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

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School Children Milk Posters 1924/27

Booklet, gallery
Why It's Interesting

This is a page from Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Circular No. 21: Posters Prepared By School Children in Milk-For-Health Campaigns, by Jessie M. Hoover, of the “Bureau of Dairy Industry.”  Most of the posters reproduced in this booklet were prepared by students, including a few of college age.  The booklet discusses at length poster competitions held in schools to boost local Milk-for-Health campaigns.  Readers were invited to consult Circular 250: “Educational Milk-For-Health Campaigns.”

The page shown here was one of 10 full-page collections of posters in this booklet.  This circular also provides suggestions on how to make and judge posters, and nearly  a full-page of “legends for milk posters,” beginning with “Milk for Health” and ending with “More Milk.  Better Lessons.”  Some gems in the list included: “Station M-I-L-K broadcasting health,” “the power behind the bat,” “the foster mother of the human race,” and “Milk puts the I Can in the Amer-i-can.”