defines ephemera as "Objects in the collecting world that were originally considered to be ephemeral by nature, i.e., not made to last. Examples include broadsides announcing political meetings, greeting cards, invitations to Hollywood film openings, buttons, bumper stickers, and the like." Here's what the president of the Ephemera Society of America has to say …
The definition of a piece of Ephemera is, traditionally, an item made of paper that was not meant to be saved such as song sheets, trade cards, business cards, commemorative paper napkins, and so forth. The purists among us cling to that definition and, of course, that is their prerogative. However, there is a trend among many collectors to include non-traditional material such as in advertising. For instance, there are many items made of celluloid that were used for advertising a specific product or event. They are often found among World's Fair collections. By the same token, a cup or spoon from that same Fair would not be considered traditional Ephemera.
The nice thing about collecting as that one can collect whatever one wants. Thus, there is a growing tendency for Ephemera collectors to add things to their collections that do not fall within that strict definition. As is true in all fields, definitions work well until one gets to the fringes where the confines of a definition become hazy. And that is, in my personal view, where the field is heading. Others might not agree and that is, as I've said, their right.
Here's a 2004 ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.