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Virgil Johnson Collection of Cigarette Packages

Creator:
Brown and Williamson.  Search this
Johnson, Virgil  Search this
American Tobacco Company.  Search this
Benson and Hedges.  Search this
Philip Morris, Inc.  Search this
Lorillard.  Search this
Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company.  Search this
Reynolds, R. J.  Search this
Extent:
25 Cubic feet (26 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Albums
Date:
circa 1890-1997
Summary:
As a teenager, Virgil Johnson [b.1918] became interested in the designs and symbols on cigarette packs like "Black Cat" and "White Roll", and he began actively collecting in the 1930s. His interest intensified during the 1940s when he was stationed in North Africa and across the Mediterranean region as a photographer with the U.S. Navy. Mr. Johnson collected cigarette packs for over fifty years, and was a member of the Cigarette Pack Collector's Association.

Approximately 6000 cigarette packages, foreign and American, arranged in 24 albums. Manufacturers include names such as those shown below.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of approximately 6,000 cigarette packages, ca. 1890-1997, arranged in 24 albums. The cigarette packages offer a strong base for research into the categories of visual imagery created, associated with, and manipulated for the sale of tobacco products. Researchers interested in the history of design will also find these packages a useful source, as they reflect design modifications (in image, logo, typeface, and package features) over time for virtually every brand marketed in the U.S. and an enormous selection of those marketed overseas, by both U.S. and other global tobacco concerns.

Series 3: BOOKS ABOUT TOBACCO AND TOBACCO COLLECTING These titles have been transferred to NMAH Library.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 3 series.

Series 1: Cigarette Packages

Series 2: Articles and Other Publications About Tobacco

Series 3: Books About Tobacco and Tobacco Collecting
Biographical / Historical:
As a teenager, Virgil Johnson [b.1918] became interested in the designs and symbols on cigarette packs like Black Cat and White Roll, and he began actively collecting in the 1930s. His interest intensified during the 1940s when he was stationed in North Africa and across the Mediterranean region as a photographer with the U.S. Navy. Mr. Johnson collected cigarette packs for over fifty years, and was a member of the Cigarette Pack Collector=s Association.
Related Materials:
The Archives Center is nationally recognized as a site in which to pursue research into the history of tobacco advertising. The Warshaw Collection (AC 60) include many thousands of tobacco advertisements and cigar box labels from the 19th and 20th centuries; the Ayer Collection (AC 59) includes advertising proofsheets for American Tobacco, Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and other cigarette and cigar manufacturers since the 1870s. The Marlboro Collection (AC 198) includes print ads, company publications, and oral history interviews with tobacco industry and advertising agency personnel. The Walter Landor/Landor Associates Industrial Design Collection (AC 500) includes documentation on package design for numerous tobacco companies since the 1950s, and the newly acquired Sandra and Gary Baden Collection of Celebrity Endorsements in Advertising (AC 611) contains several hundred ads featuring movie stars, singers, politicians, and athletes promoting tobacco products since the 1890s.

4,000 cigarettes, also donated by Mr. Johnson, each contained in a screw top glass vial, were donated to the Center for Disease Control's Office of Smoking and Health in Atlanta, Georgia.
Separated Materials:
Thirty (30) empty wood, metal, and plastic cigarette packs are also part of the Virgil Johnson Collection. They are housed with the Consumer Culture Collections in the Cultural History Division, which also holds several dozen cigarette packs from the Walter Landor/Landor Associates Industrial Design Collection (AC 500).
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History in July 1998, by Mr. Virgil Johnson, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.
The collection was donated to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History in July 1998, by Mr. Virgil Johnson, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Packaging -- 1850-1900  Search this
Packaging -- 20th century  Search this
Tobacco -- 1850-2000  Search this
Tobacco -- 20th century  Search this
Cigarettes -- 1850-2000  Search this
Cigarettes -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Albums
Citation:
Virgil Johnson Collection of Cigarette Packages, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0645
See more items in:
Virgil Johnson Collection of Cigarette Packages
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0645
Additional Online Media:

[Saxophonist Dexter Gordon with cigarette smoke : photoprint, black-and-white.]

Photographer:
Leonard, Herman, 1923-2010  Search this
Names:
Gordon, Dexter, 1923-1990  Search this
Collection Creator:
Leonard, Herman, 1923-2010  Search this
Collection Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Silver gelatin on paper.)
Culture:
African Americans  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Later prints
Date:
1948
Scope and Contents:
Title under image at left, signed at lower right? Print probably made ca. 2000. Dated from an Internet resource.
Local Numbers:
00044508.tif (AC Scan)
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
The Archives Center does not own the rights to the Leonard photographs. All requests for permission to use these photographs for non‑museum purposes must be addressed directly to Herman Leonard at (504) 286‑2444.
Topic:
Saxophone  Search this
Smoking -- 1940-1990  Search this
Smoke  Search this
African American musicians  Search this
Cigarettes -- 1850-2000  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Musicians -- 1950-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1940-1950 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin
Later prints
Collection Citation:
Herman Leonard Photographic Collection, 1948-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Herman Leonard Photographic Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0445-ref632

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