Selling the Golden Leaf: Exoticism in Tobacco Advertising

Exhibition Overview

C W Obel, Cigar-Marker

Selling the Golden Leaf reveals how early twentieth-century tobacco companies pitched their products through association with tropical landscapes, colonial adventures, and non-Western peoples. The installation, drawn from The Wolfsonian–FIU Library’s collection, includes advertisements, labels, and books that relied on colorful, eye-catching images made possible by the advent of new printing technologies at the end of the nineteenth century. These materials often associate the product with the places where the plant was grown—by alluding to exotic environments with palm trees, volcanoes, and indigenous people, or by showing Europeans learning about tobacco from American Indians.

(Photo: C W Obel, Cigar-Marker)

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