Mr. Brown? I've got your White Front Card.
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?
Labels: Los Angeles