Printed ephemera tends to be transitory documents created for a specific purpose, and intended to be thrown away. Survival of this kind of material is a combination of chance and the collector's acquisitive nature. The primary purpose of printed ephemera was the distribution of information. In the days before television and radio, citizens received news by way of broadsides and printed ephemera.
Once upon a time before the age of digital enlightenment there was the clipping file to be found in every library, sometimes called the vertical file. These files were meant to provide information about theatre and an alphabetical index of articles that were clipped primarily from newspapers and magazines. Clipping files provide access to nuggets of published and unpublished information, from un-indexed serial publications, and from marginal documents not cataloged individually. Researchers can find historic resources too local or too limited in scope to have been treated in book length works before.
Programs come to theatre goers as part of the price of admission and contain information about the performance, performers, and production that is invaluable to the theatre student. Whereas these tend to be discarded over time, TRI has persevered in collecting and organizing programs from all over the United States and many from England and Canada.
Other ephemera: could be temporary items such as tickets, postcards, posters, and paper advertising. This aptly describes much of what is often left behind after a theatrical production has come and gone; bits of paper and the warm memories of the attendees.
To see details about the various collections that may interest you look to the right.>>>