Before the Internet reduced all correspondence and information to colorless bits and bytes, paper was the medium through which one learned what was happening in the world or back home. Newspapers ran banner headlines shouting yesterday’s news, magazines published important stories about things that had occurred weeks before, and letters from soldiers in far-off lands could take months to arrive. Now we can get these sorts of communications instantly. Who needs paper anymore?

Well, one of the things we’ve lost as we’ve consigned paper to history’s recycling bin is a record of the important events and moments in our lives. By definition, the documentation produced on paper is always incomplete, lacking 21st-century givens such as audio and video, for example. But paper does give us a snapshot of how events were viewed at roughly the time they occurred. And for scholars, historians, and amateur archivists, the omissions missing in the printed record are often more important than what made it onto the page.

Newspapers are probably the bulkiest and most fragile form of paper. Made of thin, inexpensive material, newspapers were meant to be disposed of, or perhaps reused at the bottom of a bird cage, after their contents had been consumed. The ones that have survived remind us that in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin printed and published the “Pennsylvania Gazette,” and that the “New York Times” has been around long enough to have reported both the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and the death of John Wilkes Booth a few weeks later.

In fact, death is a favorite topic of newspaper collectors, whether the unfortunate subject is Babe Ruth, President Kennedy, or Elvis. Similarly, the beginnings and conclusions of armed conflicts are in demand, as well as catalyzing events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But newspaper collectors also like to amass records of achievements, such as when Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969 or when Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey for the U.S. presidency in 1948, although the most sought-after paper from that election is the November 3 edition of the “Chicago Daily Tribune,” which famously got the story wrong.

Because magazines could never be as timely as newspapers, which themselves were out of date before the ink had dried on their pages, publishers and editors focused on evergreen subjects. Photographs of naked women fit this model perfectly, which is perhaps one reason why “Playboy” is among the most collected magazines around, especially its first issue in December of 1953, which featured a centerfold of Marilyn Monroe. Other magazines deemed historically significant include a late-19th, early-20th century humor magazine called “Puck.”

Beyond these bound examples of paper are the loose pieces, which range from maps to menus, letterheads to stock certificates, used and unused ticket stubs to out-of-date brochures. Of particular interest are calendars, which assured that an advertiser’s message would remain in a home or on the wall of a business for a full year, as well as paper dolls, which had heydays during the Victorian Era and in the decades between World War I and World War II.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Archives of the U.K.

National Archives of the U.K.

A treasure trove of early paper and historical items from the Middle Ages to the 20th century awaits at the United … [read review or visit site]

Ephemera Society of America

Ephemera Society of America

Great reference on ephemera... includes examples and descriptions of various ephemera categories, selected special … [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Autograph Book Edwardian Sketchbook Drawings Art Picture Paintings Album BookMarilyn Monroe Pageant Magazine 1946 Very Very Early Marilyn Monroe Cover MagRare Slave Broadside Forrest & Maples With Mississippi Document ( 1859)Maxfield Parrish Edison Mazda 1919 Spirit Of The Night Calendar Complete Handwritten Diaries 1300 Love Letters Niagara Falls Buffalo New York 1907-09Vintage Lrg Rolf Armstrong B&b Pin-up Print Bathing Beauty Is Coquette Very FineBettie Page On Cover In Bikini ! Sunbathing For Health Magazine 1956 Very RareMarilyn Monroe Cover Rare ! Detective Cases Magazine 1958 Stripper Candy Barr P.g.t. Beauregard "confedential" Signed Letter Mentions Nathan Bedford ForrestVintage Woolworth Lunch Menu 1954 Staten Island New York Coca Cola AdsC 1870 Antique Scrap Album Victorian Valentine Cards Etc Fabulous Pop Up TypeCivil War Confederate Document 1862 Christmas Eve Fodder Monroe Louisiana Csa Nr1880 Gigantic Buffalo Bills Wild West Die Cut Scrap Rocking Horse Paper Toy #1(3) Jan/feb 1800 Folded Stampless Letters Pittsfield, Ma- Romantic, Travel, LawVintage Pre-pro Wm. J. Lemp, St. Louis Letterhead, June 28, 1890(2) Feb 1800 Stampless Letter -- Hysterically Funny Woman + Col Aaron Burr1766, Hartford, Ct; Titus Hosmer, Continental Congress, Signed Bond Payment1924 Maxfield Parrish The Venetian Lamplighter Edison Mazda Calendar Print Passport. England To Russia, 1859, Various Stamps, Signatures1830-1900s (100+) Letters,covers,documents,stamps,stock,misc.,mostly 1800s Lot(2) U.s. Letters 1799 - - Amazing Women Deserve Education + Famous AbolitionistChicago Rock Island & Pacific Ry C1880 Menu-nrLarge Lot Of Antique 1800's Letters 125+ LettersGene Pressler Pirate's Treasure Calendar 1932 Pin Up Vintage Man's Story Magazine 1962 Chained Nudes Torture Master Hitler War CrimeVintage Pre-pro Adolph Coors Golden Brewery Draft Letterhead, December 20,1890Victorian Die Cut Scrap Oblaten Chromo Large Sheet 7 X 13,5 Inch Angels L&b 2766Orig Japanese Matchbox Label Album Military & Metamorphic 185 Labels 1920s-1930sWorld War Two - Lot Of 32 Wwii Letters Including Two W Original Ink IllustrationWwii Arp Indentity Card + Passes City Of Norwich, Boulton & PaulOld Kalispell Malting &brewing Co.1930s Bock Beer Bottle Full Irtp Label MontanaEarly Embossed Metal Tin Post Standard Newspaper Home Delivery Box Syracuse Ny 1918 Wwi (250) Letters 3rd Pioneer Infantry France South Carolina Cohasset MaMuskoka Lakes - Canadian National Railways Roaring Twenties BrochureKon Tiki Hotel Luncheon Vintage Restaurant Menu Russia Biometric Passport, Travel Document.Vintage 1959 Hallmark Daughter Valentine's Day Paper Doll Card Mary Jane UncutSerbia Biometric Passport, Travel Document.Victorian Die Cut Scrap Oblate Chromo X-mas Christmas Complete Sheet L&b 18x24cmArmenia Turkey 1919 Passport Cesarie Armenian Deportee Refugee Passage Mersine Vintage Pre-pro Anheuser-busch Brewing Assn., Pueblo Letterhead, June 17,1890Archive 350+ Letters James Henry Coghill Baptist Pastor California Virginia 18801940 - Patterson Drug Co. Advertising Wall Calendar Farmville, Va Alka Seltzer1934 Dinner Menu ~ D & C Lake Lines ~ Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. Vintage 1960 Hallmark Valentine's Day Paper Doll Play Card Jenny &jane Tea Party1811 Indiana Territory Bond Of (president) William Henry Harrison - Not SignedBound Volume Of The New York Spectator Newspaper, 1825Huge Lot, L&b Victorian Die Cut Lady Kid Baby Paper Dolls Heads-arms-legs 1890sVtg Unused Greeting Card Lot/ 2 Friend & Thank You Pawprints Trina Schart Hyman Victorian Die Cut Scrap Oblaten Glanzbilder Sample Sheet Black Americana1896 The Yellow Kid Sheet MusicArchive 1883 34 Letters Grape Colorado Silver Boom Woman Miner Mining (2) 1800 Mailed Folded Letters (pittsfield Ma) Attorney To His Wife + Caving!Stan Musial And Biggie's Restaurant Menu, St. Louis, MoLot Of 60 Antique Victorian Calling Cards*some Hiddden Name*vintage*ephemeraWwii Letter 1945 Italians Massacred By Germans Caves Rome Italy Ww2 Ww Ii Vtg Nr50 Truck Front Strike Matchcovers - All With Truck PicturesVintage Rust Craft Die Cut Christmas Greeting Card Ballerina On Reindeer 22461866 East Dereham Norfolk Boot Maker Vellum Deed Document Indenture1813, Ohio, General Nathaniel Massie, Politician, Surveyor, Signed Title Bond