Collection includes audiovisual materials in multiple formats (audio and video cassettes, optical discs), clippings of articles and advertisements, pamphlets and other printed material, artifacts and ephemera (including apparel, cups, luggage, playing cards, promotional gifts and samples of tobacco packaging and candy cigarettes), photographs and slides, research reports, corporate documents, depositions and transcripts of court case testimony and other litigation-related materials. Topics include tobacco advertising and deceptive advertising practices; package labeling and health claims; cigarette marketing; manipulation of tar and nicotine levels; "light" and menthol cigarettes; lung cancer and other smoking-related health issues; smoking cessation and anti-smoking initiatives in the United States, Canada and internationally; tobacco industry manufacturing and marketing practices; smoking initiation and teenage and young adult smoking; and marketing of tobacco products to women and minorities. Companies represented include American Tobacco, British American Tobacco, Brown & Williamson, Imperial Tobacco, Liggett & Myers, Lorillard, Philip Morris (later Altria), R.J. Reynolds/RJR Nabisco and the Tobacco Institute. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.
The Tobacco Collection spans the years 1828-1987, with the bulk of the items dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and contains material assembled by the library staff related to the manufacturing, sale, and use of tobacco in the United States, particularly in the South. There are also items concerning its cultivation and processing. Printed advertising predominates, but the contents also include artifacts and cloth items. Typical items include cigarette and cigar advertising trade cards of W. Duke, Sons & Co., Lorillard, Liggett and Myers, John Player and Sons, and various other American and British companies; tobacco advertisements by Krueger and Brown of N.Y.; and souvenir tobacco albums published by Allen & Ginter. There are also many posters, large and small, and printed materials, chiefly pamphlets and leaflets, some addressing tobacco farmers. The contents are primarily domestic, chiefly pertaining to business concerns in North Carolina and Virginia, but items from other countries are also included, and there are some items in the Spanish language.
The collection contains many advertising posters from the early years of American commercial color printing. Also present are cloth items: small silks, blankets, and rugs that were in use in the period around 1912 as both inserts and premiums. The various series of these cloth materials are listed in Jefferson R. Burdick's The American Card Catalog. Trade cards are present, chiefly in the W. Duke Sons & Co. Papers, as insert cards that were issued not only by the Dukes but also by their competitors. Card depict animals, flags, battle scenes, photographic views, and various persons, including a series on "African Types" from the 1930s. Other forms of advertising in the collection include broadsides, pamphlets, books, leaflets, letters, envelopes, cigar boxes and labels, cans, a plate, wrappers, labels, and catalogs. Pamphlets include an almanac, a smoking guide, a company history, and many other publicities related to tobacco cultivation and manufacturing. One 20th century item found in the collection is a plastic box for Camel cigarettes dated circa 1945-1949, typical of those distributed at Duke football games.