Cover image for The encyclopedia of ephemera : a guide to the fragmentary documents of everyday life for the collector, curator, and historian
The encyclopedia of ephemera : a guide to the fragmentary documents of everyday life for the collector, curator, and historian
Rickards, Maurice, 1919-1998.
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, 2000.
Physical Description:
x, 402 pages, 16 pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NC1280 .R52 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
NC1280 .R52 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

On Order



First published in 2001. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Author Notes

Maurice Rickards,one of the leading experts in the study of ephemera, spent more than twenty years compiling the Encyclopedia.

Michael Twymanis author of several books on the history of printing and before his retirement was Professor of Typography & Graphic Design at the University of Reading, England.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Aimed at curators, collectors, and historians, this 550-entry alphabetically organized encyclopedia treats manuscript and printed ephemera from early ABC books (circa 1500) to e-mail, as well as more generic items like Form and Poster that cover a broad time span. Baggage sticker, Carte-de-visite, Menu, Seed packet, and Timetable are among the other materials covered. Emphasis is on ephemera in English. Each entry contains a clear description of the type of document or printed matter, covers its use at the time it was current, and treats its utility for the ephemerist. Cross-references are noted in small capitals in the body of each article, sometimes preceded by see, sometimes not, but providing useful informational webbing in all cases. See also references are given at the foot of articles along with references to applicable print works (both English and foreign language), societies, and collections. Numerous clear black-and-white reproductions serve to extend the text, as does a section of color plates. Articles vary in length from a paragraph or two (e.g., Place card, Riddle book) to nine pages (e.g., Armed forces papers, the various kinds of paperwork generated by the military), with the weighting being appropriate. All of the articles in each alphabetical section are listed on the first page of the section. Guide words and an index provide additional points of entry. A list of ephemera collections and societies and a topically arranged bibliography follow the entries. Clearly written and cleanly presented, this survey is more comprehensive than Collecting Printed Ephemera (Abbeville, 1988) and provides useful information for those in need of a historical context for a printed document. Recommended for academic and large public libraries, especially those housing special collections that might include this type of material.

Library Journal Review

Have you ever looked through an old Victorian era scrapbook, the kind people used to put together where they would paste in railway tickets, dance cards, and similar items? They can be fascinating, providing a look at life through the ephemera of daily living. Part of the fascination is the curiousity they inevitably provoke: What was a dance card or programme, anyway? Rickards, an expert on the subject of printed ephemera, has produced an encyclopedia of such things, going beyond the bounds of the Victorian era to cover print ephemera from the 18th century to the present. Entries include air sickness bags (mandated by the Warsaw Convention in 1946 and much needed in the early days of commercial aviation, when cabins were not pressurized and climate control was poor), cigar box labels, milk bottle closures, and visiting cards. The readable entries make reference to books on the subject and major collections of the item. This unique title is recommended for most public and academic reference collections; tracking down information on this sort of trivia can be very challenging, and Rickards's book could be a welcome ace-in-the-hole sort of resource.DCharlie Cowling, SUNY at Brockport Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Twyman (Univ. of Reading, UK) has expanded on the work of Rickards (1919-98, founder, Centre for Ephemera Studies, Reading) to create the first encyclopedia of ephemera. Twyman uses the volume's subject scope, "ABC primer" to "zoetrope strip/disc," to define ephemera. Entries cover printed documents from everyday life, providing brief histories, references, and notable collections of such documents. Selection criteria and coverage seem to be the only limitations in the book's quality; for example, Twyman includes fruit wrappers but not sugar wrappers. He tries to divert criticism by inviting readers to examine "first editions of one-man encyclopedias in other fields." Never mind: this work presents an accessible overview of information on ephemera and guides readers to additional sources for more information. Readable entries, black-and-white illustrations, color plates, a bibliography, and a comprehensive index make this a solid reference work. Twyman salutes posthumously the work of Rickards, providing a valuable reference source for collectors, historians, and all academic, public, and special collections libraries. J. Vance Lindsey Wilson College

Table of Contents

Cultural History Material Culture and Consumption Urban Archeology Roots of Pop Culture