April 12, 2018

Ephemera 101: When are you going to clean under your bed?

By Zoe Ann Stoltz, Reference Historian

ephemera 1 : something of no lasting significance 2 : paper items (such as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles

When mom ordered me to “clean under my bed,” she was not referring to the dust bunnies.  She was despairing over my teenage clutter: movie calendars, church bulletins, pamphlets, tickets, and so much more.  Fortunately, a lot of folks were not raised to worry about such clutter.  Rather, they collected and savored programs, advertisements, bulletins, and more. Some of these memorabilia find their way to the MHS Research Center’s Ephemera Collection.

Recently two pieces of ephemera from 1918 landed at the MHS Library.  These century old documents offer informative glimpses of Helena as well as Montana’s cultural environment.  The first is a theater program dated April 4, 1918 from Helena’s Marlow Theater. In hopes of understanding the context of the piece, I searched the 1918 Helena Independent. I discovered that just the day before, April 3, was the Marlow’s grand opening and Helena’s social event of the year!  Newspaper headlines described the “Capital Elite in Force.”  The sheer spectacle of scenery and costumes of “Show of Wonders” amazed the crowd.  However, the Independent critiqued the chorus as “young and pretty and shapely,” but “not a real voice in the lot.”  Also reported was a generous gift of $50.00 for “Red Cross Women to Attend Marlow Opening,” sent by the vacationing Senator T. C. Power. [1]

Advertisement
The Helena IndependentApril 3, 1918
Marlow Program
April 4, 1918
MHS Research Center Ephemera Collection



























The program itself delivers a plethora of historic information.  It lists the schedule for the Marlow in the coming weeks, from vaudeville and musical performances to “black face comedians” and drama.  Fisher’s Millinery, the State Nursery & Seed Company, and Montana Phonograph Company are just a few of the dozens of businesses advertised.  The leaflet also lists the Theater’s stockholders and firms connected to the Theater’s construction.  In short, the program offers an exciting glimpse into Helena’s businesses, society, and the era’s entertainment culture. [2]

Montana State War Conference, May 28-29, 1918
MHS Research Center Ephemera Collection

The second booklet is for the May 28-29, 1918 Montana State War Conference, coincidentally, held at the recently christened Marlow Theater. Numerous delegate organizations are listed.  Governing bodies such as the Red Cross, Liberty Loans, Federal Food Administration, Extension Bureau, and County Councils of Defense are predictable.  The presence of groups such as YMCA, Rotary Clubs, and Knights of Columbus reflects the depth of mainstream participation. The Conference’s patriotic goals were highlight by musical performances of Marseillaise, America, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Newspaper reports emphasize the diversity of backgrounds represented by speakers. They included Lt. Paul Perigord, a Catholic priest turned soldier, and Dr. James A. B. Scherer, Lutheran Minister and expert on Japanese relations.  The Independent declared that “in Montana, politics, religion, sex and creed have been forgotten.” The common goal was to “help the national government win the war.” [3]   The many organizations represented at the Conference played integral roles in not only uniting Montanans, but in monitoring and regulating individual behavior. 

While the Marlow program creates images pertaining to 1918 recreation and entertainment, the Montana State War Conference pamphlet reminds readers of the countless organizations and coordinated efforts necessary to win the war.  Two very different perspectives of 1918 Montana, both accessed through items not meant to last a house cleaning – ephemera. 


[1] “Helena Theater Opened, Capital Elite in Force,” pg. 1 & 7,  “Senator T.C. Power Gives $50,” pg. 8, Helena Independent, April  3,1918.
[2] See Montana Historical Society Research Center Ephemera Collection, “Helena (Montana)-Theatres-Marlow Theatre.”
[3] “History is Debated by Councilmen,” Helena Independent, May 28, 1918, pg. 1 & 6.


April 2, 2018

National Boot Day...Montana-Style, April 13, 2018


Barbara Pepper-Rotness, MHS Research Center Library Technician

April 13th is #NationalBootDay and we are celebrating it Montana-style…with cowboy boots, of course! Visit us April 13, 2018 wearing your western-style boots to receive free admission.

Also, we are creating a new Pinterest board dedicated to this day and we need your help! Read below to learn how you can play our Facebook sweepstakes and participate in this collaborative collection.

The picture of the cowboy boots below is our most popular image on Pinterest and is the inspiration for our #NationalBootDay event.


Image: MHS Museum #2004.47.01















Play to win:
Gifts you could win (minus the boots)
Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer
  • Two books published by the Montana Historical Society Press
    • A Tender Foot in Montana, by Francis M. Thompson, ed. by Kenneth N. Owens
    • Charlies Russell Roundup, ed. by Brian Dippie
  • One issue of Montana The Magazine of Western History
  • Several postcards from our store
  • MHS bookmarks and pencils from the Research Center


Enter Sweepstakes:
  • Go to our Facebook Page to enter.
  • Add one clear, close-up image of your cowboy or western-style boots (boots only, no people) in the Comments field of our April 13 #NationalBootDay Facebook post. Submissions for the contest will be accepted through 5:00pm on April 16th.
  • “Pick a Winner”, a third-party app sponsored by Woobox, will randomly select a winner at 5:01pm (MDT) April 16th.
  • Photos will be displayed on our Pinterest #NationalBootDay…Montana-Style board*.

 *During the month of April, you can watch our Pinterest ‘channel’ set to the #NationalBootDay board. Click on the Pinterest tab (no mobile access) on the left side of our Facebook Page  and watch this gallery grow!

Well-worn cowboy boots
Image by Tom Ferris, MHS Photographer














Eligibility:
  • Must be eighteen years or older to win.
  • Must be a resident of the United States to win.
  • We reserve the right to remove any images that contain faces, names, profanity, nudity, hateful or political content. Removal of your image will nullify your eligibility.
  • Employees of MHS are restricted from entering contest. 
  • No purchase necessary to win.
  • Playing this game is not required to receive free admission to the museum on April 13th; nor, is admission to the museum contingent upon entering the contest.
  • Must access our Facebook Page to play.
  • Submit one clear (not blurred) image, 600 x 900 pixels minimum for Pinterest.
  • We will not use names for any purpose other than to notify and announce the winner.
  • Winner will be notified by April 17, and winner will be announced (after verifying his/her compliance with our official rules) on Facebook no later than April 30, 2018.

Disclaimers:
  • By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook and Pinterest from any liability in connection with this contest.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, associated with, or administered by Facebook, Pinterest, or, other social networks.
  • By adding your image in the Comments field of our #NationalBootDay Facebook post, you are granting MHS permission to use image on other social media.
  • Prize has no cash value.