From Your Wate and Fate
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That which is ephemeral is expected to last for a short time only -- a rosy sunrise, a blooming rose -- and in the world of books, any paper article which was printed but not bound, which was distributed in the form of loose sheets, or was printed on a poor grade of paper, was considered ephemeral, something that would not last.

Because binding consisted of stitching printed sheets between hard boards, covered with leather or cloth, it came to pass that self-covered or stiff paper wrapped saddle-stitched or side-stapled catalogues, calendars, comic books, almanacs, periodicals, and pamphlets, as well as tickets, letters, diaries, proclamations, newspaper clippings, posters, press photos, loose postcards, trade cards, and business cards, were categorized as ephemera, because if they lacked a spine and could not be stood upright on a bookshelf, they were not, ipso facto, books.

Coins and tokens are less ephemeral than unbound paper, but as governments rise and fall to the rhythm of technological change, coins lose their status as legal tender, transit tokens for long-lost trolley cars have no more value than a fleeting memory, and wooden nickels vanish into the junk drawers of old men, never to be seen again.

Your Wate and Fate uses the ephemera of fortune telling to showcase popular methods of divination of the 19th and 20th centuries.

My Patreon stream, which supports this web site and others, got its name because many years ago -- decades ago, in fact -- a friend of mine walked into my home office, cast his eyes on the shelves, boxes, and floor-piles of paper, and burst out, incredulously: "It's all ephemera!" And indeed, it was.

While most of the categories at this site are illustrated in part with ephemera, the pages in the actual category of "Ephemera" include only those whose entirety consists solely of images of paper ephemera ... lest we all go mad.

catherine yronwode
curator, historian, and docent
Your Wate and Fate

Special thanks to my dear husband and creative partner nagasiva yronwode for illustrations, scans, and clean-ups.