“Ephemera” is a catch-all term, used for paper items created for a specific, limited purpose and then often thrown away: things like event tickets, cocktail napkins from rush socials, or this nametag, worn by engineering students during the school’s annual Engineers’ Show.
Transfer to Archives: Annually
This nametag (with a blank space for a student’s name) identified members of Duke’s chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to the hundreds of Duke and Durham spectators, eager to catch a glimpse of the school’s laboratory equipment in action.
Why is this historically important?
- Although pieces of ephemera can carry important historical facts (like the date of an award presentation or the location of a concert), they can also demonstrate the material culture of a particular time period.
Engineers’ Show nametag, undated. From the School of Engineering Records, 1931-1998. Duke University Archives.
Photograph of School of Engineering event, undated. From the University Archives Photograph Collection, 1861-ongoing. Duke University Archives.