This website seeks to encourage researchers and collectors to discover and study obscure ephemera that document American culture and life.  Worldcat reveals that most of the items that I post cannot be found in more than a few research libraries–often none at all.  Alternately, research libraries do not bother to catalog ephemeral publications like these.  I believe, however, that because these were distributed free, or at nominal cost, to consumers, they were the publications most likely to make their way into homes and be read by large numbers of Americans.

I acquire pre-1960 examples of the kinds of publications that prove so useful when scholars study 19th-Century America.  The limited competition that I encounter for them suggests that libraries, which could easily outbid me, have little interest in post-Civil War and 20th-century ephemeral publications in general.

I try to anticipate what materials future historians will find useful.  Being an historian first and a collector second, I organized this website to encourage others to do this too—even if this means new competition for me. I am aware that I could be wrong in prizing particular ephemera or even whole classes of ephemera.  I may even be wrong to encourage scholars to study obscure ephemeral publications; these may be obscure for good reason. will permit me to share with others the information and imagery that I am acquiring, and to benefit from the knowledge, intelligence and experience of other scholars and collectors.  Please contact me with your impressions of the site.

~ Saul Zalesch


Everett Shinn Color Illustration 1898: Truth Magazine

gallery, Magazine


Why It's Interesting

Everett Shinn has a lasting place in the history of American art as a member of the Henri Circle and the Eight.  He had worked as a newspaper illustrator in Philadelphia until he moved to New York in 1897 to illustrate for its newspapers and magazines.  In 1898, the year he created this design, he married Florence Scovel, another illustrator.  This particular design for Truth Magazine elicits only one hit on Google: an offering on Ebay.  It may be one of his more colorful, and least-known, 19th-century illustrations.

Inside the magazine is a nice line drawing by Shinn and another by Scovel.