Ephemera Society of America to Hold 44th Annual Ephemera Fair in Old Greenwich This Weekend

David Cohn


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GREENWICH – The annual Ephemera Fair will be offering a vast variety materials from century-old fabrics, cookbooks, photographs and trade cards.

From March 16 to 17, the Ephemera Society of America will hold its 44th annual fair at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich. This year, collectors can sort through more than 10,000 pieces of memorabilia displayed by at least 50 different exhibitors.

ESA President David Lilburne told CT Examiner that many sellers and educational institutions travel every year to the fair to buy and sell memorabilia. But Lilburne said his hope is that the event will continue to bring in people beyond the collecting community.

Sunflower, 1970 (Mare Booksellers)

“That’s the objective of the Ephemera Society – to get the word out there,” Lilburne said. “You will find every price range at every subject with ephemera. There’s not an area that you can’t touch.”

Lilburne, who is a bookseller by trade, said he stumbled across his own love for ephemera at a fair in the 1990s.

Hunting for novels to fill his storefront, Lilburne said he would often get discouraged at other fairs as he would see copies of the same books over-and-over again. But when he attended his first ESA Fair, he said his passion for buying books was reignited.

“I was finding things that I’d never seen before,” Lilburne said.

Along with books, Lilburne said his visits to the ESA Fair allowed him to feed his love for items like tea and historic maps. About 20 years later, he said he now has a collection of about 4,500 tea packets, illustrations and postcards, and maps of explorations like James Cook’s expedition to the Pacific and the discovery of Hawaii.


As membership on the society’s Board of Directors has expanded beyond dealers to include representatives from the Library of Congress and the American Antiquarian Society, Lilburne said the quality of the event has continued to grow.

This year, the society highlighted long standing exhibitors like Evie Eysenburg – who specializes in trade cards, social history and folk art – and aGatherin’ – which assembles collections of specific items such as tags sent with flowers for Valentine’s Day in 1951.

Tom’s Curiosity Shop

Before the fair, the society will also hold its annual conference on March 15, which will feature eight presentations related to the event’s theme – conflict and resolution.

Lilburne urged the importance of the preceding conference, as it allows the presenters to delve further into their collections. Under this year’s theme, he said he attendees will not only learn about, but also experience culture both during and after major historic conflicts.

“We don’t want just speakers. We want the talk to be illustrated with ephemera,” Lilburne said.

Through both the fair and the conference, Lilburne said attendees will have a distinctive look into the history of art, culture, and life. While one movie ticket or one book may not seem significant on its own, he said the annual event provides an all-encompassing look into the evolution of everyday life.