The Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia has joined forces with The Ephemera Society of America to present this conference, which seeks to further acknowledge and promote printed and graphic ephemera not only as sources of striking illustrative images, but also as primary evidence in the reconstruction of popular movements and visual cultures.

The Library Company has been collecting ephemera since 1785, when it acquired the Pierre Eugène Du Simitière collection of Revolutionary War-era pamphlets and broadsides. Today the Library Company has one of the largest, most important, and most varied collections of 18th- and 19th-century ephemera, including postcards, stereographs, scrapbooks and albums, trade cards, patent medicine advertisements, and World’s Fairs souvenirs and collectibles.

The Ephemera Society of America, formed in 1980, cultivates and encourages interest in ephemera, as well as the history identified with it. Through an annual conference, mentoring program, publications, and speakers bureau, the Society aims to further the understanding of ephemera; to promote the collection, preservation, exhibition, and research of ephemeral materials; and to serve as a link among collectors, dealers, institutions, and scholars.

Launched in 2008, the Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia (VCP at LCP) is dedicated to promoting the importance of historical images as primary source material for studying the past. The Program fosters the research, collection, and interpretation of historic visual material through exhibitions, research fellowships, conferences, and public programs.

In 2012 the Library Company completed a two-year project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to arrange, catalog, and selectively digitize nearly 30,000 pieces of ephemera in its collections. To further examine and showcase the materials explored through this project, VCP at LCP produced Remnants of Everyday Life: Historical Ephemera in the Workplace, Street, and Home, on display May 13-December 13, 2013. The project and exhibition inspired the collaboration between The Ephemera Society and VCP at LCP, and served as the stimulus for Unmediated History.

The Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia
and The Ephemera Society of America

To receive more information about VCP at LCP, or to discuss public programming, please contact Erika Piola, Associate Curator of Prints and Photographs at or Rachel D'Agostino, Curator of Printed Books at

1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 546-3181
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