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


Physique Pictorial 1958: Gay Male Imagery; Reprint?

gallery, Magazine


Why It's Interesting

As I assemble a type-collection of issues of serial titles, many unusual journals come my way.  This title consists of photographs and drawings of semi-nude men, including from -the-rear total nudity and one mild bondage scene.  The next-to-last page features four African-American men.  All of the men shown are named.  Some of the labels refer to pages of magazines; some list pages of catalogs that go unnamed but but are referred to cryptically, such as XZ13; some offer copies of photographs, or even, in one case, “8 pages of duals of these extraordinary models $1.”

The paper and feel of this magazine/catalog is just not right.  I suspect that this is a reprint.  Not many post-World-War-II magazines seem to have been reprinted.  Is this the case, however, for serials of gay interest that would have been printed in small quantities, and probably not distributed by the few national companies and networks that supplied newstands?