Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Drinking Smoke*

Every stripling who is just shooting up into manhood,
thinks a cigar indispensable as a symbol whereby the
world may know that he has at length become a man.

~ George T. Fisher ~

Select Photograph To Enlarge

Here is another of the photographs found in Montana. My son selected it because he thought this group of young men were trying to look tough. I'm not sure that's what they intended. I think they may have thought they were sophisticated. Notice those odd shaped cigars sticking out of a few of their mouths. The mark of a gentleman? Hard to say.

Four of our young men and what looks like
three cigars and perhaps a cigarette.

I show you these young men, because while wandering the web I found The Smoker Collection. This is a collection of 112 19th Century albumen photographs, cartes de visite (CDVs) and tintypes depicting the practice of smoking in many different cultures. The collection was amassed over two decades by Richard Segan, an avid collector who, it is said, aggressively pursued these images.

The collection is for sale for $111,000.00. Yes, you read that correctly, 112 rare photographs for $111,000.00. Personally, I would have liked to have seen less foreign cultures and a few more depicting U.S. smoking history. You can view the images here.

Greg French, the owner of the Early Photography website offers some suggestions for utilizing the photographs that he believes should make their monetary value limitless. Take a look, there are many wonderful photographs to be viewed on this site.

Do you have a 19th Century photograph related to smoking? Let's put together our own Smokers Collection. Send your photographs to Shades via the footnoteMaven and we will feature them.

It does make me wonder, however, just how much those women wearing glasses might be worth.

*Drinking Smoke - A term used to signify "smoking." Also referred to as "drinking tobacco."


Young Men Smoking. ca 1908. Card Mounted Photograph. Anonymous. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2009.


Blogger rebecca said...

Oh my. That one fellow with the impressive mustaches looks like he would fit in here, at the Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century blog!

I agree with you that they thought this made them look sophisticated -- sort of in the same way that folks from a couple decades earlier posed with their crazy looking bicycles in order to appear modern.

July 29, 2009 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Yes, Rebecca, you're correct. Pictures weren't always what they appeared to be, but rather the impression the sitter wanted to give.

And I love the Mustaches site, just wish they gave more information.


July 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Anonymous John Addams said...

I don't really think a cigar makes a person look "tough". I would go for a more sophisticated look, a luxurious type of look. I smoke cigars often, Cuban cigars, I don't do it to look tough or anything, I feel its a matter of class. The better you smoke the classier you are in my opinion. If you want to up your class and puff on some Cubans check out They have a great collection of cigars for very good prices.

August 4, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

John, John, John,

The last time I broke out a Cuban cigar and puffed, I looked neither tough or sophisticated, but rather green, very green.


August 4, 2009 at 8:06 PM  
Anonymous John Hughes said...

FootnoteMaven which brand of cigar did you smoke? Are you a beginner or do you smoke once in while. For different type of smokers there is a different cigar. You can also choose it from . They have every variety of cigar,for beginners, for casual smokers and for heavy smokers. Just try it once.

August 16, 2009 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


The cigar was removed from the humidor of one of my girlfriends' father. It was a Saturday night and we turned up at church the next morning in our state of green. Our families were not amused.

She and I pinky swore we'd never do it again, and even your wonderful cigar knowledge can not tempt me.


August 21, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

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