Labeling America: Cigar Box Designs by John Grossman

The art that goes into a cigar box or label can often make a person reach for a cigar. Over the years the art of the cigar has slowly been lost as many manufactures offer their cigars in plain wooden boxes. At the trade show some of the art of the past was on display at the La Palina booth and the current band pays homage to the beauty of the past. Most of the art that adorned brands of the past as been forgotten or never seen by today’s smoker, until now.

I recently was sent a copy  from Fox Chapel Publishing of the book, “Labeling America: Cigar Box Designs as Reflections of Popular Culture: The Story of George Schlegel Lithographers, 1879-1965”  that shows some of the art that was part of the cigar culture in the United States. The book offers a look at 90 years of cigar box labels and bands, over four generations from George Schlegel Lithographers.

The art, some of which is on display at the Winterhur Museum in Delaware was cataloged by author, John Grossman and offers a glimpse into the turn of the century when over 5 billion cigars were be sold in the United States. Mr. Grossman is currently one of the leading collectors of, and dealers in ephemera. Ephemera is defined as “transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day”.

The book which retails for $39.95 can be found on Amazon for $29.16 and it truly belongs in every tobacco lounge or man cave.