Thursday, July 28, 2011


Advertisement for broom corn farm for lease, 1851.
Grems-Doolittle Historical Documents Collection - Broadsides (No. 30)
Printed ephemera, such as broadsides, offer a glimpse into the perspectives, lives, and activities of the people in a community. Particularly in the days before mass media, people became aware of events in their communities by way of printed ephemera. Broadsides were used to advertise products, services, and sales and to announce events and proclamations.

"Six Day" milk delivery advertisement, 1853.
Grems-Doolittle Historical Documents Collection - Broadsides (No.26)

At the time of its creation, printed ephemera was intended to be used to convey information, then to be discarded. Ephemera that has been preserved provides us with a documentation of the sensibilities of the people and culture that created it. In addition to just providing a primary source documenting planned events and persons involved, broadsides also illustrate the attitudes, language, aesthetics, and concerns of a community and era.

Sheriff's sale of goods and chattel of Henry Fuller, 1852.
Grems-Doolittle Historical Documents Collection - Broadsides (No. 2)
A finding aid for the Grems-Doolittle Library's broadside collection can be found here. Our document collection and family document collection also contains printed ephemera created by businesses, organizations, and individuals.

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