University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Ephemera Collection

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ephemera Collection
Title: Ephemera Collection
Abstract: Collection of American ephemeral items--materials defined as transient, everyday items, usually printed on paper, that are manufactured for a specific limited use, then often discarded.
Extent: ca. 17 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

Collection of American ephemeral items--materials defined as transient, everyday items, usually printed on paper, that are manufactured for a specific limited use, then often discarded. The Ephemera Collection also includes everyday items that are meant to be saved, at least for a while, such as keepsakes or souvenirs. Examples of ephemera are invitations, programs, calendars, bumper stickers, menus, broadsides, and tickets.


Organization and Arrangement

Individual pieces of ephemera in the Ephemera Collection are described solely by what they are (their format) rather than what they are about (their subject content). Items for each different format are housed in separate boxes, and within each box, items are further divided in file folders.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

Unrestricted use.

Related Material

Not all ephemera housed in the Briscoe Center are stored in the Ephemera Collection. Some, especially pamphlets, have been fully cataloged into the Texas Collection Library and, therefore, are accessible through the UT Libraries Online Catalog. Ephemera related to the history of the University of Texas are held in the UT Ephemera Collection at the Briscoe Center. Broadsides, another category of ephemera, are housed in the Broadside Collection and have been described individually in the Broadside Collection’s card file located in the physical card catalog in the Briscoe Center. Many postcards are located in the General Postcard Collection, for which a printed inventory exists. And, finally, many pieces of ephemera of all varieties remain part of the manuscript collections in which they originated because of their strong association with these collections.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Ephemera Collection, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.


Housed with broadsides in 2.227 alcove.


To request these materials, please indicate category as well as box number, i.e. Box 1 – Advertisements.

Detailed Description of the Papers



1 Advertisements: public notices of the availability of goods or services through purchase or other means.
File 1: Miscellaneous advertisements
File 2: Miscellaneous patent advertisements
File 3: Miscellaneous Hardwick-Etter Company advertisements
File 4: Miscellaneous press companies/ book news
File 5: Miscellaneous investment plans and stock options
File 6: Miscellaneous political advertisements
2 Advertisements
File 1: Miscellaneous advertising cards, Texas vendors
File 2: Advertising cards--Hassan Cigarette cards, cowboy series
Files 3-6: Miscellaneous advertising cards, non Texas vendors
3 Advertisements
Miscellaneous advertising
Advertisements--Travel, including White Star Line brochure, 1904
1 Announcements: small notices announcing special events and occasions that are generally noncommercial, such as weddings, exhibitions, conferences, fundraisers, etc. See also: Advertisements, Programs and Prospectuses.
File 1: Miscellaneous announcements, undated
File 2: Miscellaneous announcements, pre l900
File 3: Miscellaneous announcements, l900 - l929
File 4: Miscellaneous announcements, l930 - l949
File 5: Miscellaneous announcements, l950 - l969
File 6: Miscellaneous announcements, l970 - l979
File 7: Miscellaneous announcements, l980 - l989
File 8: Miscellaneous announcements, l990-1999
File 9: Announcement: City of Boston Ordinance Regulating Signs, 1845
1 Applications
File 1: Miscellaneous applications
Autographs: items containing signatures of individuals
File 1: Miscellaneous autographs
1 Ballots: sheets of paper, cards, or other devices used to cast a vote or announce a slate of candidates.
File 1: Miscellaneous ballots, Texas
File 2: Miscellaneous ballots, non Texas
File 1: Miscellaneous bookmarks associated with Texas bookstores, book dealers, etc.
File 2: Miscellaneous bookmarks
1 Calendars: tabular registers of days according to a system, usually covering one year and referring the days of each month to the days of the week; includes "calendars of events" distributed by museums, theaters, etc.
File 1: Calendars of events
File 2: Miscellaneous yearly calendars, Texas, pre l980
File 3: Miscellaneous yearly calendars, Texas, l980-1989
File 4: Miscellaneous yearly calendars, Texas, 1990- 1999
File 5: Miscellaneous yearly calendars
File 6: Miscellaneous yearly calendars
File 7: Miscellaneous yearly calendars 1919
1 Cards: pieces of thin paperboard, stiff paper, or other material, which are flat, usually small and rectangular, and designed to convey messages or other information. See also: Advertisements-Advertising Cards.
File 1: Miscellaneous business cards
File 2: Miscellaneous campaign cards
File 3: Miscellaneous comic cards
2 Cards
File 1: Miscellaneous dance cards, l866-l879
File 2: Miscellaneous dance cards, l880-l899
File 3: Miscellaneous dance cards, l900-l940
3 Cards
File 1: Miscellaneous membership cards and credit cards
File 2: Miscellaneous sentiment cards
File 3: Miscellaneous visiting cards
File 4: Miscellaneous collecting cards
Carriers' addresses: verses in broadside or pamphlet format presented at the start of a new year by newspaper carriers to request a gratuity. Some carriers' addresses are filed in the Broadside Collection.
Cartoons: humorous, satirical, or ridiculing images executed in broad or abbreviated manner. See also: Caricatures
1 Catalogs: enumeration of items arranged systematically with descriptive details. May have prices.
Commercial Catalogs: catalogs issued by businesses and individuals offering products for sale to retailers or the public; includes specialized catalogs, such as those for Christmas orders and seeds.
File 1: Miscellaneous commercial catalogs-Texas
File 2: Miscellaneous commercial catalogs-non Texas
File 3: Sanger Brothers, Dallas, Texas, Fashion catalogs nos. 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 38, 1907-1911
Exhibit Catalogs: catalogs of items displayed in art, museum, or other exhibitions
File 1: Miscellaneous exhibit catalogs
School Catalogs: catalogs describing course of study, physical plant, faculty, rules and regulations, etc. for educational institutions
File 1: Miscellaneous catalogs, Texas high schools
File 2: Miscellaneous catalogs, Texas colleges and universities
File 3: Miscellaneous catalogs, non Texas
Certificates: documents containing certified statements of ownership, membership, fulfilled requirements, legal status, bonds etc.
File 1: Miscellaneous certificates
File 1: Miscellaneous checks
File 1: Miscellaneous diagrams
Die cuts: Decorative printed illustrations machine-cut around the silhouettes of the figures.
File 1: Miscellaneous color die cuts: Buffalo Bill, buffalo hunt, and Indian warfare.
Envelopes: flat, usually paper containers, as for mailing a letter. Typical illustrations include patriotic themes or business advertisements; introduced for common use in the l840s.
File 1: Miscellaneous envelopes, Texas
File 2: Miscellaneous envelopes, non Texas
Financial Statements and Receipts
File 1: Financial statements of various banks, San Antonio, Texas
File 2: Receipts for payment of poll tax, Fannin County, Williamson County, and Travis County, Texas. Also receipts for payment of property tax, Williamson County, Texas.
File 3: Miscellaneous receipts 1952
Checks, Greenville, Texas, 1914
Small ledger showing monthly produce sales, Greenville, Texas, 1886-1909
Teacher contract for Willie Mae Thompson, Greenville, Texas, 1917
Greeting Cards: cards sent or given on special occasions; usually bearing messages of good will.
Christmas Cards
1 File 1: Miscellaneous Christmas cards
File 2: Christmas cards from Garry Mauro, Commissioner, Texas General Land Office, l984, l985, l986
File 4: Miscellaneous valentines
File 5: Comic valentines, generally with Civil War theme, produced by the American Valentine Company, New York. Colored by hand and stencil, ca. 1862-l865
Miscellaneous Greeting Cards
File 1: Miscellaneous birthday cards
File 2: Miscellaneous Easter cards
File 3: Miscellaneous New Years cards
File 4: Miscellaneous cards
Instruction Manuals: printed or handwritten works with instructions for using a service or institution or for instructions for caring for an item.
File 1: Miscellaneous instruction manuals
Invitations: requests to be present or to participate (especially in inaugural balls, political events and social activities)
File 1: Miscellaneous invitations, l800-l859
File 2: Miscellaneous invitations, l860-l899
File 3: Miscellaneous invitations, l900-l939
File 4: Miscellaneous invitations, l940-l969
File 5: Miscellaneous invitations, l970-l979
2 File 1: Miscellaneous invitations, l980-l983
File 2: Miscellaneous invitations, l984-l986
File 3: Miscellaneous invitations, l987-l989
File 4: Miscellaneous invitations, undated
File 5: Miscellaneous invitations, 1990-1999
1 Keepsakes: works produced to mark the occasion of a gathering or event; given or sold to those in attendance and not usually otherwise available.
File 1: Miscellaneous souvenir viewbooks
File 2: Souvenir Programme Grand Dedication Ball, New State Capitol Building, Austin, Texas, Color lithograph program, 2 copies, May l8th, l888
File 3: Miscellaneous keepsakes
Labels: Slips of paper affixed or meant to be attached to something for identification.
File 1: Miscellaneous labels
File 2: Miscellaneous liquor labels
Letterheads and Billheads
File 1: Miscellaneous letterheads and billheads, Texas
File 2: Miscellaneous letterheads and billheads, non Texas
Lottery Tickets: See "Tickets, Lottery"
1 Menus: lists of the dishes that may be ordered in an eating establishment or that are to be served at a banquet or other occasion.
File 1: Miscellaneous menus, Texas, pre l900
File 2: Miscellaneous menus, Texas, l900-l949
File 3: Miscellaneous menus, Texas, l950-current
File 4: Miscellaneous menus, non Texas
File 5: Bills of fare aboard Mississippi River steamboats, ca. 1870
File 6: Menus from Texas cafes and hotels in Waco, Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston, ca. l930s
File 7: Menus from Doering Hotel Coffee Shop, l930-l931
Packages: Coverings or containers. See also Envelopes
File 1: Miscellaneous packages, Texas
File 2: Miscellaneous packages, non Texas
File 1: Pamphlets--political
Paper dolls
File 1: Paper dolls
Prayer Books: religious prayer books containing prayers, biblical stories, or sermons
File 1: Miscellaneous prayer books
File 1: Miscellaneous placemats
File 1: Miscellaneous postcards
Premium Lists
Premiums: items available without charge or at less than the usual price with the purchase of a product or service, or as a result of a subscription or membership. May be packaged with the product or available through a coupon.
1 Price lists: enumerations of costs for goods or services; on one or several sheets, and, if longer, usually lacking descriptive details.
File 1: Miscellaneous price lists, Texas, l800-l899
File 2: Miscellaneous price lists, Texas, l900--
File 3: Miscellaneous price lists, non Texas
Programs: brief, usually printed outlines of the order to be followed, of feature(s) to be presented, and of person(s) participating in a public exercise, performance, or entertainment. This category of ephemera has been artificially divided into the subdivisions listed below.
Sports Programs
File 1: Miscellaneous sports programs
File 2: Miscellaneous football programs
File 3: Miscellaneous rodeo programs
File 4: Miscellaneous Football programs 1937-1943
. Meeting programs for non-formal organizations (programs for meetings of persons not associated with one another on a formal basis who assemble for a specific purpose, such as to acquire training or to honor a person or event)
File 1: Miscellaneous meeting programs, non formal organizations, l800-l899
File 2: Miscellaneous meeting programs, non-formal organizations, l900-l929
File 3: Miscellaneous meeting programs, non formal organizations, l930-l959
File 4: Miscellaneous meeting programs, non formal organizations, l960-l979
File 5: Miscellaneous meeting programs, non formal organizations, l980-1989
Meeting programs for established organizations (programs for meetings of members of formal organizations, such as women's clubs, patriotic societies, and professional associations, at which members come together to reaffirm goals, conduct business, and hold special events, such as annual conferences or banquets)
File 1: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, pre l900
File 2: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, l900-l929
File 3: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, l930-l949
File 4: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, l950-l969
File 5: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, l970-l979
File 6: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, l980-l989
File 7: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, 1980-1989
File 8: Miscellaneous meeting programs, formal organizations, 1990-1999
2 File 1: Miscellaneous arts and letters programs
File 2: Miscellaneous history groups programs
File 3: Miscellaneous business and civic groups programs
File 4: Miscellaneous political programs
File 5: Miscellaneous teacher’s groups programs
File 6: Miscellaneous Texas press associations and editorial associations programs
1 Music and dance programs: programs for performances and recitals by singers, musicians, bands, dancers, etc., including concerts and ballets
File 1: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, pre l870
File 2: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l870-l899
File 3: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l900-l919
File 4: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l920-l939
File 5: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l940-l959
File 6: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l960-l979
File 7: Miscellaneous music and dance programs, l980-l989
File 8: Miscellaneous programs, undated
2 File 1: Chautauqua programs, Cuero, Texas, l918-1923
1 Playbills: programs for plays, opera, and theater productions, including vaudeville
File 1: Miscellaneous playbills, l800-l899
File 2: Miscellaneous playbills, l900-l929
File 3: Miscellaneous playbills, l930-1939
File 4: Miscellaneous opera programs 1940-1949
Playbills: programs for plays, opera, and theater productions, including vaudeville
2 File 1: Miscellaneous playbills, 1940-1949
File 2: Miscellaneous playbills, 1950-1959
File 3: Miscellaneous playbills, 1960-1969
Playbills: programs for plays, opera, and theater productions, including vaudeville
3 File 1: Miscellaneous playbills, 1960-1969
File 2: Miscellaneous playbills, 1970-1979
File 3: Miscellaneous playbills, 1980-current
File 4: Miscellaneous opera programs
File 5: Miscellaneous vaudeville programs
File 6: : Miscellaneous playbills, [ca. 1940s-1950s]
1 Religious Programs: programs for religious services
File 1: Miscellaneous programs, l800-l899
File 2: Miscellaneous programs, l900-current
School Programs: programs for school activities relating to enrollment, curriculum, or graduation; entertainments or other performances (school plays, sports competitions, etc. are located under other subdivisions "playbills" and "athletic programs," respectively). See also, Catalogs
File 1: Miscellaneous programs, l800-l899
File 2: Miscellaneous programs, l900-current
Prospectuses: a preliminary statement, usually printed, issued by promoters of an enterprise, the publisher of a literary work, or the administration of a school or college, intended to give advance information and to arouse interest and support
File 1: Miscellaneous prospectuses
File 1: Miscellaneous prospectuses for forthcoming publications
Reading Lists: lists produced for the purpose of providing readers advisory
File 1: Miscellaneous reading lists
File 2: Rosenberg Library reading lists
Ribbons: See Labels
Rewards of merit: small printed or handwritten documents awarded in schools in recognition of good behavior or scholastic achievement
Rosters: list of members and officers of an organization
1 Schedules: lists showing times of departure and arrival and scheduled stopping points between two terminals
File 1: Miscellaneous Schedules
Sheet Music: Most sheet music is cataloged separately into the Texas Collection Library. In addition, the Natchez Trace Collection contains approximately 3,500 pieces of l9th-century sheet music. See also Song Sheets
1 Signs: lettered boards or other displays used to give directions or information, to identify a place of business or public facility, or give warnings or directions. Usually textual or symbolic rather than pictorial
File 1: Miscellaneous signs: l9th century
File 2: Miscellaneous signs: 20th century
Song Sheets: single-sheet verses without musical notes, usually printed on one side of letter paper and frequently illustrated with a colored headpieces of battle scenes, portraits, vignettes, views, and other decorations. Popular beginning l850s and intended for use by those for whom the tune was familiar but the words were new.
File 1: Miscellaneous song sheets
File 2: English song sheets, several relating to slaves and slavery, ca. 1820s-1830s, each headed with woodcut illustration, some with decorative borders. Provenance: M. Heaston, 1989, Littlefield Fund.
1) The Boatman of Ohio. London: H. Such, Printers & Publisher, n.d.
2)Billy Pattison. London: J. Disley, Printer, n.d.
3) Come into My Canoe. Bloomsbury: Ryle & Co., Printers, n.d.
4) Happy Are We Us Niggers So Gay. London: H. Disley, Printer n.d.
5) I'm Off to Charlestown [London] J. Disley, Printer, n.d.
6) A Life by the Gally Fire [London?] Hodges, from PITTS, Wholesale Toy and Marble Warehouse, Dudley Street, n.d.
7) Mass's in de Cold Ground [London] W. S. Fortey, General Steam Printer and Publisher, n.d.
8) Miss Lucy Long. Birmingham: T. Watts, n.d.
File 3: Allan's Lone Star Ballads song sheets. Song sheets written by Francis D. Allen during the Civil War. Some carry printed illustrations or decorations. Printed in Galveston and Houston.
1) Missouri: or, A voice from the South. By Harry MacCarthy [same page] The Volunteer: or, It is My Country's Call. By Harry MacCarthy. Provenance: Gift of William H. Morrow
2) Ladies! to the Hospital. Personne, Corr. of Charleston Courier. Provenance: Gift of William H. Morrow
3) God Bless Our Southern Land. Solo and Chorus. Telegraph Print.
4) Lone Star - Banner of the Free - Air "Rule Britannia," Words by E. W. Cave As sung at the Concert for the Benefit of soldier's families, Houston, Dec. 26, '62. Telegraph Print
5) The Battle of Galveston. By Mollie E. Moore. Tyler: January l5th, l863. Telegraph Print. Provenance: Gift of William H. Morrow.
File 4: Miscellaneous l9th-century Texas song sheets
1) Yellow Rose of Texas. Philadelphia, Pa.: A. W. Aunder, Song Publisher & Printer, n.d.
2) Will You Come to Our Flag? National Air. n.p., n.d. [on reverse, broadside]
3) Grand Concert and Supper! Academy Hall, Houston, November 30, 1860
4) Hej Slovane (Hey Slavs), Slovak anthem, College Station, Texas, 1882
File 5: Miscellaneous Civil War song sheets
1) The Marseilles Hymn. [reads:] Translated by W. W. Mann, Nov. 1862. n.p. possibly Galveston. Provenance: Gift of William H. Morrow
2) The Southrons Are Coming. Air "The Camels are Coming." n.p., n.d. Parrish & Willingham 6559. Provenance: Heaston, l990
3) Great Big Bethel Fight. Awful Calamity. Air--"Dixie." Parrish and Willingham 6339. Provenance: Heaston, l990
4) Land of the South! Air--"Happy Land." Parrish & Willingham 6397. Provenance: Heaston, 1990
5) Song. Recognition of the Southern Confederacy. Air--"Rosseaus Dream." Parrish and Willingham 6495. Provenance: Heaston, l990.
1 Stickers: self-adhering messages or designs on slips of paper that are gummed or otherwise treated to adhere to a surface; includes bumper stickers. See also Labels
File 1: Miscellaneous stickers
File 2: Miscellaneous bumper stickers
Tax Stamps: revenue stamps affixed to various materials
File 1: Miscellaneous tax stamps
File 2: Miscellaneous liquor tax stamps
File 1: Miscellaneous, including Texas Centennial stamp of dancing cowboy
Tickets: slips of paper, cardboard, or other materials used for admission or passage. Also see Lottery tickets.
File 1: Miscellaneous tickets for admission
File 2: Miscellaneous tickets for passage
File 3: Democratic Party tickets, national and state
File 4: U.S. Congressional Visitor Passes
File 5: Lottery Tickets
File 6: Miscellaneous tickets
Texas Lotto Tickets, First date of sale, May 29, 1992
Trade Catalogs
Travel Guides: printed brochures promoting tourism, economic development, or other attractions in a city.
2.325/T24a Illustrations: from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and other American newspapers and magazines, ca. 1850-1880