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Because magazines could never be as timely as newspapers, which themselves were out of date before the ink had dried on their pages, publishers and editors focused on evergreen subjects.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 Blog

Ephemera Blog

Marty Weil's wide-ranging, in-depth blog on ephemera, including lots of great interviews with ephemera collectors. … [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    

Art Deco 1940s Fatima The Dancing Harem Girl Rubber Moving Toy Doll Original BoxEarl Moran Girls Of 1950 12-page Complete Pin-up Calendar With Marilyn MonroeComplete 1941 Esquire Varga Girl Pin-up 12 Page Spiral Bound Calendar Vintage NrGil Elvgren 1950s Pin-up Print B&b Framed Curvy Nude At Vanity Is Captivating NrK.o. Munson 1945 Art Deco Nude 12 Page Pin-up Complete B&b Calendar W/ EnvelopeLarge Ruehl Heckman 1940 Catalina Deco Aviation Calendar Flying Over Avalon RareOriginal California Gold Rush Letter San Francisco 1854 12 Pages Great ContentProhibition Playing Cards Set Of 6 Different Limited Decks By Ellusionist-newLisa Frank Lot Vintage Folder Notebook Paper Pencil Organizer Dream Writers RareGreat Northern Railway Calendar 1945 W/ Am. Indian Chief By Artist Winold ReissFinest Exotic Harem Girl Art Deco Pin-up Calendar Print Grace Irene Patten 19351771, Pennsylvania Patriot, Prisoner Of War, Robert Magaw, Signed Letter1854 Radical Anti-slavery Newspaper "the Liberator" William Lloyd Garrison1966 Rare Brown & Bigelow Lrg Calendar Buxom Pin-up Glamour Girl Intermission NrAntique American Playing Cards - Samuel Hart & Co - 1870's - First Angel Back Bicycle Titanic Playing Cards Life & Death 2 Deck Set - Ultra Rare Sealed1948 Thos D Murphy Hy Hintermeister Calendar Uncle Sam Sails Ship Of State Large100% Authentic Louis Vuitton Lv Playing Cards W/ Box And Dust Cover! 18th Century American Signed Document C.1726 New England United States2 Decks Sealed Bicycle Playing Cards Holiday Collection Santa Back W Tin X-masVintage Grit Canvas Newspaper Delivery Shoulder Bag Never Used!1937 Rolf Armstrong Art Deco Pin-up Calendar Vintage My Time Is Your Time Fine+1892 Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Handwritten Signed Letter, American PainterOriginal Marilyn Monroe 1954 Mint Card Deck Playing Cards Vintage Calendar PhotoRifle Paper Co 2014 Travel America Calendar - Used Rare Oop Company Vintage 1940s Art Deco Billy Devorss Pin-up Print Buxom Blonde Beauty Orchids NrDouble Deck. Old Playing Cards From Denmark In A Special Box.Bicycle Playing Cards 33-deck Lot, Magic Makers, Colors, Fashion And More1890 Dakota Territory Sioux Indian United States Land Office Large Land DocumentLot Of Six Burlesque Cabaret Magazine Issue 1950s Original Vintage Pin Up Girlie1864 Confederate Imprint Civil War Newspaper "richmond (virginia) Enquirer"Double Deck. Old Playing Cards From Denmark. "jubilæums Bridge" From 1937.Vintage Corsaires & Filibustiers Playing Cards Philibert France 1958 PiratesWwii Letter 1945 Holocaust Buchenwald Concentration Camp Ww2 Germany Raris PlaneLast Few Alice In Wonderland Art Playing Cards Dodo Cheshire Cat Dormouse HatterB38- Victorian Scrap Album 1775-1885 Etchings Engravings Prints Cards ScrapbookVintage Chi Chi Palm Springs Restaurant Menu Original Large 18" X 25" Rare!Propaganda Playing Cards By Theory 11 Like Bicycle New/sealed/rare DeckOld Playing Cards. Lhombre No 120 D. Voigt Denmark / Dondorf BlueDec 1953 High-grade Issue Of "brief" Pin-up Magazine With Marilyn Monroe CoverPokemon Factory Sealed Base Set Long Booster Pack W/11cards...free Shipping!!! Alice In Wonderland Art Playing Cards Last Few Packs Lewis Carroll Small Pack1960-2000's Huge (450+) Archive Of Stamps,postmarks Postal Cards/fdc Covers,lot!Civil War Document 1863 Horses Killed Murfreesboro 1st Middle Tennessee CavalryLarge 10x12" Antique German Pop-up Diecut Valentine? Card W Steamship C1910s Lot Of ~235~ Vintage Valentine Cards~1950’s-1970’s~mechanical/teacher & MoreVtg 50's 60's Tonga Room Fairmont Hotel At Nob Hill Tiki Drinks Appetizer Menu 1908 - Kemp & Burpee - John Deere Plow & Success Spreader Letterhead - SyracuseHmnim Playing Cards New/sealed Deck By Dan & Dave Blink 182/ Mark HoppusPirelli Calendar 2015, New1804, Jared Ingersoll, Continental Congress, Signer Constitution, Letter SignedArt Deco Bridge Playing Cards (2 Decks) And Antique Embossed Leather Book CaseCivil War Document 1864 Colts Pistol Cartridges Smiths 5th Tennessee Cavalry Vtg1949 Edwin Greene Trucking Calendar It's Your Play Girlie Westerly Ri CowgirlOrig. 1690 English Newspaper The London Gazette June 2 - 5, 1690Luxx Playing Cards Numbered Matched Set New/sealed- Limited Edition14 Vintage Christmas Greeting Card Assortment Unused In Box W/ Envelopes NosAds. Molson's Ale And Porter - 1 Old Linen Single Vintage Swap/playing Cards *Bonnie And Clyde Cut Down, Original Newspaper, Dillinger Sweetheart Convicted1796, Bishop William White, First U.s. Episcopalian Bishop, Letter Re:land Sales