Q: Thomas Riley Marshall was vice president of the United States from 1913 to 1921.
He said, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." What did a cigar
cost at the time? Or, what would one have had to pay for a really good cigar? I gather
you couldn't get a good one for five cents. I'm asking these questions to use in a tour I
give through the cemetery in Indianapolis where Marshall is buried. Thank you very
much for your help and input.
A: We called up one of the oldest men in the tobacco industry, Stanford Newman,
chairman of J.C. Newman Cigar Co., to answer this one.
Newman said that probably around the time Marshall proclaimed those words, most
cigars sold in the United States cost 10 cents and that was pretty much the universal
price as prices were more standardized back then. Most cigars he said were not
premium cigars either. Around 1915, 1916, cigars did not have a name and were made
locally and sold locally. The only premium smokes in the United States in those days
were made in Cuba and sold in hotels for 35 cents each.
According to Smoke Dreams (1957, Florida Grower Press) by J.C. Newman, Stanford
Newman's father and founder of the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., there were 40,000 cigar
factories in America in 1894, when he first started in business. Most of those factories
were tiny, called buckeyes, and may have consisted of but a handful of rollers operating
behind a house or in a barn.
Stanford Newman said that cigars actually did retail for around five cents in the 1930s
during the Great Depression; they were back up to 10 cents apiece again following the
Second World War where we started to see brand names like Philly's, White Owls and
What would Marshall say today? Maybe that's a good ad-lib for the tour groups.
N.B. Evidently, Pippin was one of the few brands that was still selling for 5 cents in
From: "Mary Fraser" <email@example.com>
Subject: Photo Identification
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2007 20:35:27 -0400
Good evening, Mr. Grossman.
I am one of the quizmasters at the Forensic Genealogy website
www.forensicgenealogy,info Each week the site owner, Colleen Fitzpatrick posts a
photo, and challenges us to discover the story behind the picture.
This week's contest appears to be a photo of the interior of a cigar shop. From the
postcards in the background, it appears that the shop is probably located in Boston.
I have been able to identify one of the postcards, and link it to the 1900's, probably
1909 or later,and I would like to ask if you have any information on the cigar brands
shown which might enable us to pinpoint the time frame any further.
Thank you so much for your prompt response.
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 8:45 PM
To: Mary Fraser
Subject: Re: Photo Identification
Dear Mary -
The shop owner has torn off all the lids to the cigar boxes in the case,effectively
removing identification by design on the inside of the lid,normally displayed open to
attract the attention of the smoker. A cigar brand name would remain the same over
the years but the design would often change, providing some indication of the period.
Brands like "Napoleon," "El Roi-Tan," and "Tuxedo Club" went through many
editions. Napoleon, for example, was printed by the George Schlegel Lithographers in
1896, 1906,1908, 1909, and 1917. I' m sure there were other editions, but those are
the ones I can identity. "Pipins" (the brand on the counter display piece)
lasted right into the l950s.
That's me when I was 12, buying my first and last smoke! Rick Mackinney
Hi Fearless Leader, I collect old postcards so I recognized the postcards in the
background as those that would have been printed and sold about WW1. I could tell by
the white border around the outside of the photos. I have many postcards in my
collection that date back to that time period.
Thanks again for so much fun! I really enjoy the quizzes that have all kinds of clues,
some more or less hidden and some fairly obvious clues. It is sort of like putting a 1000
piece puzzle together! Can't leave it alone until it is solved or put together. Grace Hertz
And all this week, I’ve been convinced that I got the date wrong  by being too
early – that those were liquor bottles on the shelves to the right and so it had to be after
Prohibition ended in 1933! I did find reference to five cent cigars during the
Depression, but couldn’t find Pippin anywhere, so my hat’s off to Delores. Good one,
Colleen! Kristi Murdock
I still think that it is a grocery. Like I said, my Mom had a cigars in a case like this in
her luncheonette in Philly in the 1950s. Of course she had gum in there too. And those
do look like food cans in the background. Bottles of something liquid are on the
shelves... Now, if you could find tax records that tell what kind of store it is...
This type of store use to be called a "drug store" and from the clothing they are
wearing, and some of the ads,I would think it was taken around 1915 - 1917. I
remember my mother telling me that when she was around fifteen years old, she use to
work at a place in New Orleans, rolling cigars. Betty Ware
My hubby would just croak to see a 5 cent cigar! I paid over $5 for his last one and it
was not a fancy one! Kitty Huddleston
This was rather difficult to research, I thought. Lots of cigarette and cigar memorabilia
for sale online, but nothing to really date this photo. I hope someone tells us what that
little machine is right behind the customer. I'm thinking it MIGHT be a cutter for the
ends of the cigars? And, what is that under the clerk's right hand? Jinny Collins
N.B. Thanks for asking that question, Jinny! See the section Etc. above for an answer.
of the earliest photographers to use the photograph as a documentary tool. Around
1920, however, Hine changed his studio publicity from "Social Photography by Lewis
W. Hine" to "Lewis Wickes Hine, Interpretive Photography," to emphasize a more
artistic approach to his imagemaking. Having joined the American Red Cross briefly in
1918, he continued to freelance for them through the 1930s. In 1936 Hine was
appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects
Administration, but his work for them was never completed. His last years were
marked by professional struggles due to diminishing government and corporate
patronage, and he died in 1940 at age sixty-six. See more photos by Lewis Wickes Hine
|If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
|If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at CFitzp@aol.com. If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the Forensic Genealogy book.
|Answer to Quiz #120
July 29, 2007
|Where was this picture taken?
What kind of store is this?
Bonus Question: About what year was it taken?
2. A cigar store or smoke shop (but see note below)
Bonus Question: January 24, 1917
May Fraser and Fred Stuart, Quizmasters Extraordinaire, found our quiz photo on the
LIbrary of Congress website at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/nclcquery.html and
http://tinyurl.com/36vmhn. The caption reads: Mary Creed, in Jan. 1917, at Mrs
Breslin's store on 817 Harrison St. in Boston. Quizmaster Mary found a second photo
similar to ours on the LOC website. The caption to this second picture says it was
taken on the same day as our quiz photo, January 24, 1917, and by the same
photographer, Lewis Hine. Mary Creed is wearing the same dress in both photos, but
it's hard to tell if this was taken in the same store. In the 1920 census, Mary Creed (17
yrs) is found living in Boston and listed as working as a sales clerk in a bakery. This
might of might not be the same store shown in the pictures.
|Check out the postcards hanging above the salesgirl.
The card at the right center at the bottom says "Boston". Many of the images can be
identified as Boston landmarks.
|Comments from Our Readers
1. Postcard Style
around the view thus we call them "White Border" cards. High cost of labor,
inexperience and public taste caused production of poor quality cards. High competition
in a narrowing market caused many publishers to go out of business.
2. Price of Cigars
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
|Grace Hertz Sue Edminster
Jinny Collins Kristi Murdock
Anna Farris Judy Pfaff
Kelly Fetherlin Dawn Carlile
Mary Fraser Suzan Farris
Betty Ann Tyson Nancy Lear
Dorothy Oksner Delores Martin
Phyllis Barattia Fred Stuart
Betty Ware Kitty Huddleston
Sinika Garey Jim Kiser
Stan Read Rick Mackinney
Dave Doucette Bob McKenna
Sharon Martin Dale Niesen
Alan Cullinan Beth Tafel
Mike Dalton Evan Hindman
|Pippin Tobacco Tin
under the Arm of
Boy in Ad on
|Cigar Club of America
Ths weeks quiz photo is the work of American photographer
Lewis Wickes Hine.
Lewis Hine was trained to be an educator in Chicago and New
York. A project photographing on Ellis Island with students
from the Ethical Culture School in New York galvanized his
recognition of the value of documentary photography in
education. Soon after, he became a sociological photographer,
establishing a studio in upstate New York in 1912.
For nearly ten years Hine was the photographer for the National
Child Labor Committee, contributing to exhibitions and the
organization's publication, The Survey. Declaring that he
"wanted to show things that had to be corrected," he was one
|Pippin Cigar Sign for Sale on eBay
Auction Closing July 15, 2007
Manufactured by H. Traiser & Co,
Boston. Copyright dated 1895.
|Mary Creed, Salesgirl & Ella Breslin, Shop Owner
In the 1910 census, Mary G. Creed (7
yrs) was listed living at 36 E. Springfield
St. with her father and mother, John J.
and Agnes C. Creed, both from Ireland,
and her younger sister Agnes E. (6 yrs).
Both girls were born in MA.
By the 1920 census, Mary was working
as a sales clerk in a bakery. She was
living at the same address on E.
Springfield St. with her mother Agnes C.
Patterson, her step-father Timothy
Patterson from MA, and her sister Agnes.
Agnes was listed as being in school.
According to the Library of Congress
website and the census records, Mrs.
Breslin's store was located at 817
Harrison Ave., Boston, 0.13 miles away,
straight down E. Springfield St..
Joseph and Ella Breslin 52 East
Springfield Street, Boston in the 1910
Census, she was a milliner; he was listed
as a merchant/store manager. 1920
Census, he works in a clothing store, and
she has 'none' listed for occupation. The
store must have gone under.
1924 Boston city Directory 817 Harrison
Ave, appears to be on the corner, with
East Springfield as the Cross Street. They
might have had doors opening onto either
street-some listings have it as Harrison
Ave, and others as East Springfield.
When did the Pippin cigar sell for only 5 cents?
Quizmaster Delores Martin
Without the lid image, I cannot identify the date of
the picture by cigar brand name alone because they
lasted over the years.
There is a second confirmation that the shop is in
Boston - at the back of the case in front of the
man, the brand "Boston Smokers," a local brand,
can be seen.
My general impression of the period of the photo is around 1915, give or take a few
Good luck on your sleuthing.
The John Grossman Collection of Antique Images
|1903 Birth Record
of Mary Creed
|Same Pippin Tobacco
Tins appear in the Far
Left of Photograph
Wanna see a really interesting website? Visit
Tony Hyman’s National Cigar Museum at
info/Site/NCM_HOME.html. This website
contains everything you ever wanted to know
about cigars and more!
As Tony says on his homepage: The domestic
cigar industry is almost 250 years old, and is
much larger than previously recorded,
involving a quarter million cigar factories, hundreds of label printers, a thousand box
factories, hundreds of thousands of salesmen and millions of wholesalers and
retailers... Cigars had more to do with the development of modern advertising and
packaging than any other industry, creating more than 2,000,000 brands of cigar in the
Hyman’s National Cigar Museum is designed to tell the stories behind all those folks
and all those brands, the processes and procedures, the battles and strategies, the
schemes, the triumphs and failures. The story is huge.
The site includes the following topics:
Types of Cigar Boxes (There are 23 that are common.) Wood, Tin, Other, Novelty
Dating Cigar Boxes
Made from Boxes and much more!
My favorite section is a special exhibit on Worst Brand Names. Check out some of the
|Rat Tail Cigars
L. & E. Kaufman, Fact. 4, 3rd
NYC, c 1886
A Negro baby riding on a rat tail
Oscar Jaehrig, Fact. 274, 1st
(San Diego) Calif.
C.N. Hurd Fact. 35,
Somersworth, NH, c1920.
|1920 Census - Creed family in Boston
|A radio made from
a cigar box
|To see the "Made
from Boxes" exhibit
at the National Cigar
Museum, click here.
|A toy truck with
from a cigar box
|A doll cradle made
from a cigar box
|To read the Stogie
Fresh article on Tony
Hyman and the
Museum, click here.
|1910 Census - Joseph & Ella Breslin,
52 East Springfield St., Boston, MA
Creed took to
work from 36 E.
Ave. to 817
|1910 Census - Creed family in Boston
Record of John
Creed and Agnes