About the John Johnson Collection

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world. It offers a fresh view of British history through primary, uninterpreted printed documents which, produced for short-term use, have survived by chance. These include advertisements, handbills, playbills and programmes, menus, greetings cards, posters and postcards.

Find out more about John Johnson and the history of the collection.

The collection is strongest in the 18th to early 20th centuries, but also contains earlier material. Physically arranged in some 1,000 subject headings, it is searchable through detailed cataloguing, selective OCR and digitisation. Learn more about finding aids for the original collection, additions to the collection, and major new named ephemera collections.

The John Johnson Collection is consulted in the Weston Library. Learn more about making research visits to use the collection.

The collection today

The collection is evolving. We are:

  • indexing, cataloguing and digitising the original collection, as funds allow
  • acquiring ephemera by donation and purchase
  • collecting contemporary ephemera
  • interacting through social media (Twitter and Instagram)

Donating to the collection

The Librarian of the John Johnson Collection is always pleased to hear from potential donors of private collections or of funds.