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Guide to the New-York Historical Society Ephemera Collection
 PR 264

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by N-YHS staff

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 18, 2020
The finding aid is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The Ephemera Collection (formerly referred to as the Ephemera File) spans the period from approximately mid-19th century to the present, and contains a variety of printed ephemera, including advertisements, flyers, calendars, event announcements and programs, greeting cards, and other disposable or everyday items.

The collection is divided into 5 series. Series I, Ephemera, includes material relating to products (food, clothing, household items, etc.); establishments such as hotels and restaurants, charitable and other organizations; and cultural and political events, primarily in New York City.

Series II, Prohibition-related ephemera, includes speakeasy cards (advertising illicit bars that operated during the years of Prohibition), cartoons and caricatures, and other Prohibition and temperance related ephemera.

Series III, Advertising postcards, includes 510 postcards from the 1990s, which would have been found in bars, clubs, restaurants and other venues. The majority of these cards advertise New York businesses.

Series IV, Ephemera albums, consists of two albums of pasted-in ephemera, including scraps and diecuts, advertisements and trade cards. Notable items include images promoting racial and ethnic stereotypes and images of Santa Claus.

Series V, Erotic advertising cards, includes loose paper cards advertising phone sex hotlines, adult establishments and the like. This material is extremely graphic. Most of these were donated by photographer Andreas Feininger. N-YHS staff collected several others during the late 1980s and early 1990s.


This collection has been organized into the following five series:

Series I: Ephemera
Series II: Prohibition-related ephemera
Series III: Advertising postcards
Series IV: Ephemera albums
Series V: Erotic advertising cards