Ephemera: Sustaining Our Healing Spirit

  • December 27, 2021

Today we're featuring the second in a series of guest blog posts from collector Michael Ragsdale, who has been amassing New York City event-specific ephemera and autographs since 1997. Ragsdale took up collecting as a hobby while working as a cameraman for C-SPAN, Columbia University, the Manhattan Institute, and the New York-Presbyterian Hospitals of Columbia and Cornell. Following September 11, he shifted his focus to items pertaining to the attacks and their aftermath. Below, he shares the story of an autographed flyer promoting a talk given by Carl Hammerschlag, MD, about healing from collective trauma. 

A flyer for a special event, featuring black type on white paper with a blue signature at the bottom
Courtesy Michael Ragsdale

I spent the morning of October 11, 2001 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell videotaping guest speaker Dr. Carl Hammerschlag, an internationally recognized author, physician, speaker, healer, and psychiatrist from Arizona. He was there to give a talk with slides to a conference room full of hospital nurses. 

What I recall most about it were his opening remarks, in which he thanked "everyone who on the morning of September 11 was ready and prepared to accept the injured from the World Trade Center.” He drew some tears. 

During his remarks he said, “September 11th reminded us of our vulnerability; we will not be the same for a while. We will wonder about low-flying airplanes and many of us may be tainted by fear.”

He also sang “Amazing Grace” in English and Choctaw, which he learned while working for 20 years with the Native American tribe.

He is a healer who “helps people transform their lives by showing them how to rise above their limitations, remove their roadblocks, rekindle their dreams and become the principal agents in their own professional and personal lives.”

Among his books are "The Dancing Healers," "The Theft of the Spirit," and "Healing Ceremonies." 

Afterward, I grabbed an official event flyer and got his autograph. 

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A single page holiday dinner menu, cream background with sage green snowflakes and black print

Windows on the World menus from Christmases past offer perspective this holiday season, the same way the legendary restaurant did with its views. 

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Ephemera: "Faces of Ground Zero"

A bi-fold brochure shows a fireman holding his helmet on the left, and black ink on white paper on the left.

The third guest post by collector Michael Ragsdale, who focuses on New York City event-specific ephemera from the period following September 11, features the brochure from the 2002 Rockefeller Center exhibit "Faces of Ground Zero." 

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