Margolies Collection of Travel Ephemera, Photographs, and Postcards open for research!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Hagley Library is pleased to announce that we have completed processing the Margolies Collection of Travel Ephemera. The collection is now open for research. We have two finding aids for the collection, one for the ephemera and another for the photographs and postcards:

John Margolies collection of travel ephemera

John Margolies collection of travel photographs and postcards

John Margolies was an author, photographer, and lecturer on American commercial architecture and design. He amassed this collection while pursuing his passion: to photographically document the disappearing phenomena of roadside Americana. Over a thirty-year period, he explored highways and byways in search of unique and typical examples of roadside, main street, and resort architecture. Margolies sold his original photographs to the Library of Congress, but his ephemera collection was acquired by Hagley in 2017. This collection complements other recent acquisitions at Hagley, such as the Z. Taylor Vinson Collection of Transportation Ephemera. Taken together, these collections document the history of automobility and its transformative economic impact on the United States in the twentieth century.

Items from the Margolies collection have been featured in past newsletter articles you can read here:

Travel Scrapbooks: The Next Best Thing to Being There

Sleep in a Wigwam!

The Historic Green Book for African American Travelers

A De Moulin Bros & Co.Trade Catalog for Fraternal Lodge Hazing

Note: As of July 2020, the Library is closed to researchers but we would be happy to assist you remotely as best we can. If you have questions for our reference staff about the Margolies collection or any other Library material, please contact us at