Better Choose Me:
Collecting and Creating with Tobacco Fabric Novelties, 1880-1920

This traveling exhibit is the first to tell the story of fabric novelties issued with tobacco products (1880 to 1920) which women sewed into colorful items for the home.
The exhibition features cigar ribbons, cigarette "silkies," and tobacco flannels from the Ethel Ewert Abrahams collection .

Brightly colored silk ribbons were tied around bundles of cigars to advertise their quality and brand names. The ribbons became a popular collectible during the 1880s, and many women sewed them into table covers, quilts, and pillow tops. With increased competition in the tobacco industry in the early 20th century, new advertising items were produced to promote regular purchase and brand loyalty. Both silk and cotton flannel novelties were printed in collectible sets and distributed with tobacco purchases. Women were encouraged to collect these fabric novelties and to make them into useful and decorative items for the home.

A traveling exhibit system
Integral to the exhibition is a complete modular installation system to display the significant and fragile artifacts. Included with the system are period photographs to provide historical context and stools for sitting while studying individual fabric novelties installed in the system's railings. Additional artifacts are furnished with their own mounts.

Current venues • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

No current bookings

Past venues • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta
February 19 - May 1, 2011

Johnson County Museum, Shawnee, KS
January 19 - April 16, 2002

The Smoky Hill Museum, Salina, KS
November 7, 2001 - January 14, 2002
phone:785.309.5776 www.smokyhillmuseum.org

The Dane G. Hansen Museum, Logan, KS
July 20 - August 26, 2001
phone:785.689.4848 email: dghansen@ruraltel.net

The Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA
November 1, 2000 - April 30, 2001

Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma, KS
May 14 - June 9, 2000

Kauffman Museum, North Newton, KS
February 28 - October 3, 1999

This collection has been featured in two publications--Quilters Newsletter Magazine, June 2001 issue, and Uncoverings 2000, an article excerpted from a research paper presented to the American Quilt study group.

For Further Information on scheduling Better Choose Me contact Chuck Regier, Curator of Exhibits or Rachel Pannabecker, Director.

Installation Views

Download exhibit information

Exhibit Photos
(1.1 MB PDF)
Object List-Photos
(856 KB PDF)
Exhibit Text
(66 KB PDF)

316•283•1612   kauffman@bethelks.edu
For more information...