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June 2002 Issue
Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

What follows is a random assortment of art and antiques related websites that we have visited and enjoyed in the last few weeks. Your discoveries and suggestions are always welcome. Send them to

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Ephemeral Cooking Pamphlets

           This site lists recipe pamphlets, which were produced by food and kitchen appliance companies. They were of an ephemeral nature, often wearing out from use or they were thrown away. Not many of the earlier pamphlets still exist in good shape. The collection was given to the University of Iowa and a number of student assistants worked on the listing that is presented on this site. Noted chef, Louis Szathmáry II, compiled the collection. Only a few images are included on the site.


The American Daguerreotype

           This is a great virtual tour about the American daguerreotype. The images are from the collection of Matthew R. Isenburg; the curator is Keith F. Davis. It covers the cameras used, and it has a very interesting section on ephemeral items associated with daguerreotypes.

          A small number of images were made in 1839. Over the next decade the industry grew by leaps and bounds. The site is replete with splendid images of early cameras, equipment used for posing subjects, and a step-by-step explanation of the process of making daguerreotypes.

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Inuit Indian Dolls and More

           The ancestors of the Inuit Indians made the oldest dolls in Canada about a thousand years ago. Young Inuit girls learned to cut and sew skins and fur by making dolls. First Nations dolls were made from materials like wood, leather, fur, and cornhusk. Few examples have survived to today.

          Popular with the Six Nations were dolls made of corncobs and husks. The dolls were made depicting the games of the culture. Dolls playing lacrosse or doing hoop dances were popular. The Algonquins made dolls with beeswax heads and hands; Indians of The Plains worked with leather and decorated the dolls with porcupine quillwork. About 1840 European beads replaced quills. Also used as charms, amulets and fetishes, dolls were used by hunters for good luck.

          Other sections of the site cover these topics: What is a Doll, Inuit Dolls from Prehistory to Today, First Nations Dolls, Settlers' Dolls, Dolls Made at Home, Antique China and Parian Dolls, Antique Dolls Imported from Europe, Eaton's Beauty Dolls, The Birth of the Canadian Doll Industry, The Heyday of the Composition Doll, The Vinyl Doll Era, Canadian Original Doll Artists, and Mechanical Dolls. Much more can be found on this well thought out and very organized site brought to you by the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Many good pictures make this a good site for doll lovers.


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Printed Ephemera

           Another great site brought to you by your government, it is the online listing of printed ephemera in the Library of Congress. The collection has 28,000 items dating back to the seventeenth century. The digitized collection has more then 7,000 pieces from the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and London, England. An ongoing project, the government plans to add thousands of additional items.

          The collection is completely searchable by author, title, keyword, genre, or printing location. You can read the text and/or view an image. Click on the link entitled About the Collection for a thorough description of what ephemera is all about. The page order and folding diagrams link explains how the pages are folded to produce the different formats printed ephemera might take - leaflet, folder, reverse folder, center span, reverse center span, triptych span, double vertical fold, tri-fold, reverse tri-fold, multipage, uncut quarto, accordion, folded scroll - all these have drawings showing exactly what is meant.

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There's Always Room for Jell-O

           For a history of JELL-O try this website which is run by Kraft foods. Try the history link first. Jell-O made its debut in 1845 when Peter Cooper (yes, the one associated with Cooper Union) got the first patent for gelatin. Highlights of Jell-O's career are displayed in ten-year periods from 1900 to 2000. Pearle Wait from LeRoy, New York, developed a fruit-flavored version of Cooper's gelatin. His wife, May Davis Wait, named it JELL-O. Wait sold the business to Francis Woodward, a neighbor, for $450 in 1900.

          The next link goes to the Jell-O Museum where you will find fun facts about Jell-O trivia such as fruits that float and fruits that sink in Jell-O. Remember this tidbit? Technicians at St. Jerome hospital in Batavia tested a bowl of lime Jell-O with an EEG machine and confirmed that a bowl of wiggly Jell-O has the same brain waves as adult men and women. You'll find these and other pieces of Jell-O trivia on the Museum's history page.

          The final link 100 Years of Ads, has lots of pictures. The ad images date from 1910 to 2001. In 1904 the Jell-O girl first appeared…"you can't be a kid without it."

, this link will take you to an article by Lynne Belluscio about Jell-O package inserts. The earliest inserts were printed in 1908 and were little booklets with six pages of recipes. Artists such as Rose O'Neill, Maxfield Parrish, Coles Phillips, Norman Rockwell, Linn Ball, and Angus MacDonald all produced ads for Jell-O.

          Another site I found shows three images of the Kewpie cookbooks which are priced for sale. This cooking ephemera link lists 51 Jell-O pamphlets (you will have to scroll down to the J's) and gives a good description of them. Unfortunately, no pictures are posted.

          Strange as it seems, I could not find one great site for Jell-O collectibles, such as store signs, molds, kewpies, recipes etc. If you know of a great Jell-O site, let me know and I will pass along the information. Perhaps there is an opening for someone to create a Jell-O collectible site.         

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