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Priest House Museum's unique collection of Victorian Valentine cards

Until 28 February 2017

Exhibition display

The Museum's collection of 350 Victorian Valentines were originally part of the stock of a stationer's, bookseller's and printer's premises owned by John Low. Intriguingly, without any explanation Low closed the stationer's shop in the early 1870's. At his instruction, the shop was left untouched until his death.

Exhibition displayApproximately thirty years later the stationer's premises were taken over and the Valentines were discovered. During the second world war the collection was considered for pulping to support the war effort. Thankfully it was saved as it was recognised as being of historical importance.

Today the collection of unused Valentines dating from 1820 to 1870 is recognised as being of national significance. It comprises a range of delicate, intricate examples proclaiming enduring love and also a selection of scurrilous printed sheets intended to insult and ridicule the recipient - the English Comic Valentine!

  • Priest's House Museum
  • 23-27 High Street
  • Wimborne Minster
  • Dorset BH21 1HR
  • UK
  • More 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.

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.


The Land of Lost Content

Funding campaign

A 272 page case-bound book celebrating the collection of the Land of Lost Content, a museum dedicated to British ephemera.

The museum is run by Stella Mitchell, an esteemed ephemera collector. Stella has been collecting British ephemera for over 40 years and her collection of thousands of items is a truly unique portrait of British society through the goods we throw away.

Image of book cover

Help to capture this museum's incredible collection of rubbish in a not-so-throw-away, beautiful book. The book will contain 50 beautifully photographed items from the collection, each with a short story, as well as a visual tour of the museum and essays from Professor Teal Triggs and Dr Robert Banham.

A very limited run of the book will be printed, either 500 or 700 depending on the funding achieved, 272 full colour pages. 170x240 mm, hard cover wrapped in Winter & Company Dubletta cloth, with the design foiled in a gloss black.

If you are interested in helping get the book made more details are at Kickstarter


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 Road Show: Senate House Library, University of London

25 February 2017

Image of Labour Party song book

Senate House Library will be hosting an Ephemera Road Show as part of their Radical Voices season. Radical Voices, running from January to March 2017, is an ongoing project in Senate House Library seeking to celebrate and promote the collections of radical voices of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Revealing this strand in the library’s collections sheds light on enormously influential but subsequently neglected figures, campaigns and organisations.

The Ephemera Road Show will take place in Room 101 and the Grand Lobby of the magnificent Senate House. The public are invited to bring items from their own Radical Voices collections, such as letters, pamphlets, leaflets and other items. They will have a couple minutes with a librarian or a conservator, who will provide advice on conserving the item and pass on any knowledge they might have, but also listen to the stories of the items.

Visit the website to find out more about this event.

Image: Copyright © Senate House Library




Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life