Hello everyone and happy holidays! I'm finally posting a bit of the work I've been working on over the past while to show I'm actually slightly productive. In my research of tobacco ads I chose to start with the past, and slowly end up in the present times. I'm also going to be putting all of my gathered information into categories to make it easier to compare and contrast; although at the moment I've chosen to focus on strictly gathering info. 

I started my research by looking at cigarette cartons from the Duke University Libraries Digital Repository

3 main companies the Repository had

Duke’s Cigarettes: “Everyday Man” sounding name, most of their stuff has stories inside.

“A Short History Series” (below) booklets about the battle of Gettysburg, during the civil war. An American company celebrating their accomplishments.


(below) “50 Scenes of Perilous Occupations” They had small written paragraphs on their backs.The company also had many other small series similar to this, like “50 Vehicles of The World” and “Poor Boys” (another series based on the everyday man) (shown below)

Now, it’s time for what you probably expected:

 (above: actresses and models)

While I expected many of the boxes to have actresses and models on them as a marketing strategy, I found that this was much more surplus than I believed it would be. While many of the woman were wearing simple clothes and selling a sort of delicate, homey feeling, there was definitely quite a few... riskier photographs. Please take note: the collection of images I used for this article are mainly from the 1850s - 1920s, the time a woman would be known as indecent if her skirt didn't reach well past her knees.


John W. Hartman, Duke University Library: Digital Repository


Photos (6)
Original Post

Hi Katelyn!

First off, I must commend you on how well organized and clear your research is - as well as your visual aids! Your research is definitely very concise which is always appreciated.  Regarding the contents of your post itself, I found it very surprising that the photos of the women featured were so scandalous (considering the context of the time frame like you said). I wonder if there was a stigma around smoking around that time because of the photos? Did people who are more "traditional" frown upon these boxes?

Here are some sources that may be of use to you for upcoming research:



I look forward to reading your next post!


Hey Katelyn,

I really enjoyed your research this week! I was surprised to hear that there used to be stories on the cigarettes boxes--I never knew that! Did these stories impact peoples' perception of cigarettes maybe? Making them seem more acceptable for younger audiences? Did the ones with women on the inside make them more unacceptable/taboo? 

Additionally, you could also look at how society is reflected in the advertisements of the time. For example, some of the more sexist advertisements from the earlier twentieth century and showing how these ones display smoking as a "cool" thing. How do the advertisements reflect reflect the popularity of smoking?

Maybe you could use some of the advertisements here.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing what you find!

Hey Katelyn 

Looking at your research, I quickly noticed how organized it is and how you aligned your photos very neatly, regarding the context. It was much easier to read and looked more professional! Seeing the photos of women with not much clothing also surprised me, considering the time they were taken and the intensive judgement's against. Perhaps for your next round of research, you could discuss society''s reactions to these advertisements back in the day.

Here's a source that might help you: 


Good luck!


What would be useful is to see how common each of the ad types you identified is - with respect to the whole collection.  For example, if there are 8 pictures of women in undergarments out of a total of 200 ads, that tells you something.  If there are 180/200, a completely different conclusion could be reached.  You should also keep track of the number of ads that don't fall into any of the categories you've got.  If that number gets high, then you've missed a category.

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