The Fourth of July: an easy enough topic on which to compose a post. I had hoped to post about some wonderful and relevant item that the Special Collections possesses in relation to this historically-rich patriotic holiday. Alas. In scouring the finding aids for potential materials, however, I ran across an entry for “Air Force One” cigarettes. What? That’s right- we retain a collection of Air Force One cigarettes (within a larger collection), complete with the presidential seal. These cigarettes (menthol & regular filtered) were made available to those who rode in Air Force One (or Army One). Notably stored alongside these cigarettes in the collection are a JFK cigar (unsmoked) and an Estes Kefauver and Adlai Stevenson campaign lighter. While being pretty irrelevant to the approaching holiday, these items do offer us a little snapshot of accepted political practices and marketing strategies in the 1950’s and 1960’s (ours are from the 60’s, but apparently cigarettes were offered aboard AFO until 1988!).
Happy Fourth of July!