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Christmas Ephemera – 1890s Chromolithograph Cigar Labels

By Sheryl Jaeger

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the John and Carolyn Grossman Collection at Winterthur. While reviewing cigar labels I came across a folder of labels titled “Schmidt Lithograph Co.” – Christmas. Upon examination, I found an array of predominantly sample labels for cigar boxes with Christmas themes in beautifully embossed chromolithography. Richard McKinstry, Library Director and Andrew W. Mellon Senior Librarian graciously gave me permission to photograph the labels to share on this site for the Christmas holiday.

Many of the labels are dated 1897, a time when it was quite fashionable to give your best clients a box of cigars with a beautiful label within.

Schmidt Lithograph Co. was founded in 1873 by Max Schmidt in San Francisco. In 1966 the Schmidt Lithograph Company was merged with Stecher-Traung Lithograph Company of San Francisco and Rochester, New York, to become the Stecher-Traung-Schmidt Corporation.