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The Book: Related Works

When classifying books and related work, librarians generally call a book a monograph. This term distinguishes the book from other works such as periodicals or pamphlets. However there are a wide range of items associated with books.

Let's explore a few of the options.


Ephemera is a term that refers to a wide range of transitory printed materials. From the Greek term meaning "short-lived," ephemera includes advertisements, bookmarks, brochures, catalogues, event programs, flyers, greeting cards, invitations, letters, playbills, postcards, posters, tickets, trading cards and other printed materials. Ephemera is intended to be disposable and is thought to be of little value. When used in libraries, the term "printed ephemera" is associated with published single page documents.

Explore a couple of the following digital ephemera collections:

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Skim Keith's Seeds. This seed catalog was printed in 1920. Do a search in for catalogs or other types of ephemera. Think about the insights that can be gained into life during a particular time period through these interesting documents.

From the 15th to the 18th century, the term "popular prints" was used to describe low quality, inexpensive printed works including broadsides, chapbooks, almanacs, and newspapers.

Read at least ONE of the following articles:

McDowell, Paula (2012). Of grubs and other insects: constructing the categories of 'ephemera' and 'literature' in eighteenth-century British writing. Book History, 15, 48-70. IUPUI students can view the article online.

Harris, Michael (2013). Printed Ephemera. In, M. Suarez & H.R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History. Oxford University Press. IUPUI students can view the article online.


A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side and generally without columns. They may be posters, announcements, notices, advertisements, and proclamations used to share information. Because they were considered temporary documents, they fall into the category of ephemera.

From the 16th to the 19th century, they were a very common form of printed material sold by street vendors.

Beginning in the 16th century, this format was used to distribute poems, ballads, and other short works. They sold for a penny or halfpenny in Britain. The image below shows an 18th century broadside ballad.

Tragical Ballad

During the Reformation, satirical and polemical prints were popular. During times of conflict, broadsides were used for political purposes including propaganda. During the 18th and 19th century, broadsides were often distributed at public executions and contained a portrait of the criminal and information about the trial and guilt of the criminal.

Dunlap broadsideWhen the Declaration of Independence was first printed on July 4, 1776, it was known as the Dunlap broadside. John Dunlap printed around 200 copies of this now famous document (shown right). Only 26 original Dunlap broadsides are still known to exist.

Because broadsides were printed as ephemera, the survival rate is very low.

Use a couple of the following digital collections to explore broadsides from throughout history:

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Spend some time exploring the Word on the Street website. Each broadside includes detailed commentary and a transcription of the text. This collection includes topics such as crime, ballads, emigration, sport, tragedy and disaster, marvels, and humor.
Explore other broadside digital collections. How do these documents reflect the time when they were created? What do they say about culture, politics, religion, and social issues?


Guilford ghostA pamphlet is a small, unbound booklet. Generally, a pamphlet has at least 5 pages but no more than 48 pages. Longer items are considered books. In most cases, pamphlets involve folding a few pages in half and placing a "saddle stitch staple" in the fold.

The term pamphlet originated with a twelfth-century comic poem called Pamphilus, seu de Amore. The popular small work was widely copied and shared.

A leaflet is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides and folded in half.

In the seventeenth century England, pamphlets became associated with contemporary issues and politics.

During the Fronde (1648-1653) in France, political pamphlets were published on both sides of the conflict. Known as mazarinade, these works included pieces of satirical verse and taunts representing some of the first printed political propaganda.

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century France, the term libelle was used to describe political pamphlets. These small works were often used for subversive purposes.

The example on the left is from a 1709 pamphlet describing alleged sightings of the ghost of Christopher Slaughterford.

During the English Civil War (1643-1651), newsbooks were published. These single topic pamphlets focused on current events such as crime, disasters, politics, and other news.

Propaganda leaflets and pamphlets were popular during wartime in the 20th century and continue to be used today.

These non-serial publications are still produced on a wide range of topics from how to set up your new Weber grill to medical information about the obesity and diabetes. Many government documents are printed as pamphlets. They also remain a popular tools for political, religious and social campaigns.

In 1986, Apple Computer introduced the Apple IIe computer using a 14-page pamphlet.

The image below shows the brochure.



ChapmanA chapbook is a small (4 x 6 inches), pocket-sized pamphlet. Although the term "chapbook" was coined in the 19th century, this ephemeral literature was introduced in the 17th century. The term comes from the Old English word "chap" meaning deal, barter, or business. These books were often sold door-to-door by salesmen known as chapmen. Printers would provide these salesmen books on credit to sell around the countryside.

The image on the right shows a chapman in 1709. This image was published in Chap-Books of the Eighteenth Century by John Ashton.

These inexpensive books were often a single sheet cut or folded into book form. The 8, 12, 16, or 24 pages often contained poor quality woodcuts in addition to text. In many cases, the images were reused in many publications and weren't connected to the text. Because they were thin and often poorly made, few have survived. Many were even used a toilet paper.

Many approaches were taken for printing these books. For instance, the quarto chapbook contains four pages on one side and four on the other. The duodecimo chapbook is laid out on two pages front and back with 12 pages on each side.

Until the Great Fire of London, many of the chapbooks were made in London. However small printers in England, Scotland, the United States and other locations created these cheap publications. Chapbooks began to disappear in the early-19th century as newspapers and other inexpensive publications gained in popularity.

For those interested in studying the popular culture of everyday people, chapbooks contain a wealth of information. Because they were priced to sell to the working class, they were sold in a wide range of locations from rural to urban. Chapbooks were wildly popular. In the 1660s, enough almanacs were printed so that one in three people could own one. Booksellers kept good records of sales, so book historians can easily trace the numbers of books printed and sold.

The content of chapbooks included educational, travel, poetry, folk tales, almanacs, religious, political, children, and sensational topics. Many of the books contained pirated text from earlier publications or classics. They were often read aloud at family gatherings and in pubs.

During the late 18th century and early 19th century as chapbooks were losing popularity, Gothic blue books emerged. These small format, short works of fiction were often plot summaries to longer novels. At 36 to 72 pages in length, they sold for a sixpence or shilling. They were sometimes called "shilling shockers" or "sixpenny Shockers".

To learn more about chapbooks, browse Chap-Books of the Eightieth Century by John Aston. Written in 1882, it provides wonderful insights into the world of chapbook publication. This books contains facsimiles of hundreds of 18th century chapbooks including both images and text.

Use a couple of the following digital collections to explore chapbooks from throughout history:

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Read Museum of Foreign Animals for an example of a chapbook. Notice the simple format, use of images and basic text.

To learn more about chapbooks, read Sam Riedel (2012), Chapbooks: A Short History of the Short Book.

Comic Books

A comic book is a form of sequential art presented on a series of panels representing individual scenes. Comics generally contain a combination of images and narrative with dialog contained in word balloons or speech bubbles. The transition from single pages to books occurred over a couple centuries.

18th Century

A lubok (or lubki) was a Russian popular print similar to a comic strip containing images and narratives. They began as one page prints that were often posted on the wall. Introduced in the late 17th century, the stories contained both religious and popular themes. They often contained a lesson or moral. Like chapbooks, they were inexpensive and poorly constructed.

The Mice are Burying the Cat (shown below) is an example of a lubok from the 1760s. This print may show a caricature of Peter the Great's burial or simply a representation of "turning the world upside down".


For more lubok examples, go to the National Library of Russia.

Comic books emerged at the same time in Japan featuring wood-block images and short stories in a small format. Topics included legends, folk tales, and historical events.

In England, satirical, sequential narrative drawing were produced. These were later incorporated into books and newspapers.

19th Century

Rodolphe Topffer (1799-1846) illustrated stories using a caricatures. His Histoire de M. Vieux Bois (the second row of the image below) was first published in Europe in the 1820s. The strips first appeared in the United States in the 1830s under the name The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck (the first row of the image below). Considered by many to be the first comic book, the format included sequential pictures with captions. Topffer geared his comics to children and working class people.


German painter Wilhelm Busch created the popular comic strip Max and Moritz about two trouble-making boys. Also during the 19th century, comic strips began appearing in the North American newspapers. The Yellow Kid, Katzenjammer Kids, and the Little Bears were popular comic strip characters in the 1890s.

20th Century

During the 1960s and 1970s, underground comics reflecting the youth counterculture emerged. Many of these comic books depicted drug use, nudity, sex, and profanity.

In the late 1970s, alternative comics emerged combining the counterculture approach with new less explicit topics. Small, independent presses began to flourish.

Around the 21st century, graphic novels and web comics became popular.

Periodicals: Newspapers, Magazines, & Journals

A periodical is a printed work scheduled for regular publication. This includes newspapers, magazines, journals, and yearbooks. Each issue is complete and may include an issue and/or volume number. Periodicals are classified as popular or scholarly.

newspaperThe newspaper is a more elaborate form of a broadside. It's a serial publication generally issued daily or weekly.

The newspaper began in Early modern Europe as a news letters called an avvisi or gazettes. These hand-written sheets conveyed political, military, and economic news throughout Europe. Both public and private avvisi were distributed. The popularity of the publications was due to each court's desire to know what was happening in allied and enemy courts. Because the process of printing was slow and an avvisi was intended to include current information, it wasn't until the 17th century that printed versions of avvisi became common.

The German newspaper Relation (1609 edition shown on left) was first published in 1605 making it the first. Next the Dutch started newspapers in the 1620s, the French in the 1630s, the Swedish in the 1640s, and Spanish, Italian, English, and Polish in the 1660s.

These multi-column printed works generally contained news, feature articles, editorials, and advertising. As printing became more inexpensive in the 17th century, newspapers began to replace some types of popular print. For instance, political caricatures were printed as broadsides but gradually became integrated into newspapers in the 18th century.

First published in London in 1731, The Gentleman's Magazine is among the first general interest magazine. The editor Edward Cave coined the term "magazine" using the analogy of a military storehouse of materials.

Publick OccurrencesThe first North American newspaper was published in Boston on September 25, 1690 by Benjamin Harris. The multi-page, two column newspaper titled Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick (shown on right) only lasted one edition because it was suppressed by colonial officials. In 1704, The Boston News-Letter became the first continuously published weekly newspaper. In Halifax Gazette became the first Canadian newspaper in 1751. The first newspaper was founded in South America in 1825.

During the 19th century, advances in printing technology enabled newspapers to become more widely circulated. With the introduction of two-sided printing, newspapers became even cheaper and more available to the population.

Magazines like Harper's Weekly were widely circulated in the mid 1800s and brought illustration into many homes. Many popular illustrators of the time created illustrations for Harper's Weekly. Other popular magazines included The Saturday Evening Post, Scribner's, Vanity Fair, Collier's Weekly, Life, and The New Yorker.

Little FolkMany illustrators like Winslow Homer (1836-1910) became famous for their Civil War illustrations for Harper's Weekly.

Increasingly specialized magazines began to emerge in the late 19th and early 20th century. For instance, Little Folks (1871, shown on right) was design for children.

Newspapers remained popular until recently when many paper newspapers transitioned to an electronic format.

Use a couple of the following digital collections to explore newspapers from throughout history:


Harris, Michael (2013). Printed Ephemera. In, M. Suarez & H.R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History. Oxford University Press.

McDowell, Paula (2012). Of grubs and other insects: constructing the categories of 'ephemera' and 'literature' in eighteenth-century British writing. Book History, 15, 48-70.

Preston, Cathy, Lynn & Preston, Michael James (1995). The Other Print Tradition: Essays on Chapbooks, Broadsides, and Related Ephemera. Taylor & Francis. Preview Available:

Raymond, Joad (1999). News, Newspapers, and Society in Early Modern Britain. Taylor & Francis. Preview Avaialble:

Raymond, Joad (2006). Pamphlets and Pamphleteering in Early Modern Britain. Cambridge University Press. Preview Available:

Riedel, Sam (February 14, 2012), Chapbooks: A Short History of the Short Book. The The.

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