What We Saved: Old-Time Ephemera from the Seaport Museum Archives - Independence Seaport Museum

Ladies First: Women and Ephemera

Launching invitation, USS New Jersey

Invitation Card

Launching of Battleship USS New Jersey
Philadelphia Navy Yard
December 7, 1942

Ship launching ceremonies serve to officially name the ship and bless it on its voyages. In America, women became the preferred sponsors of ships around the 1840s, charged with breaking a bottle of spirits over the bow. Champagne eventually became the libation of choice for its effervescence.


Launching photo, USS Truxtun


Launching of USS Truxtun
Mrs. Kirby H. Tappan and
Mrs. Scott Umstead, sponsors
New York Ship Yard, Camden, NJ
December 19, 1964



Recipe for hair dye

Recipe for Hair Dye

circa 1800


Valentine card

Valentine Card

circa 1900

Sending valentine cards first became fashionable in Great Britain in the 19th century, and in 1847, a Massachusetts woman named Esther Howland created and sold the first mass-produced valentines in the United States. Her embossed paper lace valentines inspired so much popularity, that today, nearly one billion valentine cards are sent each year worldwide.

Dance card

Dance Card

"Regiment Infantry P.M. Gray Reserves"
Stockton House, Cape Island, NJ
July 19, 1869

Dance Cards were given to ladies to record the names of gentlemen to whom they had promised dances. Cards often included a small pencil attached by a ribbon; the ribbon could be worn around the wrist or a belt.



Dance card

Dance Card

"Haddonfield, April 23, 1868."
Printed by Bell & Hanchett, Fancy Printers
720 Sansom St. Philadelphia


Ladies First: Women and Ephemera

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