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

Roosevelt as War Monger 1941

Category
Booklet, gallery
Date

1941

Why It's Interesting

This pamphlet from 1941 denounced President Roosevelt as “the main instrument of the Fifth Column in America,” meaning of traitors at home.  The author E. C. Riegel then declared about the New Deal that “IT BEGAN WITH THE SLAUGHTER OF LITTLE PIGS; IF WE DO NOT CHECK IT, IT WILL END WITH THE SLAUGHTER OF AMERICAN YOUTH.”  He asserted that it was his patriotic duty to warn his fellow Americans that the man in the White House “is far more dangerous to our peace and security than a million foreign secret agents,”  and concluded with: “I URGE YOU TO QUARANTINE THIS AGGRESSOR AGAINST INFECTION OF THE CONGRESS UNTIL IN THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS WE CAN FUMIGATE THE WHITE HOUSE.”

Riegel appended excerpts from a Charles Lindbergh radio address that warned that we were only in danger of joining the war because “there are powerful elements of America who desire us to take part.  They represent a small minority of the American people, but they control much of the machinery of influence and propaganda.”  In his public speeches Lindbergh was more direct and identified this group as the Jews.  (Riegel never did this directly).

Wondering whether Riegel was an America Firster, or possibly even a Nazi Bundist, I checked him out and found that he was a monetary reformer whose writings strongly appeal to this day to financial alarmists, especially Harry Browne, who had a huge vogue in the 1970s.  He held a wide range of strong opinions and was and remains a strange cameo figure in American history.

This booklet is not to be confused with a scholarly book of the same title by Harold Lavine that appeared around the same time.