Teaching Resources from the Ephemera Society

Teaching Resources

Published: 28th June 2009

The Ephemera Society is a non-profit body furthering the collection, conservation, study and educational uses of ephemera. The term embraces a wide range of antique paper - Victorian and earlier billheads, advertising, music covers, ball invitations, dance cards, et al - in short, all the printed and handwritten incidentals of everyday life.

Ephemera gives one the very texture of history in a way that is different from but complementary to wills, registers and other more formally originated documents. The bill from a Victorian blacking manufacturer links one with a time when blacking, for both boots and kitchen ranges, was a regular item on the domestic shopping list (the engraving of the blacking factory that enhances it affording opportunity for interesting comparisons if the building still exists.) The poster for an Edwardian church bazaar with its list of patrons, lady stallholders and musical entertainments, evokes a time when such events were regular occasions in the social calendar.

The value of ephemera in historical research is well established, but it clearly also has potential for the history teacher, and the Ephemera Society is keen to learn to what extent ephemera may already be being used in the classroom. 

Visit The Ephemera Society website