Home / _2006-2015 Albums to Sort Out (Multiply +) / 2011 Feb 17 - Would you like a Coffin Nail?_profdash [5]

Would you like a Coffin Nail?
by David for group historicalziegfeld Feb 17, 2011

Cigarette cards featuring eye-catching young women became a fixture of the tobacco trade in the 1880s in the United States. The images, formatted small to suit that size of a cigarette pack, became the forte of photographic rip-off artists who would hijack copyrighted images or shoot images of debutantes displayed in society photographers' display cases. Many women conceived a horror at having her picture gazed out by "the vulgarity" who devoured cigarettes. The trade grew so lucrative that certain photographers consented to arrange release of certain of their images for cash, provided no credit appeared. Association with the cigarette crowd was déclassé in the Gilded Age. The chocolate toning of the images below resemble that found in certain theatrical stills by Joseph Byron. But no name credit. No ID of the woman doing the hard sell. And the additional curiosity of being found in the copyright deposit collection of the Library of Congress. Was Byron registering the photos as a strategy for suing someone who might use it thinking it not protected? Then why no identification on the back of the prints? Was Byron thinking of getting into the coffin nail business in scale? Becoming a broker? If so, the venture did not amount to much during the next decade. A mystery. Anyone wish to venture an ID. Profdash

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  • historicalzg - 1Reply
    ziegfeldgrrl wrote on Apr 1, '11
    Another fascinating mystery! Thanks so much for such an informative and curious album.

    Hopefully someone *will* venture.....

    studiolymar wrote on Feb 18, '11
    Interesting story
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