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


Militor Motorcycle 1919

Advertisement, gallery


Why It's Interesting

This ad for the Militor motorcycle is the inside front cover of the Official Catalog and Program of the Eastern States Exposition and Dairy Show, September 15-20, 1919.  [It has a great patriotic cover, and I will be using it in 2014 as part of a World War I show].  The Militor was made from 1917 to 1924.  One source says it was made in New Jersey, but this ad suggests otherwise.  The Militor is best remembered from a mention in the report filed by Major Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1919 when he led an army convoy across the U.S. to test roads.  He wrote that the Militor could pull vehicles from holes and pits, and one night one came into camp towing 4 trucks.  As this ad states, they cost $450 and $575.

This program also has a full-page ad [with some color] for the Indian Motocycle, including 2 oval photos of them in use.

No library reports owning this Program booklet.