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The Ephemera Society News

Mother's Day at the Museum of Brands

Sunday 26 March 2017

Book your family in for an afternoon of special talks and trails at the Museum of Brands. The afternoon includes a 40 minute talk on the story from behind the scenes, how Robert Opie created the Museum, his first exhibition at the V&A in 1975 and the philosophy of the collection.

Image of advert

Discover the history of Mother's Day, and how mums have been portrayed in the media, whether playing family games in Edwardian times, gathering around the 1920s radio, or promoting everything from biscuits to soap. Complementing the Museum's spring focus on gender in advertising, women's liberation is part of this evolution - from suffragettes to wartime factories, the DIY revolution to kitchen convenience.

Above all, the Museum is the place to be, not only to appreciate the role of mothers, but also to reminisce and remember treasured moments triggered by brands such as Spangles, Kelloggs Country Store and Lyons Maid ice lollies.

Hear the talk at either the 2pm or 3pm session, and then spend the afternoon reminiscing with the whole family.

Tickets costs £14 for adults, £11 concession and £8 for children, plus booking fee.
Tickets include admission: Booking details


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.

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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


Famous Brand Names & Their Origins

Kathy Martin

Image of book

Have you ever wondered what the PG stands for in PG Tips? Or how the decidedly non-dairy Harvey’s Bristol Cream came by its name? Or why Cussons Imperial Leather is the name of a popular toilet soap rather than a luxury leather goods brand?

The answer to these conundrums can be found in, Famous Brand Names & Their Origins, a newly published book which shines a light on the origins of some of our most popular brands. Featured categories include confectionery, alcohol, frozen foods, household essentials, appliances, toys, High Street shops and many others.

Along the way, some of the colourful characters who brought these brands into our homes are introduced, amongst them daring entrepreneurs, Non-Conformist businessmen, plucky widows, brilliant refugees, forward-thinking philanthropists and a handful of decidedly racy individuals.

Packed with interesting facts, entertaining nuggets of trivia, and illustrated with a sprinkling of ephemera this book is for anyone interested in the origins of the brands that shape our lives.


Johnston and Gill: Very British Types

Mark Ovendon

Image of Johnston and Gill: Very British Types book

Iconic British typefaces Johnston and Gill Sans are celebrated in the first in-depth exploration of their development and impact on Britain’s visual culture.

Edward Johnston (1872–1944) and Eric Gill (1882–1940) were originators of two of the world’s most enduring typefaces. Johnston still stands as London’s primary ‘wayfinding’ lettering, while Gill Sans is the type of choice within many public and private organisations across the UK today.

Johnston and Gill: Very British Types celebrates their significant contribution to Britain’s visual culture. Tracing the story of each typeface from inception to the present day, Mark Ovenden skilfully draws together a complex joint history that incorporates Edward Johnston’s and Eric Gill’s friendship and occasional collaboration, the myriad of revisions to both typeface designs, and the enduring appeal of the two typefaces over the last century among a range of clients, most notably the London Underground (Johnston) and the BBC (Gill Sans).

A hundred years after the arrival of Johnston’s Standard Alphabet, and 90 years since the appearance of Gill Sans, both typefaces are still going strong. Revised for the digital age, their continued future at the heart of British typography seems guaranteed. The BBC, John Lewis and the Church of England have no intention of replacing Gill Sans as their in-house typefaces.

  • Hardback • 200 Pages • Size: 250 x 195 mm
  • Includes c.300 colour and b&w illustrations • £40.00 GBP
  • UK Publication: November, 2016
  • ISBN: 978-1-84822-176-5




Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life