Ephemera and Physical Objects

Painted Canteen, 1860s Matchbook Cover, 1940s
Postcard, 1940s Drum, 1860s


Ephemera refers to transient print materials such as advertisements, ballots, flyers, lottery tickets, memorabilia, money, souvenirs, and tickets. Physical objects, sometimes referred to as artifacts, include non-documentary everyday items such as badges, emblems, equipment, insignias, jewelry, and tools. Both ephemera and physical objects shed light on the past in ways different from records and documents. Social historians, who emphasize social structures and interactions among societal groups rather than affairs of the state, find ephemera and physical objects especially rich research materials.


Use the links below to find ephemera and realia regarding military history available from Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository.


World War II Ephemera

Physical Objects

Civil War Physical Objects

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