“Let us cultivate our garden”*…
In the late 1880s, cigarette manufacturers began inserting stiffening cards into their paper packs of cigarettes to strengthen the containers. It wasn’t long before they got the idea to put artwork, trivia, famous people, and pretty girls onto those cards, grouped into collectible series. The cards, which continued into the 1940s, are highly valuable now, with the most expensive (bearing the face of stringent anti-smoking baseball player Honus Wagner) selling for $2.8 million in 2007.
In the 1910s, Gallaher Ltd of Belfast & London and Ogden’s Branch of the Imperial Tobacco Co printed “How-To” series, with clever hints for both everyday and emergency situations. From steaming out a splinter to stopping a mad dog, these cigarette cards told you the smart way to handle many of life’s problems.
More enlightenment at “10 Lifehacks from 100 Years Ago.”
* Voltaire, Candide
As we improve ourselves, we might compose birthday bon mot for Dorothy Parker, the writer, critic, satirist, poet, and Algonquin Round Table regular; she was born on this date in 1893. The estimable Ms. Parker once wondered, on hearing that President Calvin Coolidge had died, “How could they tell?”… Of a book she reviewed, she suggested, “this is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown aside with great force”… And perhaps most famously, she opined that “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” (More of her acerbic wit here.)