SARAH SOPHIA BANKS AND BELLA CLARA LANDAUER
— COLLECTORS OF EPHEMERAL LEGACY
The article contains information about the ephemera collections of Sarah Sophia Banks (1744–1818) from England and Bella Clara Landauer (1874–1960) from the United States. Although differing in terms of their contents and, to some extent, their typology, the collections, amassed in various locations and historical periods, built up of passion bordering on mania, are unique as sources, appreciated by contemporary scholars. Worthy of note from the point of view of book and library scholars are both the figures of the two collectors and the original materials which attracted the attention of Banks and Landauer. The same can be said of the way they pursued their unique hobby and their pioneering work with materials which from the point of view of library practice are regarded as difficult, requiring special measures in the process of acquisition, collecting, study, storage and protection. Thus the experiences of the eponymous collectors, who amassed, selected, systematised and arranged various types of ephemera, become all the more interesting and worthy of popularisation. Worthy of note is also the very fact that the unconventional collections were given to research institutions. Of particular significance in this respect is Sarah S. Banks’ collection, which despite its size was incorporated into the British Library collection already in 1818 owing to its source potential and need to protect it. The ephemeral publications amassed by Sarah S. Banks are currently kept in the British Library. Bella C. Landauer’s collection, owing to the huge number of items, was divided and given to various institutions and research libraries, e.g. New York Historical Society, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, New York Public Library or Baker Library at Harvard University. Some of these institutions make digitised items from these collections available online, thanks to which the growing public domain resources can be used to initiate and develop new research. The aim of this article is to introduce the figures of the two collectors and the ephemera — the object of their collecting passion.