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Dietrich's Vault, A Summary

About Us

The old barn in Stamford, Connecticut where it all began.

The Dietrich's Vault Story

This site is the result of one man's passion for collecting and "antiquing" . William Allan Dietrich was a father, dedicated professional, husband and the Dietrich family patriarch. As Dad, William, "Bill", or Mr. Dietrich, he had many roles and still found time to be the consummate collector of all things ephemera, antiques and collectibles. This site is dedicated to him.

Bill started his career in advertising after graduating from a major eastern university with a degree in marketing. His first professional job was with a national advertising agency in New York City. In 1966, he was transferred to the firm's Cleveland office.

In Cleveland, Bill was offered a job managing the regional promotional needs of a rapidly growing fast food chain. He continued to obtain key marketing positions with major companies in the retail fast food industry throughout his career; helping to start and refine the marketing programs for other giants in the industry.

While living in Stamford CT, Bill purchased a large trailer of old paper items. Nobody could see the value in these old discarded newspapers, cards and magazines at the time, but today, these paper items (now called ephemera) have spawned a cottage industry of people who base their livelihoods on collecting and selling them.

We lived at the time in an old farmhouse with an attached barn. Bill put the extra space to good use spending hours reading and sorting the early newspapers, magazines and miscellaneous paper items. He was particularly interested in early advertisements and illustrators and was obsessed with researching publishers, 19th century artists/illustrators and the companies that produced them.

Who would have thought at the time, that anyone would have wanted to purchase old magazines advertisements, post cards, trade cards etc. Yet when Bill went to flea markets or had garage sales people came and paid good money for these vintage trade cards, Campbell Soup, and Rastus Cream of Wheat ads.

And this was the genius of Bill. He recognized that someone would associate a lost memory or moment of time with one of these pieces of paper. And because he had a gift for sales and working with people he was able to sell and package them as mementos and collectibles.

Add an eclectic mix of antiques--from Indian Skookum dolls to Victorian era tall case clocks--and a generous amount of collectible trains, LP records, dollhouse miniatures, toys and tin soldiers collected over a lifetime; and you have THE most comprehensive, catalogued and photographed collection on the internet: Dietrich's Vault.

This site is a dedication to Dad. Our family worked on this project for almost six years. What you see is the product of a lot of time and energy spent on something we very much want to pass along to other folk

Please, browse the sidebar categories or use the powerful search functionality if looking for something specific. If you find something that conjures up a memory, please let us know and we will share it.

Ephemera montage...

Example Ephemera Items

Our collection of ephemera items is extensive. Bill spent hours cataloging and documenting every illustrator, company, artist and advertisement in his inventory. And he did this in the days when the internet didn’t exist; personal computers were decades off, and the only “computers” that were around were mammoth data processing machines that used vacuum tubes for circuitry and took hours to compute. Since you took the time to find us, stay a while and try to discover what you are looking for. You will most likely find it with a couple of key word searches. But if not, send us an email and we can try to help.

For beginner ephemera/paper collectors, some of our more recognizable items include:

  • Campbell’s soup advertisements
  • Rastus cream of wheat advertisements
  • Life Magazine WWII articles and advertisements
  • Vintage 1960 and 1970 Chevy and Ford Automobile advertisements
  • 1930s Jell-O advertisements
  • Pan Am Airline advertisements back in the days when you had to be a nurse, attractive and unmarried to be a flight “stewardess” (not an attendant)
  • Political cartoons from famous artists and illustrators
  • Civil war illustrations and descriptions of battle scenes; when photography either did not exist or was too expensive to use and mass produce.
Peruse our catalog by using the sidebar and try some searches with our advanced search engine. Since you took the time to find us, please don’t leave until your search turns up something. And you can always email us if you are looking for something specific. Just go to our contact page for more information.

Epherma for the serious collector...

The Discerning Ephemera Collector

For dealers and collectors, we have inventoried, photographed and categorized many famous artists, illustrators and magazines.

This is a non-all inclusive list of some examples:

  • Thomas Nast political cartoons
  • Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post magazines
  • J.C. Leyendecker, arrow collar and shirt ads
  • James Montgomery Flagg ads and illustrations
  • Harper’s weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated newspapers starting in the 1860s that contain:
    • Illustrations of famous Civil War battles
    • Civil War maps showing troop movements and battle sites
    • Wood engravings from famous illustrators such as Winslow Homer
  • Early chromolithographed trade cards from the late 1800s to the early 1900s
  • Books and stories illustrated by famous artists and illustrators such as (and this list is not all inclusive) :
    • Jessie Willcox Smith
    • Howard Pyle
    • N.C. Wyeth
    • Eric Sloane
    • James Montgomery Flagg
    • A.B. Frost
    • Charles Dana Gibson
    • Maxfield Parrish
    • Frederic Remington
    • Charles Russell and others with famous engravings and lithographs.
Antiques and collectibles a plenty.

Antiques and Collectibles

Dietrich’s Vault not only contains ephemera items, but has classic American fine furniture, Native American collectibles, art and early portraits. These items were collected over three decades and were purchased from estate and auction houses in New England, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Here is a non-all inclusive list of example items:

Examples of Early lighting including:

  • Rushlights
  • whale oil and candle lanterns
  • railroad and ship lanterns

  • American furniture including:

  • Clocks
  • Sawbuck and trestle tables
  • Philadelphia Chippendale Lowboy
  • Windsor chairs

  • Fine Art and portraits:

  • George Schofield portrait signed AE 24, 1854, E. A. Greenwood Pntr.
  • Classic American Miniatures
  • Mourning picture done in watercolor and embroidered on silk
  • Kathe Kolwitz Etching
  • George Catlin hand colored lithographs

    Native and Mexican American artifacts/Folk art including:

  • Sculptures
  • Kachinas
  • Arrowheads

  • Other Items:

  • InkWells
  • Bottles
  • Cast iron banks
  • Lionel trains
  • Dollhouse furnishings

  • Fine and Antique Dining ware including:

  • Woodenware
  • Wooden Bowls
  • Sterling Silver utensils
  • A large 18th century pitcher

  • Glass, china and ceramics including:

  • Nippon
  • Tiffany
  • Red ware