to be purchased from Scott Brinded (stpaulsbib[at] postal and fairs, Gresham Books and The Antiquarian Book Company at book fairs.


A Partnership for Ephemera Studies

News from the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication,
University of Reading

Poster from Rickards collection

Typography is pleased to announce an exciting new Goodwill Partnership between the Centre for Ephemera Studies (one of our research centres) and the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library (University of Oxford). Commenting on this new initiative, Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian of the John Johnson Collection said:

The John Johnson Collection is delighted to partner the Centre for Ephemera Studies at the University of Reading. Our joint aim is to further the academic and popular potential of ephemera to cast light on the everyday lives of our forebears through the documents they themselves saw and handled. We are particularly excited to work with the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication in exploring the materiality of ephemera in their (often innovative) design and printing.

The Partnership will include working together on exhibitions, symposia, funding applications, projects with postgraduate and undergraduate students, and sharing of expertise on cataloguing, conservation, and print identification and conservation. It will reinforce the potential of ephemera to engage academics from a wide range of disciplines as well as the public.

Professor Roberta Gilchrist, Research Dean for Heritage and Creativity at Reading supports the collaboration:

The University of Reading warmly welcomes the new partnership between the Centre for Ephemera Studies and the Bodleian Library, John Johnson Collection. The collaboration will highlight the rich potential of ephemera to illuminate the history of everyday life and to inspire new approaches to printing and design.

Winter Entertainments from the Rickards Collection


Michael Twyman: Hullmandel’s stones at Kingston Lacy

Association of European Printing Museums

Take the opportunity to read the paper - "Hullmandel’s stones at Kingston Lacy" - given by Ephemera Society President, Michael Twyman, at the conference of the Association of European Printing Museums in November 2016: From stone to chip: Alois Senefelder and the invention of printing in an international context, Nederlands Steendrukmuseum, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, 3-5 November 2016. It is a summary of a much longer and fully documented article, not yet published.

Association of European Printing Museums




Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life