The Centre for Ephemera Studies (CES), inaugurated by Lord Briggs in 1993, is a national focus for research into non-book documents, both manuscript and printed, including about typographic design, history of print production, the relationship between language and form, the reception of messages, and the social-material life of documents.

The CES holds about 100,000 items of printed ephemera from the eighteenth century to yesterday. They include the Maurice Rickards Collection and the Millennium Collection (which aim to be representative of ephemera) and several specialist collections, such as the Elizabeth Greig Collection of Civil Aviation, the Amoret Tanner Collection of book plates, the Sally de Beaumont Collection (with a strength in nineteenth-century trade cards), several collections of labels (hotel, wine, match, fruit, thread, etc), and a local collection. Though the majority of items are in the English language, CES has many examples of ephemera in other languages, particularly French.

The CES works closely with the John Johnson Collection of the Bodleian Library (with whom it has an informal association). The CES was instrumental in the completion and publication of Maurice Rickards’s The Encyclopaedia of Ephemera (London: British Library, 2000). It has also produced a Directory of ephemera collections in the United Kingdom (2003)

A key part of the CES work is ephemera description and terminology that resulted in a Thesaurus of ephemera terms (2013). This has now been adopted by the Library of Congress and the British Library, among others. It has provided the basis for an ongoing collaborative project (under the auspices of the university of Cergy-Pontoise) to produce a thesaurus of French terms.

Ephemera A‚ÄďZ

This website shows the two main approaches to the collection, study, display, and cataloguing of ephemera,  by subjects and objects

Fellowship in Ephemera studies

Liz West worked with the Amoret Tanner collection of bookplates, housed in the Centre for Ephemera Studies (TYP/CES/AT). This uncatalogued collection contains over 500 items, categorised by subject.

PhD research with printed ephemera

Congratulations to Bodil Mostad Olsen who has been awarded her PhD based on a study of printed ephemera. ‚ÄėA diachronic study of food labels with a particular focus on verbal and pictorial narratives that are relevant to health‚Äô is about the verbal and visual presentation of health messages on food labels dating from 1850 to 1970.