EPHEMERA: DEFINING, COLLECTING AND RESEARCHING THE FRAGMENTARY PAST

Thursday 5 June, 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Radcliffe Humanities, Seminar Room (3rd floor). A light buffet lunch will precede the seminar. Please see recommended reading.

Julie Anne Lambert (Bodleian Library): ‘Ephemera: Defining, Collecting and Researching the Fragmentary Past’.
Chair: Dr Abigail Williams

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world. It offers a fresh view of British history through primary, uninterpreted printed documents which, produced for short-term use, have survived by chance – including advertisements, trade cards, handbills, ballads and playbills. The Collection encompasses a diverse range of material, mainly from the 18th to the early 20th centuries: it is physically arranged under some 700 subject headings, and has been made searchable through detailed cataloguing, selective OCR and digitisation.

This seminar sets out to explore the interrelating ways in which ephemera is defined, how it has been preserved and the significance of collections – past and present – and, finally, the ways in which it has recently grown in significance within a range of different disciplines.

Recommended reading:

Kevin D. Murphy and Sally O’Driscoll, ‘Introduction’ Studies in Ephemera: Text and Image in Eighteenth-Century Print (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2013) –http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aXX8dev1xj0C&printsec=frontcover&dq

Paula McDowell, ‘Of Grubs and Other Insects: Constructing the Categories of “Ephemera” and “Literature” in Eighteenth-Century British Writing’ in Book History 15.1 (2012): 48-70. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/book_history/v015/15.mcdowell.html

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