Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ephemera



Needing a place to pee while at the Inner Sunset Street Fair on Saturday, I walked to the nearby Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park which was hosting a free Antique Paper Show.



This set off visions of ancient papyrus and Elizabethan folio paper, but in truth it was mostly a chance for people to buy and sell vintage postcards, sheet music, posters, and magazines.



My dead friend Steven Greengard ran the California Book Auction house for the grotesquely rich Bernard Osher for a year when that plutocrat owned Butterfield and Butterfield, and Steven mentioned one day that their next auction was going to be of "Western ephemera."



When asked what the hell "ephemera" was, he explained that there were avid collectors for just about everything that was paper-based in the world, from 19th century railway tickets to Wanted posters to personal correspondence. This provoked frightening visions of hoarders with precious pieces of scrap paper everywhere in their lives, but to each their own passion.

By the way, the Hall of Flowers bathrooms are quite nice by Golden Gate Park standards.

4 comments:

Axel Feldheim said...

I was at this last year. I'm not a collector of ephemera, but I thought a lot of the stuff was fun & interesting. I liked the postcards, which must have been ubiquitous back in the day. Many seem to have been used like text messaging, with short notes like "Arriving by 3 o'clock train tomorrow," indicating that mail delivery in those days was frequent & prompt.

sfmike said...

Dear Axel: You were the first person I thought of when walking through the doors.

AphotoAday said...

That's something I'll put on my calendar for next year...
A dangerous place for impulse buying... I know I'd really "need" a lot of stuff...

janinsanfran said...

Actually, I find most of the Golden Gate Park bathrooms quite nice. I probably know all of them and am usually surprised to find they are reasonably clean and well kept up, tho occasionally I find myself feeling a little isolated, and hence unprotected, when using them.