EDITOR’S NOTE: This year in our HPB calendar, we’re celebrating all things printed and recorded—and played, solved, watched, etc. In other words, all the cool stuff we buy and sell in our stores. For December, we’re looking at one of our smaller but most interesting product categories: ephemera—miscellaneous printed materials that have become collectible over time. Common examples found in HPB stores include sheet music, postcards and posters.
1457 The Mainz Psalter is the first printed book to include music, though the notation is added in by hand.
1840 The world’s first picture postcard is sent when British writer Theodore Hook mails a self-made card to himself.
1891 Toulouse-Lautrec’s artful poster designs spark a poster craze in Paris.
1917-1918 During World War I, the US government prints 2,500 different posters to aid in the war effort, including the famous “I Want You” recruiting poster featuring Uncle Sam.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Before the advent of recording, sheet music dominated the music industry. The late 1800s saw the zenith of “parlor music,” with people gathering around the piano to play and sing the popular songs of the day.
- “Large letter” postcards, usually printed on linen-textured paper, were popular during the mid-20th century. The style was developed by Chicago-based Curt Teich and Company.
- In the 1880s, French painter and lithographer Jules Chéret ushered in modern advertising with a new printing process that allowed for brighter colors and more economical mass production of large posters.
- Psychedelic posters of the 1960s, like the ones produced by The Family Dog, were influenced by Art Nouveau and Surrealism.
Want to dive deeper? Check out these great products!
A History of Postcards: A Pictorial Record From the Turn of the Century to the Present Day, Martin Willoughby
Postcards: Ephemeral Histories of Modernity, David Prochaska & Jordana Mendelson
Toulouse Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880–1910, Phillip Dennis Cate, et al.
Toulouse Lautrec: A Life, Julia Frey
Discovery of Art: Toulouse Lautrec
World War I Posters: 100th Anniversary Collectors Edition, Edward J. White
World War II Posters In Color, Philip Martin McCaulay
Jules Cheret: Artist of the Belle Epoque and Pioneer of Poster Art, Michael Buhrs, et al
Posters of Jules Cheret: 46 Full Color Plates and Illustrated Catalogue Risonne, Lucy Broido
High Art: A History of the Psychedelic Poster, Ted Owen, Denise Dickson & Walter Patrick Medeiros
Off the Wall: Psychedelic Rock Posters From San Francisco, Amelie Gastaut & Jean-Pierre Criqui
24 X 36: A Movie About Movie Posters
American Classics: Parlor Music Revisited, Daniel Kobialka