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Selling the Golden Leaf: Exoticism in Tobacco Advertising

October 12, 2017–April 1, 2018
The Wolfsonian–FIU @ 1001 Washington Avenue

Selling the Golden Leaf revealed 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 Library collection, included 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.