Big Tobacco in the Big Apple

How New York City Became the Heart of the Tobacco Industry
…and Anti Smoking Activism

The First 200 Years


The Deep Roots of the Tobacco Industry in New York City (6:25)

One of the most revelatory exhibitions I’ve ever seen it any Museum was the New York Historical society’s two-part exhibition slavery in New York I was shocked I grew up in Long Island near Rock Hall which I Learned was owned by a slaveholder who’d had the plantation in the Caribbean I had no idea that slavery was existed in New York City until 1827 so it is with the tobacco industry in New York City and how far back it goes one could say really that the very foundation of the industry was in New York City and at the same time the very Foundation of New York City’s industry was the tobacco industry for the oldest company in continuous operation could be said to be loyal or now so soon by Reynolds American Tobacco the snuff established by lorillard in the Bronx is still existing today at the Bronx botanical garden and the snuff Mill remains in my opinion is a rather controversial entity because in I was invited to speak at the Bronx botanical gardens and about a month before the conference I hadn’t received my arrangements and instructions for the presentation and when I contacted the gardens I was told that the conference had been canceled because of a lack of interest will it turns out that lorillard the makers of Newport cigarettes in Kent cigarettes we’re still major funders through the dish family which owned Lord by that time of the Bronx botanical gardens and although I had no direct proof I was never able to get a straight answer from the gardens as to how they defined lack of Interest the history of tobacco in New York though is replete with coverage but something that I had not appreciate it and all the years that I had spent studying the issue Harper’s monthly regularly featured stories on Tobacco whether it be the rebellious youth of that are smoking or the art of aging and Manufacturing tobacco pipes and later cigars were clearly a major force in New York City by the 1870s articles would appear in the Brooklyn daily Eagle touting the importance of the tobacco trade numerous Brands competed for attention dukes and sweet Caporal all advertised in the New York Press after the Civil War part 2 to health reasons when spitting which one had to do with cigars and spitting tobacco was frowned upon and in many instances outlawed because of the spread of tuberculosis cigarettes became increasingly popular and to increase their favor among men Pinups were included a little cardboard cards in each cigarette pack and you could collect all of them and at the same time you wouldn’t crush your cigarette packs of the cardboard serve two purposes by the late 1880s early 1900s you could tell though that there were some anti-smoking activities going by the late 1880s and turn of the century an incipient anti-smoking movement was enforced to the point where even a Cigar Company could be created to promote so there’s consequences were on the mind of those who smoked cigars had become the leading form of cigar you someone man in fact you were generally going to take up smoking if your father smoked simply by the mid-to-late 1800s cigar-smoking had become the leading form of tobacco use and New York City was as Joe Parker points out the center of cigar Manufacturing in the United States V a company call the health Tobacco Company marketing Health cigars by the turn of the century sending out letters to Dr alerting them to this wonderful new product and cigar stores work ubiquitous throughout New York City in the Flatiron Building United cigars were always in sight according to the advertisement by the second decade of the twentieth century one had several undercurrents it was a strong cigar industry there was also an element of concern about the side effects of smoking such as an advertisement in the police Gazette port to a cure for tobacco heart smoking as cigarettes were sent to the boys overseas so if you didn’t smoke before you left before the war or you smoke cigars by the time you return you were smoking a popular brand of American cigarettes

Interest in the History of Tobacco in the United States (Transcript on YouTube)

– The Earliest Tobacco Companies in New York City

– Cigar Manufacturers of 19th-Century New York

– The History of the United Cigar Company

– The Longstanding Brands that Survived into the 20th Century

– The Shift from Cigars to Cigarettes in New York City

Vintage Advertisements and Illustrations from New York City’s Tobacco History

In a Tobacco Factory

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine

A Pipe of Tobacco

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine

The New York Tobacco Trade in Print

Evening Post, The Evening Post, New York Evening Post

The Cigarette Doomed

Scientific American
August 31, 1889

We desire to call your attention to our health cigars

Letter to Mr. G.R. Solomon
Health Tobacco Company
April 19,  1904

If the Facts Appeal to You Read This Booklet

Information Packet with information claiming to make “smoking safe for smokers”
The Bonded Tobacco Company

How the Red Cross, New York Newspapers, and Tin Pan Alley
Helped Popularize Smoking in World War I (0:49)

The popularity of cigarettes dramatically increased during World War I, and this was in part due to cigarettes being sent to the boys overseas. The funds for these shipments were raised in part by the Red Cross ladies auxiliary’s of medical societies and even medical association’s themselves, often the can was passed at movie theaters and some of these funds were sponsored by newspapers. The sheet music that you see are examples of the most popular form of music at that time, and The Makings of the USA: An Appeal in Song for Tobacco for the Boys Over There, is a great example of this. Other sheet music reflected the increasing romanticism of the cigarette, Two Cigarettes in the Dark and While a Cigarette was Burning, of course there’s Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and much later Sam Cooke’s Smoke Rings.

Tobacco Companies Were Exhibitors at the American Medical Association’s Annual Conventions at New York City’s Grand Central Palace Exposition Hall. (1:30)


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