Tobacco Premium Quilt

November, 2013

Tobacco Premium Quilt

Maker unknown

Circa 1915-1925
Possibly made in North Carolina
Ardis and Robert James Collection, 1997.007.0902

The American Tobacco Company’s James B. Duke is credited with introducing collectible cards as premiums to promote sales of cigarettes, a gimmick adopted by competing firms as well. Beginning in the 1890s, printed fabric premiums began to replace the cards, which by this time were waning in popularity. Tobacco product manufacturers began to include cloth premiums with subject matter designed to appeal to women, who promptly incorporated them into quilts.

This quilt is featured in the exhibition, Posing with Patchwork: Quilts in Photographs, 1855-1955, which was guest curated by Janet Finley.