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John Zeransky Western Film Ephemera Collection

Identifier: 2002-203

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of more than 4,000 items related to silent and western movie actors and actresses. Arcade cards, postcards, lobby cards, advertising cards (trading cards), Dixie Cup lids, milk lids, and ephemera, ca. 1910-ca.1960s. Rodeo photographs reproduced as arcade cards are also included in the postcard series. Examples of notable movie actors represented in the collection are Art Acord, William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy,) Johnny “Mack” Brown, Yakima Canutt, Harry Carey, Fred Church, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, William Desmond, “Wild Bill” Elliott (Red Ryder), Dustin & William Farnum, Hoot Gibson, Monte Hale, William S. Hart, Jack Holt, Jack Hoxie, Buck Jones, Allan “Rocky” Lane, Bob Livingston, Tim McCoy, Leo Maloney, Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, Pete Morrison, George O’Brien, Jack Perrin, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Buddy Roosevelt, Tom Santschi, Charles Starrett (The Durango Kid), Bob Steele, Roy Stewart, Fred Thomson, Tom Tyler, Wally Wales, John Wayne, Ted Wells, and actresses Dale Evans, Ruth Roland, Eileen Sedgwick, and Lois Wilson.


  • Creation: circa 1910-circa 1960


Conditions Governing Access

The John Zeransky Western Film Ephemera Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The John Zeransky Western Film Ephemera Collection is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.

Biographical / Historical

John Zeransky was an avid collector and lover of silent western movies. As a young man, he collected lobby cards and arcade cards from his local Braddock, Pennsylvania movie theater. He continue buying and trading cards during his 49 year employment at Westinghouse. Among his favorite collecting subjects were Art Acord and Tom Mix who gained national prominence in early western film.


14.25 Linear Feet (1 document box, 3 flat boxes, 32 photo binders)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of more than 4,000 items related to silent and western movie actors and actresses.


Series 1: Advertising Cards (ca. 1910s – 1958, n.d.; 2002.203.8.0001-.0481) This series contains silent movie actor and actress cigarette cards from Germany, England and the United States, ca. 1910-1937. In addition to the collection of cigarette cards, the series contains trade cards from Koester’s Honey and Tosty Bread, ca. 1910s, Neilson’s Chocolate, 1923, American Carmel Company, 1921 and Topps, 1958. The Advertising Card Appendix contains the names of all actors and actresses represented in the series.

Series 2: Arcade Cards (ca. 1920s – ca. 1960s; 2002.203.2.0001-.2276) This series depicts western film stars from the beginning of silent films to the 1960s. Beginning alphabetically with Art Accord, one of the first silent western film actors, the collection spans the genre’s history including re-issued contemporary cards. The Appendix for arcade cards contains the names of all movie actors and actresses found within the series.

Series 3: Dixie Ice Cream Cup Lids & Milkcaps (ca. 1930s; 2002.203.3.0001-.0016) This series contains a limited number of movie actors and actresses. The Advertising Cards Appendix contains the complete listing for the series.

Series 4: Ephemera (n.d.; 2002.203.6.0001-.0489) This series consists of photographic copies or newspaper clippings of western movie actors pasted on card stock. These cards were created by John Zeransky.

Series 5: Lobby Cards (1912-1935, n.d.; 2002.203.7.0001-.0072) This series of lobby cards from such notable western films as Border Brigades (1935), Custer’s Last Fight (1912), The Show Down (1921), Two-Gun Terror (1916), and Tumbleweeds (1925) are represented within the collection. A variety of other films starring western film actors William Desmond, Dustin and William Farnum, Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones, Ken Maynard, and Tom Mix. A complete list is found in the Lobby Card Appendix.

Series 6: Magazines (1915-1993) Magazines found within the collection are listed under Subject Terms.

Series 7: Photographs (n.d.; 2002.203.4.0001-.0863) This series includes publicity photographs of western movie stars and film stills form the body of the series. Movie actors and actresses, animals, and movies represented within the series are listed on the Photograph Index Term appendix.

Series 8: Postcards (n.d.; 2002.203.5.0001-.0538) This series of western film stars in a variety of styles and color with numerous “playing card” postcards, ca. 1910s-1930s. Men, Movie, Multiple portrait, Unknown, and Women are the cataloged subseries. The Postcard Index Terms appendix lists the actors, actresses, animals, and movies depicted within the series.

Series 9: Subject Files (1912-1994, n.d.) This series consists of subject files maintained by John Zeransky includes inventories, clippings, and correspondence.

Processing Information

The John Zeransky Western Film Ephemera Collection was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2002 by Dolores Burkhardt from the estate of John Zeransky.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States