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John Springer Printing Ephemera Collection

Identifier: MsC0202

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Scope and Contents

The Springer Ephemra Collection contains more than 1,600 items and more than 400 calling cards -- in excess of 2,000 items in all -- organized into 19 boxes. Items have been grouped by format (e.g., calendars in Box 1, tokens in Box 18), by subject (e.g., paper in Box 3, advertising materials related to food in Box 12) and by events (e.g.,1893 World's Fair in Box 10, Iowa City events in Box 14). Few of these groupings are entirely systematic and related materials, however defined, can often be found in more than one place in the collection.

In addition to the ephemera pieces inventoried here, Springer (1850-1937), an Iowa City printer, presented some 2,000 books documenting or illustrating the history of printing. These titles are held together as a collection in Special Collections and are cataloged on InfoHawk. A shelflist in card format is also available in the Special Collections department.


  • Creation: 1866-1934


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


8.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Advertising agent, printer, and newspaper editor, of Iowa City, Iowa. Correspondence, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia, and other material relating to printing and advertising.


This list outlines the physical organization of the collection, which differs from the intellectual organization described under "Components."

Box 1: Book Sellers and Publishers' Catalogs and Advertisments, Calendars, Correspondence, Iowa, Political Literature

Box 2: Advertising Literature, Printers and Publishers

Box 3: Paper

Box 4: Printing Machinery and Equipment

Box 5: Type Foundries and Agents

Box 6: Type Foundries and Agents

Box 7: Printing Presses

Box 8: Equipment, Professional Organizations

Box 9: Advertising Literature

Box 10: Expositions, Theatrical Materials

Box 11: Political Literature, Lodge and Club Literature

Box 12: Advertising Literature

Box 13: Advertising Literature

Box 14: Iowa

Box 15: Iowa

Box 16: Photographs, Miscellaneous

Box 17: Calling Cards, Miscellaneous

Box 18: Souvenirs, Miscellaneous

Box 19: Clippings

Method of Acquisition

The Springer collection was bequeathed to the University of Iowa by John Springer upon his death in 1937. There was an addendum in 2003.

Related Materials

Springer. Collection of letters written by John Springer. xMS S76c (Special Collections) Kolbet, Richard M. "Publish & Perish: Printed Ephemera and Social History." Books at Iowa 55: 30-34

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)