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Business ephemera collection

Identifier: MS-Business Ephemera

Scope and Content

This collection contains different forms of printed paper items produced by Hartford businesses beginning in the 1840s and continuing through the present. Many types of ephemera, such as trade cards and catalogs, functioned solely as advertising. Others, such as bookmarks, calendars, and blank books, might serve a useful purpose as well as providing advertising for a firm. Much of the ephemera, especially the earliest items, were printed locally by Hartford’s many printing firms. Later items were often, though not always, printed elsewhere.


  • 1840-Present

Access Restrictions

The records are stored in a restricted area and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

Use Restrictions

See Hartford History Center’s Collection Use policy. Permission to publish from the Collection must be obtained in writing from curator of the Hartford History Center, and a copy of the published work may be requested by the Hartford History Center. The Hartford History Center reserves the right to refuse permission to publish, etc. to those who have not complied with its policies. Use of the collections will normally not be permitted for the purpose of promotion of commercial products and services or political campaigns. Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library reserves the right to limit the number of photographic prints/captures and to restrict the use or reproduction of rare, fragile, or valuable objects.

Historical Note

Ephemera is a collective term for different kinds of printed paper items that were originally meant to be discarded after use. Examples include advertisements, calendars, menus, paper bags, and posters. While these items were produced for a specific purpose and were not intended to be collected or preserved, people frequently save items that hold special meaning for them. They also save items that they perceive to be of historical significance. Collections of ephemera are a valuable historical resource that can provide unique insights into the period in which the materials were created. The items in the ephemera collection in the Hartford History Center have been donated by many different individuals over the years and the collection continues to grow through donations and purchase.


3.81 cubic_feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection includes billheads, letterheads, calendars, paper bags and boxes, trade cards and other forms of printed matter documenting Hartford businesses, including banks, insurance companies, and stores, from the mid-nineteenth century through the present day.

Physical Location

HHC Closed Stacks, Range 16


The collection is closed. Additional accruals are not expected.

Processing Details

EAD Finding Aid created May 2018.

Business Ephemera Collection
A Guide to the collection at the Hartford History Center
May 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hartford History Center Repository

Hartford History Center
Hartford Public Library
500 Main St
Hartford CT 06103 USA