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In the late 19th century, colorful cigarette cards were an ideal way to advertise the use of tobacco, an increasingly popular and widespread diversion in the U.S. The earliest cards using single images dated from 1877. Over time as popularity escalated, series of images were produced to promote the sale of cards to collectors and traders. Cartophily, or the hobby of collecting cards, was born.

The early success of cigarette cards led many companies to adopt this new advertising method. Subjects ranged from U.S. Presidents to cowboys to baseball. With the use of color lithography and mechanized printing, mass production of the cards was possible.

The digital images in this collection represent cigarette cards dating from 1888. One series, "Terrors of America," depicts young boys in various pursuits. Another series, "Shadows," depicts a variety of people with caricatures in their shadows.

The cards were issued as advertisement for Duke Brothers and Company, Durham, N.C., and packed in Duke's cigarettes.

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