Once upon a time neither cigarettes nor newspaper editors were bad for your health.
Three Chicago journalists made the cut in the set of 50 Cigarette Cards of American Editors produced by the Virginia based company of Allen & Ginter in 1887. The little cardboard cards were 1 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches, and became a popular marketing tool to encourage tobacco sales. Collect them all; trade with your friends! The American Editors series was the second set produced by Allen & Ginter; the first, as you might expect, were of the baseball heroes of the day (including Charlie Comiskey of the St. Louis Brown Stockings). Interestingly, there was one female editor featured in the set: Eliza J. Nicholson of the New Orleans Picayune who, in 1893, The New York Times called "the only woman in the world who owns, edits, manages, and publishes a great daily newspaper."
Other tobacconists joined the pack of card producers, and in 1893 The Columbian Exposition was featured in a set of cigarette inserts titled, "The Great White City," produced by the London firm of Salmon Gluckstein, Ltd. The Columbian Exposition seemed to find its way onto just about everything, but the images selected for the British cards are curious. No Ferris wheel; no Statue of the Republic.
Curious about what other topics were featured on the cards? Check out the list on the NYPL Digital Gallery website.
Editors Were Trading Card Stars
More About Tobacco Advertising and the Tobacco Collections
Cigarette Cards: ABCs
Photo credit: All images from the NYPL Digital Gallery