Tobacco and Kentucky

Tobacco and Kentucky

Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: 1
Pages: 160
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Tobacco and Kentucky
    Book Description:

    For centuries before Europeans came to the New World, tobacco had an important role in the religious and social life of the early peoples of Kentucky. W.F. Axton describes the various forms in which tobacco has been used, its quick adoption by the Old World, and its gradual development into the forms common today, especially the blended cigarette. Little has been written about the place occupied by Burley leaf in the economic life of the Commonwealth, where tobacco is still the most important crop.Tobacco in Kentuckyis accompanied by charts and maps illustrating the many aspects of tobacco production.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5022-2
    Subjects: History, Business, Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 “Soul-Consoling Smoke”: The First 10,000 Years
    (pp. 1-23)

    A presiding irony in the history of the place we recent settlers call Kentucky is that, aside from a pamphlet or two and a few journal articles here and there, the story of tobacco, the Commonwealth’s most important crop and, next to bourbon whisky, its best-known manufactured product, has not been told until now. Indeed, successive historians from Humphrey Marshall down to the present have hardly given more than passing attention to the starring role played by the various strains of Burley leaf and the products made from them in the economic and social life of this state, although everyone...

  5. 2 Tobacco: To Virginia and across the Appalachians, 1492–1792
    (pp. 24-40)

    From its first contact with the Spanish that October day 1492 in the Bahamas, tobacco, until then quite unknown in the Old World, encircled the globe in little more than a century, largely through the agency of traders and sailors who carried the weed and the habit of using it in various ways throughout the world. The three centuries of colonial wars among the European powers following the discovery of tobacco greatly accelerated its diffusion. The plant reached Spain and Portugal by 1558, France the next year, Italy by 1561, and England in 1565. There smoking tobacco in fragile clay...

  6. 3 The Rising Burley Giant of the West, 1792–1860
    (pp. 41-61)

    The prosperity anticipated by Kentucky’s tobacco planters as a result of the quarter-million pounds of leaf that went through New Orleans in 1790 at high prices was threatened at the end of that year by a decision of Spanish authorities to limit purchases of western leaf to 40,000 pounds annually. Continuing a fine old Virginia tradition, however, Kentucky tobacco planters continued to overproduce, a goodly portion of which no doubt was sold in New Orleans unrecorded by the excisemen, for our Scotch-Irish forebears were dedicated and gifted smugglers and bootleggers. Still, trade downriver was unstable. The mad scheme of “Citizen”...

  7. 4 White Burley, the Queen of Plug, 1860–1890
    (pp. 62-81)

    The outbreak of civil hostilities in 1861 posed difficulties for Kentucky and its tobacco economy at the same time that it offered unimaginable opportunities for expanded trade and manufacture. President Lincoln’s strategy of denying to the Confederacy the border states, all of which were heavy producers of tobacco leaf and products, was successful; and Kentucky, which had declared its neutrality early in the secession controversy, was quickly occupied by Union forces who beat off a mismanaged Confederate invasion of the state at Perryville. Kentucky was thus spared the devastation visited upon Virginia and North Carolina. On the other hand, the...

  8. 5 War in the Marketplace and Patch, 1890–1911
    (pp. 82-96)

    The trend toward consolidation in the tobacco industry, which had brought the half-dozen or so western plug manufacturers to dominance in that trade, when carried through to its logical end of corporate gigantism, was to spell their extinction. But the warfare in the marketplace that ushered in this great tobacco empire also generated a populist insurrection of Kentucky leaf planters that for a period threatened to reduce the Commonwealth to anarchy.

    The opening shot was fired in 1890, when under the guiding hand of J. B. Duke, president of the up-and-coming firm of W. Duke and Sons, a huge combine...

  9. 6 Making the Modern Tobacco Industry, 1911–1939
    (pp. 97-115)

    What emerged from the partition of the Trust, once the United Cigar Company, the Imperial Tobacco Company, British-American, and other holdings were separately divested, were four large concerns—the “Big Four,” as they came to be called. With assets of $98.4 million, the biggest was the American Tobacco Company, whose strength was in cigarettes, smoking tobacco, and plug; Liggett and Myers, at $67.4 million, was well diversified, as was Lorillard, with $47.6 million. By far the smallest of the “Big Four” at the outset was R. J. Reynolds, the bulk of whose assets was in flat Bright-leaf cut plug, with...

  10. 7 Kentucky and Tobacco Today, 1939–1974
    (pp. 116-131)

    A Glance at figure 7 will confirm that cigarette consumption jumped 75 percent between 1939 and 1945, from 180 billion to 320 billion, largely attributable to the wartime increase in women smokers, heavy shipments to the armed forces, and a sharp rise in teenaged smokers, whom industry had been wooing for some years. By 1954, when consumption nationally reached 400 billion, the first cigarette cancer scare coincided with the introduction of the modern filtered cigarette. A decade later a much more substantially documented medical assault on the consumption of tobacco products, founded upon their demonstrable tendency to induce a variety...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 132-132)

    The story of Kentucky and its tobacco has brought us a long way from that day now lost in the mists of prehistory when some inquisitive Algonkin first discovered the heady pleasures of nicotine and passed the secret on to his people. From that problematical time until now, the trail of tobacco has taken us round the world and down through some ten or twelve millennia to the founding of our Commonwealth, and thence to the present day.

    Through it all, our story has touched in one way or another on almost every aspect of human endeavor: war and insurrection,...

  12. Illustrations
    (pp. 133-144)
  13. Bibliographical Note
    (pp. 145-149)