Turkey at New York World’s Fair 1939
|Why It's Interesting|
This booklet was distributed by the Turkish pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939. It emphasizes the complete secularism imposed on Turkey by Kemal Ataturk when Turkey became a republic after World War I. I have over 200 pieces of ephemera from this fair, and this is the only piece that showcases male nudity in art. Twice, almost as if to emphasize secular modernism. I have long been greatly interested in this Fair, which tried so hard to help Americans believe in a bright future in which they stayed independent of the new great war in Europe.
This past week the students of my American Art 1929-1990 course mounted a mini-exhibition showcasing 36 Fair items from my collection.
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.