From the Girls series (N59) promoting Little Beauties Pressed Cigarettes for Allen & Ginter brand tobacco products
Trade cards from the "Girls" series (N59), issued ca. 1888 to promote Little Beauties Pressed Cigarettes distributed by Allen & Ginter. The set depicts photographic portraits of children affixed to cardboard backing.
Issued by Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Allen and Ginter, a tobacco manufacturing company founded in 1865 by John Allen and Lewis Ginter in Richmond, Virginia, created the first cigarette cards for collecting and trading in the United States. The first tobacco company to employ female labor, by 1886 they had 1,100 employees, predominantly girls, who rolled the cigarettes. The Company history ended when in 1880, Allen and Ginter offered a prize for the invention of the machine able to roll cigarettes. Inventor James Albert Bonsack won the prize. But all but one of the large tobacco manufacturers, including Allen and Ginter itself, declined to buy the machine because it was not 100% reliable. James Buchanan Duke did buy the machine invention in 1885 and by 1890 he had consolidated his four major competitors, including Allen & Ginter, and formed the American Tobacco Company. The "Allen & Ginter Company" was no more, but Lewis Ginter sat on the board of the American Tobacco Company.