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The Ephemera Society Journal · Winter 2023

Winter 2023 issue Nº 203 of The Ephemerist was posted to members on 16 February.

Our new Chair, Dickon Weir-Hughes has as expressed the desire that our Society will be the beating heart of ephemera collectors everywhere ... and our contributors to this special Animals & Birds issue will, I know, echo that sentiment.

I am happy to include a piece from Weir-Hughes on bird-themed airline menus; Sheaf’s collection of watercolour Victorian anthropomorphic cartoons; Meller’s tropical bird ‘shipper tickets’; Seville’s game from 1930s to promote Spratt’s dog biscuits; Tanner’s story of Cormorant fishing inspired by an old letterhead; Thomopoulous’ party bags featuring the popular cats illustrations by Louis Wain.

As well as regular columns N&Qs and Mrs Pepys, members will also appreciate our Brief Directory of Ephemera compiled by committee Member, Kirsten Hardie.
The Editor

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The Editor is always delighted to receive contributions about any aspect of ephemera and collecting ephemera. Submission deadlines are:
Spring Nº 204 29 February 2024
Summer Nº 205 15 May 2024
Autumn Nº 206 15 August 2024

Why not become a member today? A year’s membership of The Ephemera Society entitles you to four issues. Join us! The Ephemera Society is always pleased to welcome new members. Payment can be made online via PayPal.


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The Graphic Design Sourcebook

Robert Opie

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A must-have book for every graphic designer, lover of commercial art or social history. The Graphic Design Sourcebook delves into the vast history of commercial art that surrounds us wherever we go, and has done so ever since printing was invented. Yet everyday graphics have mostly been ignored as an art form.

From Victorian song sheets to French perfume labels, early matchboxes to decorative greetings cards, appealing cigarette packets to enticing holiday brochures, colourful advertisements to racy night club tickets, these miniature masterpieces deserve artistic recognition.

Full of emotion and persuasion, this remarkable reference archive of commercial art contains the exquisite, the extraordinary and the spectacular, but also demonstrates how once everyday graphics from the past can now be admired with new insight. With over 2,000 images, this is both an inspiring sourcebook and a treasure trove of ideas - a true cornucopia of communication.

Hardback • 208 pages • Size: 240mm x 170mm • ISBN: 9781911397373
More details: Unicorn Publishing


Labels of Empire

By Susan Meller

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The book focuses on a little known, but highly important, aspect of late 19th and early 20th century British (and Indian) textile industries - the fantastic chromolithographed paper labels that textile manufacturers and their agents pasted on their yard goods. Called “shipper’s tickets" in the trade, they were in effect the companies’ brands and were designed to catch the eye of shoppers in the bustling Indian markets.

The images shown on the labels accurately depict the pantheon of Hindu deities; maharajas; dancing girls; daily Indian life; etc. - all rendered with exquisite detail.

Labels of Empire begins with the late 19th-century heyday of British textile manufacturing and closes with Indian independence in 1947. By combining visual narrative, popular culture, magical realism, and history in a way never done before, this book offers an unprecedented look at the British and Indian textile industries in the time of the Raj through their remarkably successful use of attractive paper labels as trademarks.

Serving as a premium of sorts, most of these labels survived because they were collected, saved and often framed by the Indian people - then and now. Today these long-surviving pieces of "ephemera” are being recognized for their beauty and their role in the history of the textile trade.

Hardback • 544 pages • Size: 9¼ x 12 inch • Colour images throughout
More details: Labels of Empire


More Than a Snapshot: A Visual History of Photo Wallets

By Annebella Pollen

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For over 100 years, when you’d often have to wait a week to see your photos, film processors used photo wallets - cheery illustrated envelopes - to return your pictures to you. They showed what subjects were considered suitable for a snapshot: bright-eyed children, laughing couples, adorable pets and perfect landscapes; they also reinforced prohibitions by what they omitted.

Drawing from the author’s personal collection of photo wallets from the 1900s to the 1990s, Annebella Pollen’s book charts a century of popular photography in Britain: the birth of a new mass leisure pastime mainly marketed towards women, the growth of camera ownership after the Second World War, and behind it all, the working conditions of the people processing the films. It commemorates a time when you never knew if you had captured a treasured memory or your finger in front of the lens.

Hardback £12.00 • 112 pages • Size: 22 x 16 cm • Colour images throughout
Publisher: Four Corners Books


Menu Design in Europe

Author: Steven Heller

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Europe’s reputation as the centre of the culinary world is confirmed with this expansive array of restaurant menus from across the continent.

From extravagant bills of fare for royal feasts to delectable mid-century minimalist graphics, the gustatory customs of dozens of European countries are revealed in this encyclopedic design compendium.

Featuring an essay by graphic design historian Steven Heller and captions by leading ephemerist and antiquarian book dealer Marc Selvaggio, Menu Design In Europe features menus from leading collectors and institutions, providing a sumptuous visual banquet and historical document of two centuries of culinary traditions.

Hardcover • 25 x 31.5 cm • 3.43 kg • 448 pages • Publisher: TASCHEN