Skip to main content

Rare Books in the Bodleian Library: Ephemera

Guide to using Rare Books in the Bodleian Library

A gaiety girl

John Johnson Collection

The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera offers a fresh view of British history through primary, uninterpreted printed documents which, produced for short-term use, have survived by chance. It is one of the most important collections of printed ephemera in the world and is a very rich source for social and printing historians.  Assembled by John de Monins Johnson (1882-1956), papyrologist, and Printer to the University, it contains c.1.5 million items. Spanning from 1508 to 1939 (and beyond in some areas), the strengths of the Collection are in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The John Johnson Collection (formerly called the Constance Meade Memorial Collection of Ephemeral Printing) was transferred to the Bodleian Library from Oxford University Press in 1968.