Thursday, January 26, 2006


Mr. Brown? I've got your White Front Card.
From Wikipedia:
Ephemera are documents published with a short intended lifetime. Common types of ephemera include letters, advertising trade cards, cigarette cards, posters, postcards, baseball cards, tickets, greeting cards, stock certificates and photographs. The term ephemera is also used to describe the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use. This classification then excludes simple letters and photographs with no printing on them, which are considered as manuscripts or typescripts. It includes: postcards, event-oriented posters, transportation and show tickets, baggage stickers, stock certificates, motor vehicle licensing forms, business cards, printed wedding invitations, trade cards, and other similar printed materials.
Last night at the Original Farmers Market, during our regular Wednesday night gathering (see photos), Charles Phoenix showed up with a few of his friends. Charles is a major collector of ephemera. You can see books of his collections, he offers slides shows of found 50's and 60's Kodachrome slides and he is a walking encyclopedia of all things ephemeric (is that a word?). Many of our friends in the Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy collect ephemera relating to historic or lost buildings in Los Angeles....old menus, matchbooks, brochures, etc. are popular items to collect. I collect vintage knitting and crochet booklets. I find that you have to focus your collection otherwise you'll go nuts with all the paper flying around your house!
One of Charles' friends (sorry to say his name escapes me, but he was a lovely fellow) brought an item of ephemera for us to see. It was a White Front credit card from the 60's, emblazoned with an artist's rendering of the original 'big box' store. White Front was the store before FedCo, Gemco, Target and other such all-encompassing discount department stores. I vaguely remember traveling thru the Sepulveda Pass during a huge rainstorm, as a child (pre- 405 Fwy) to a White Front in the San Fernando Valley where my folks wanted to purchase a new washing machine. It must have been a huge discount for my Dad to drive thru rain, sleet and hail instead of just driving over to one of the Sears' stores in Santa Monica or on Pico in Mid-City.
Anyway, those of us at the Farmers Market last night were very impressed with the credit card. Do you collect ephemera? If so, what kind?



At 12:47 PM PST, Anonymous Crhstine G. said...

I have a totally haphazard collection, among which is the following:
Vanity Fair insert of Calvin Klein ad's from the 80s (this was a big deal campaign then, it hit the news and all);
an insert to a 50s Disney record; the last ID card from Price Club that my Mom had (or was it my Dad's??);
recipe booklets (some dating back to the 50s that my MIL gave to me, it had recipes for kids, and some I "inherited" from my Mom);
most of the programs from Broadway shows, or other such live performances, that I've attended in LA, NYC, and London;
tickets and such from traveling in foreign cities; and
POSTCARDS, those I've collected on my own, those sent to me and several that my aunt sent to my parents when she traveled in the 50s to France and Spain.

I used to collect matchbooks when I first moved to LA, and had a big batch of them until I did a spring cleaning. I had some from Wil Wright's, CC Brown, Scandia, etc. etc.

I do like ephemera.

At 12:49 PM PST, Anonymous Christine G. said...

Sorry about the comment format...I hit the publish button before I edited and formatted it!!!

At 3:09 PM PST, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Ooooh, Christine! Sounds like you have tons of good stuff! Maybe one day, the proceeds from the sale of your collection can pay for MORE YARN!!!

At 5:13 PM PST, Anonymous Beth O. said...

I just got an old postcard showing a very "modern" artist's rendering of an apartment at the "Air-Conditioned Hollywood Ardmore" apartments. The opposite side of the card says that "The Hollywood Ardmore is now under construction on Franklin Ave. and Whitley". Think I'll drive by there this weekend.

At 5:14 PM PST, Blogger Lori said...

I collect post cards from France from the turn of the century--I love the used ones because I can read all about the travels of people who most likely died before I was born! I also have a few from the early 1900s of Boston and other Massachusetts towns.

At 10:45 AM PST, Blogger Darcy said...

I have old JFK & RFK memorial issues,and a couple mags with Jackie O. My fave is a "Beauty In The White House" issue.
I have Old show tickets and back stage passes and museum postcards.
I collected on Europe trip and have decoupaged a bistro table & chairs with maps, train & museum stubs, shows and money etc. one for Paris, London and Amsterdam.
I still have to make a collage from the South America trip's collection.
It's good that I don't have more storage or I would collect more stuff,It's fun!

At 11:04 AM PST, Blogger ladylinoleum said...

I collect ephemera...all kinds actually. Though I have a penchant for all of chinese paper stuff you can buy by the truckload in Chinatown.


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