As Co-Director of the Visual Culture Program, I am always on the lookout for new materials to add to the library’s visual culture collections. Ephemera has become a particular focus of my treasure hunting in the last year. Although online marketplaces certainly provide access to a trove of promising new additions to our holdings, a good old fashioned fair – of the paper variety – allows for a more personal experience.
In the last few weeks, The Ephemera Society of America and Allentown Paper Shows have served as opportunities to obtain a variety of commercial ephemera, including a circa-1875 advertising envelope for a local casket maker, a late 19th-century trade card for a Philadelphia burlap bag manufacturer, and a Victorian-era paper toy dining room set promoting the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Co.
Philadelphia Burial Co. envelope, ca. 1875. Proprietors George W. Hanna, George. M. Hanna, and John W. Hanna.
Back of John T. Bailey & Co. trade card, ca. 1880.
Front of John T. Bailey & Co. trade card, ca. 1880.
Cosmo Buttermilk Soap paper toy promotion, 1895.
From my initial research into these pieces, I have learned a few interesting tidbits; an inevitability with these engaging materials. George W. Hanna and his sons, listed as the proprietors of the Philadelphia Burial Case Co., worked in the funeral trade for fewer than five years before relocating by 1880 to Kansas to farm. John T. Bailey & Co., a premier twine and bag manufacturing company, used this trade card to showcase the building to which their growing sewing department moved in 1880 to meet increased consumer demands. And Jonas J. Burns, the owner of the Chicago soap company that marketed the paper toy furniture in the 1890s, turned out to also be a railway magnate. Small tokens of historical popular culture such as these never cease to enlighten and delight me—as well as the Library Company’s researchers.
The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
TEL 215-546-3181 FAX 215-546-5167
https://librarycompany.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/lcp_print.png00nscalessahttps://librarycompany.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/lcp_print.pngnscalessa2013-05-27 13:00:002017-06-17 18:16:47Off to the Fair
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
Essential Website Cookies
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
Google Analytics Cookies
These cookies collect information that is used either in aggregate form to help us understand how our website is being used or how effective our marketing campaigns are, or to help us customize our website and application for you in order to enhance your experience.
If you do not want that we track your visit to our site you can disable tracking in your browser here:
Other external services
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds:
The following cookies are also needed - You can choose if you want to allow them: