Guide to the Research Collections
|SECTION -- IV -- THE PURE AND APPLIED SCIENCES|
|60 -- ARENTS TOBACCO COLLECTION|
The following general descriptions are intended to serve as a sampling of the materials found in the Arents Tobacco Collection.
Isolated issues of periodicals are retained when they contain articles relating to tobacco. The collection also holds rare serials such as Pipe Lover's Magazine, Bulletin de l'Association française contre l'Abus du Tabac, and Cope's Smoke Room Booklets and Other Publications.
Almost every American and English author of note is represented by first editions from the first work in the English language devoted entirely to tobacco, Anthony Chute's Tabaco (1595), through Aldous Huxley's Time Must Have a Stop (1944), and later publications. The list includes such rarities as Thomas Nash's Pierce Penilesse (1592), Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Laurence Stern's A Sentimental Journey (1768), Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Celestial Railway" (1846), Herman Melville's Mardi (1849), and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). The range of works which refer to tobacco is large enough to include both A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604) issued anonymously by James I, and a popular celebration of tobacco in Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," published in The New-York Book of Poetry (1837).
The Arents Tobacco Collection contains a wealth of British plays. Although the works of Shakespeare, curiously enough, make no reference to tobacco, the other great Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights are well represented. There are the two "humour" plays of Ben Jonson, Every Man out of His Humour (1600) and Every Man in His Humour (1616). There is a first folio edition of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher,
American from the age of European discovery is particularly well represented by such items as Peter Martyr's De orbo novo decades (1516), the works of Thevet, Benzoni, and Acosta, and a fine set of De Bry, along with Dutch, Spanish, French, and English editions of Esquemeling's work on American buccaneers, De Americaensche Zeerovers (1678).
The collection of early herbals is good; the holdings are described in the section on botany in chapter 58 of this Guide. Medical books are a specialty; of particular interest are those advocating tobacco as a cure for all diseases and distresses, such as Nicolás Monardes's Segunda parte del libro de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales (1571) and Gilles Everaerts's De herba panacea (1587).4 There are rich holdings of medical books from the seventeenth century, including Edmund Gardiner's The Triall of Tobacco (1610), Stephen Bradwell's A Watchman for the Pest (1625), and Lorenz Strauss' Palaestra medica (1686), along with popular medical books such as James Primrose's De vulgi erroribus in medicina (1639) and The Kitchin-Physician, by "T.K." (1680).
Early dictionaries and grammars which mention tobacco are also present as, for example, John Florio's A Worlde of Words (1598), Jean Nicot's Thresor de la langue francoyse (1606), Ludovico Bertonio's Vocubulario dela lengua Aymara (1612), and a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755).
Government publications are not currently collected by the Arents Tobacco Collection; such publications on tobacco may be found in the Economic and Public Affairs Division, which receives publications of the United States Government and those of the Canadian National Government. There are, however, a good many government documents of an historical nature in the Arents Tobacco Collection, such as those relating to the tobacco monopoly in France and for similar government monopolies in other countries of Europe and the Americas.
There are many important manuscripts in the Arents Tobacco Collection. Of note are literary manuscripts such as "The Poor Labouring Bee" (ca. 1599) by Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, a manuscript of "Court Eclogs" (1716) by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in the hand of Alexander Pope, Charles Lamb's "Farewell to Tobacco" (ca. 1805), Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest,5 and "Father Abraham," a first draft of part of William Faulkner's The Hamlet (1940). Other manuscripts include documents of Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, Catherine de Medici, and Louis XIV, among others.
A large group of manuscripts bears on the United States, Included are a letter, a receipt, and a document signed by George Washington; letters of Thomas Jefferson and Charles Carroll of Carrollton; and other manuscripts of figures famous in American history. In addition are Revolutionary tobacco payments and Confederate documents for rations. Of prime importance in this American group are the manuscripts of Robert Morris, including official copies of contracts, accounts, court evidence statements, and other items relating to suits involving Morris and various other parties as a result of his tobacco trade activities. There are 54 autograph letters of Morris, among them a tobacco contract negotiated by him between the United States and the Fermes Générales of France.
Further documents include commercial papers related to the tobacco trade in Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Georgia in the eighteenth century, and two receipt books of the New York City tobacconist James Bryer dated 1795 and 1807. A large group of manuscript documents comes from Frederick County, Maryland; ranging in date from the mid-eighteenth century, this group consists of bills of indictment, slave bills, tavern licenses, bills of sale, and the like.
Japanese manuscripts date from the early eighteenth century onward. A delicately illustrated rice paper manuscript (ca. 1773) called "Haensô No Ben" (A Farewell to Tobacco) contains poems on a universally expressed and often unrealized wish to abandon the "precious bane."
Popular tunes range from "The Tobacco Box" of 1795 to modern titles such as "The Maple Leaf Rag," "My Little Murad," "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag," "Cigarette," and "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi." Of exceptional interest is a rich recent acquisition of sheet music produced in Victorian England. Other musical rarities are noted in chapter 31 of this Guide, "Music Division and General Music Resources."
Pictorial representations of tobacco, tobacco pipes, and tobacco smoking include original drawings, watercolors, engravings, mezzotints, and aquatints. There are prints by Hogarth, Gillray, and Cruikshank, and by North American lithographers such as Currier and Ives. Drawings of Rowlandson, Lewis Baumer, Kate Greenaway, and Rackham are present. Twenty-seven sheets of pencil drawings by George Catlin depict pipes and stems found among the various Indian tribes of North America.
The cultivation and use of tobacco in the Western Hemisphere are documented by watercolor illustrations. Early examples of such drawings are the 31 superb illustrations in a Cuban manuscript of 1764, Nicolas José Rapun's "Instruccion general de el cultivo de tavacos." Perhaps the most notable contemporary drawings are 12 watercolors on Aztec and Mayan subjects executed in 1939 by Ariel Baynes, after the originals as reproduced in Lord Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico (1831-48).
A collection of posters, labels, trade cards, and stickers documents the history of tobacco. An exceptionally fine collection of cigarette cards numbers more than 125,000 pieces; included are more than 3,000 complete sets. Cards in this collection originated in England, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Siam, Spain, the United States, and other nations.