Allen & Ginter’s Cigarette Card Album of Quadrupeds

C1: 042
ca. 1880s
1 volume, 10 pages

C1:042 Allen & Ginter’s Cigarette Card Album of Quadrupeds (LVA 11_0696_011)

The collectible cigarette card, as a cultural phenomenon, originated in Richmond in 1875, created as a marketing tool by the Richmond-based tobacco manufacturer Allen & Ginter. Cigarette cards were among the first items of ephemera produced specifically for collecting and trading, to be used as proof of purchase for promotional giveaways and, in the long term, to cultivate brand loyalty. Premium albums of this type are much rarer than the individual tobacco cards and were available from the tobacco company issuing the cards in exchange for a complete set of the individual cards or in exchange for coupons issued with the cigarettes. While the tobacco cards were free in packs of cigarettes or tobacco, these albums had to be purchased (or stamps had to be sent in for postage charges).  By late in the nineteenth century, the production of cigarette cards had become an industry in itself, practically independent of its tobacco-based origins.

C1:042 Allen & Ginter’s Cigarette Card Album of Quadrupeds (LVA 11_0696_011)

The album, featuring lithography by Lindner, Eddy & Clauss and published by Allen & Ginter, seems to have educational aspirations, though it has a sometimes whimsical sense of geography, suggesting that kangaroos can be found in India, and it mischaracterizes primates as quadrupeds. The album is also, to a modern sensibility, startlingly violent. The cover illustration, for starters, shows a desert with Bedouins on camel and horseback violently stealing lion cubs and slaughtering their parents with pistol and spear. Inside the album, as often as not, animals are shown in relation to the people who will kill them The fox is paired with a red-coated hunter, the deer with a rifle-toting Indian. Moose and bear of the northeastern United States share equal space with the more exotic offerings of Africa and Asia. The only domestic animal featured in the album is a hunting dog in repose on the back cover.

Arrangement and access:
1 album, 10 one-sided cardstock pages with original string binding 


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