You kids and your Wordle ...

Advertising card for Durham smoking tobacco by James R. Day. Illustration shows a rebus puzzle.

You kids and your Wordle. Back in my day,  I tied an onion to my belt (which was the style at the time) and did my word puzzles off of trade cards for tobacco.

Now where were we... oh, yeah. The trade card! This ca. 1875(?) advertising James R. Day's Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco was one of a series of rebus puzzle cards that were distributed to market the product, with the solution to each rebus available in each package of Durham tobacco. The card is undated, but would have been published between 1869, when James R. Day joined the company as a partner, and 1878, when he was bought out.

This particular card is from Hagley Library's Fingerman ephemera collection (Accession 2009.213). The collection, ssembled by collectors Arlene and Gerald Fingerman, consists of mixed-format ephemera from various endeavors within American culture, primarily the manufacturing and selling of products or services. Advertising cards and labels compose a large portion of the collection, but it also includes billheads, blotters, bookmarks, business cards, catalogs, checks, envelopes, flyers, letterheads, newsletters, packaging, postcards, and stamps.

The collection has not been digitized in its entirety, but you can view a selection of over 100 items from it online now in our Digital Archive. Just click here!