Aimed at curators, collectors, and historians, this 550-entry alphabetically organized encyclopedia treats manuscript and printed ephemera from early ABC books (circa 1500) to e-mail, as well as more generic items like Form and Poster that cover a broad time span. Baggage sticker, Carte-de-visite, Menu, Seed packet, and Timetable are among the other materials covered. Emphasis is on ephemera in English.
Each entry contains a clear description of the type of document or printed matter, covers its use at the time it was current, and treats its utility for the ephemerist. Cross-references are noted in small capitals in the body of each article, sometimes preceded by see, sometimes not, but providing useful informational webbing in all cases. See also references are given at the foot of articles along with references to applicable print works (both English and foreign language), societies, and collections. Numerous clear black-and-white reproductions serve to extend the text, as does a section of color plates. Articles vary in length from a paragraph or two (e.g., Place card, Riddle book) to nine pages (e.g., Armed forces papers, the various kinds of paperwork generated by the military), with the weighting being appropriate. All of the articles in each alphabetical section are listed on the first page of the section. Guide words and an index provide additional points of entry. A list of ephemera collections and societies and a topically arranged bibliography follow the entries.
Clearly written and cleanly presented, this survey is more comprehensive than Collecting Printed Ephemera (Abbeville, 1988) and provides useful information for those in need of a historical context for a printed document. Recommended for academic and large public libraries, especially those housing special collections that might include this type of material. REVWR
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..."this work presents an accessible overview of information on ephemera and guides readers to additional sources for more information. Readable entries, black-and-white illustrations, color plates, a bibliography, and a comprehensive index make this a solid reference work."-"Choice ..."useful information for those in need of a historical context for a printed document. Recommended for academic and large public libraries."-Booklist/RBB, March 2001 "An outstanding source....This is truly a source to be consulted by collectors or anyone looking for a glimpse of the past."-American Libraries, May 2001 "This unique title is recommended for most public and academic reference collections: tracking down information on this sort of trivia can be very challenging, and Rickard's book could be a welcome ace-in-the-hole sort of resource."-Library Journal ..."opens the door to this world of fugitive miscellany, its substantial entries exposing and explicating the details of life in the past in a fascinating way."-Copley News Service
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