Promotional Cards

    Most of the 39 promotional cards at left date from the 1880s, though not all; the last one, with its reference to the "war tax," is probably from 1921. The first 10 are from a series printed by Currier, for the fifth seasonal tour of Anthony & Ellis' Famous Ideal Uncle Tom's Cabin Company (1881-1882). Each features various scenes from the production; all had the same copy on the back (see second from top). Other companies include the Jarrett & Palmer production that featured "Scores of Genuine Freed Negro Slaves," and C. H. Smith's Mammouth Double production, whose cards often give prominent billing to Sam Lucas, the most famous African American "Uncle Tom." Among the most heavily advertised attractions are the many different groups of "Jubilee Singers," double Topsy's and Marks's, and the "Bloodhounds," including a pair that have been "Trained to Chase Runaway Negroes to the Death."

    The last two cards were designed specifically to be handed out to children; they combine advertising with game-playing. You can play the puzzle game for yourself by clicking on the very last icon.

Courtesy Michael Tedesco
The Birdoff Collection
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford CT
Mary Schlosser
& Univ. of Virginia Special Collections
Purchased with funds from the Robert & Virginia Tunstall Trust