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The Ephemera Society News

Decades of Design

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Image detail from poster

A fantastic set of posters by Hans Schleger is coming up at Roseberys London auction house on Tuesday 6 September. Hans Schleger , also known by the name Zero, was one of the most important graphic designers of the twentieth century; he came to Britain having worked in Berlin and New York. Read more about his influential work, then view the posters.

View press release: Roseberys auction house


World’s Largest Collection of Paper Peepshows Acquired for the Nation

Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of paper peepshows has been donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) under the Cultural Gifts Scheme.

The collection was formed over 30 years by Ephemera Society members Jacqueline and Jonathan Gestetner and is now part of the V&A’s research collection, soon to be accessible in the reading rooms of the National Art Library.

Covering a wide range of subjects, the peepshows allow viewers the chance to join a vibrant masquerade, have a peek inside the Thames Tunnel or to follow Alice down the rabbit hole. Others commemorate historic events, such as the coronation of Queen Victoria or Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow in 1812.

They come in many shapes and sizes and are printed or handmade. Some are no larger than a matchbox, while others expand to over two metres in length. First engineered in the 1820s from paper and cloth, peepshows became an inexpensive pastime for adults and children. Most commonly sold as souvenirs, they offered a glimpse into a choice of vistas, celebrating particular events, famous places or engineering feats.

Nearly two hundred years since their invention, paper peepshows continue to delight viewers with their ingenuity and visually arresting scenes.

More information V&A Museum


The Sayers Collection of Ocean Liner Ephemera

The John Johnson Collection

Image of writing paper header

Read about a major donation of Ocean Liner ephemera to the John Johnson Collection from Ephemera Society member John Sayers.

More information Bodleian Libraries blog


Tell us More about our silhouettes

National Portrait Gallery

Image of record books

Can you spare the National Portrait Gallery just five minutes to help transcribe signatures of tourists on the West Pier, Brighton from the 1920s?

Hubert Leslie ran a Silhouette Studio on the West Pier, Brighton, from 1922 until 1939; he cut well over 20,000 portraits during that time. The National Portrait Gallery has 10 of his record books, covering the years from 1922 to 1950, with Leslie's duplicate of each silhouette, and the autograph of the sitter. These included British holiday-makers and visitors from around the world, from New Zealand and North America, from China and Japan.

More information National Portrait Gallery


The stories old dance programmes are telling

2016 Gothenburg Book Fair · Friday 23 September at 5pm

Detail from Swedish dance card

Ephemera Society member Carina Broman is giving a talk about Swedish dance cards and programmes as part of the 2016 Gothenburg Book Fair taking place from 22-25 September. The talk will be illustrated with ephemera selected from the collection in the National Library of Sweden, photographed by Ann-Sofie Persson.

Carina will explain the provenance of the collection and, showing items from the 1770s through to the 1950s, demonstrate how it shows not only the development of the genre (from simple text only dance cards to programmes and brochures illustrated with photographs), but also how they reflect developments in Swedish society. She will also discuss the printing techniques used and how the design of a programme reflected the nature of the organiser.

For more information go to 2016 Gothenburg Book Fair


York's Archbishops Registers Revealed

Detail from Register

This project provides free access to over 20,000 images of Registers produced by the Archbishops of York, 1225-1650, in addition to a growing searchable index of names, subjects, places and organisations.

The registers are a valuable, and in many cases, unexploited source for ecclesiastical, political, social, local and family history - covering periods of war, famine, political strife and religious reformation in the Archdiocese of York and the wider Northern Province.

You can browse images using or search the 2727 indexed entries via the search interface. Further information, guidance and supporting material relating to the registers will be added to the site as time goes on.

Visit the website: York's Archbishops Registers Revealed



Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life