What is Ephemera?

e·phem·er·on  n.pl. e·phem·er·a or e·phem·er·ons
  1. A short-lived thing.
  2. ephemera Printed matter of passing interest.
[Greek ephmeron , mayfly, from neuter of ephmeros , daily, short-lived. See ephemeral.]

Source : The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

The definition of Ephemera comes from the Greek 'epi' (about) and 'hemeris' (day). Ephemera is pronounced 'efem'mera' . The comtempory definition of ephemera is, 'something short lived or transitory' especially all types of paper documents both printed or handwritten produced for a specific purpose and normally intended for disposal.

Paper Ephemera has been well documented in John Lewis's 1962 book, 'Printed Ephemera', (the 20th century Bible of Ephemera) where John documents Ephemera from as early as the 16th century to present times.

Ephemera is a relatively new area of collecting, and the definition is still under some discussion. The current generally accepted definition is the collecting of any man made paper object that is created with no intention of permanence. If it is made of paper, and most people would throw it away after use, then it is ephemera. Examples include magazines, newspapers, comics, certificates, old maps, and old letters. Some items in this category border on the deliberately collectible, such as postcards.

Maurice Rickards definition of ephemera now widely accepted: "the minor transient documents of everyday life"

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