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.

Ephemerastudies.org 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

Title

Film Call and Requirement Sheet 1945

Category
gallery
Why It's Interesting

I had never seen or known about such a document before.  This is one of 4 pages specifying in exquisite detail the logistics of shooting for the film You Came Along on March 9, 1945.  The sheet shown here is cropped at the bottom because it was too long for my scanner.  The other 3 sheets supply a wealth of information about what was needed in shooting that day, right down to which vehicle various support personnel were to ride  in to the shooting site.  One sheet provides 7 days of “advance shooting notes.”  Timing was exact for every person involved, and each dressing room and locale.  I talked to a friend who had a small part in the movie 48 Hours, and he said that these sheets are still used, but he has never had one.

If anyone has seen other examples of these sheets, I would like to hear from them.