We have included several different kinds of items under the
general title of "smokes" including cigar labels,
advertising collectibles, and cigarette cards.
The cigar industry was a fiercely competitive environment
during the late 19th and early 20th century and thus the
visual impact of a box label or cigar bands could make or
break a company. There were, moreover, hundreds of small
cigar manufacturers working with fewer than a dozen
lithographers who specialized in producing the labels. The
"golden age" of cigar labels lasted from about 1890 to1930. During this period labels were produced through the
technique of stone lithography and were marked by gilding
and embossing. The heyday of this advertising format began
to wane in the 1920s as cigarettes began to outsell cigars
and label makers shifted to a four-color photomechanical
There are two Dolley Madison cigar labels - at least that
we have found so far. The older one uses the portrait of
her done by J.F.E. (John Frances Eugene) Prud'homme
(1800-1892), which we have also used extensively in our
website. This is a stone lithograph done during the
"golden age." The newer one portrays her as a lovely,
alluring, and sexy Spanish-style woman with no reference to
the "real", or historical, Dolley Madison.
Cigar labels fall into a wide variety of genres ranging
from Cowboys and Indians to Children to Transportation to
Sports and Gambling and so on. Among these types were
Famous Women and Patriotism. The Dolly Madison Cigar box
labels fall into both of these categories.
By the turn of the century companies were producing their
own advertising gimmicks, ranging from clocks to emery
boards to letter openers to cigarette lighters. These
items could be hung up as signs, placed on tables, given
away to good customers, and used in a host of other ways.
One such company was Dolly Madison Dairy. The interested
viewer will find other examples of these advertisements in
our popular culture archive.
We currently have no information on Dolly Madison Cigarette
cards, or cigarette cards more generally, other than the
observation they, too, were promotional products. We would
appreciate hearing from anyone who knows something about
this advertising venue.
Davidson, Joe. The Art of the Cigar Label. 1989.