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Object Timeline

1912

  • Work on this object began.

1985

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2020

  • You found it!

Souvenir Square (USA), 1912

This is a Souvenir square. It is dated 1912 and we acquired it in 1985. Its medium is cotton and its technique is 4\1 satin printed by chromolithography and embossed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Printed fabric novelties were popular promotional devices in the early twentieth century, a signal of the growing influence of marketing in American material culture. This souvenir square, dating from 1912 and featuring baseball greats Christy Mathewson and “Home Run” Baker, among others, was a premium offered by Helmar and Turkey Red Tobacco companies in exchange for 100 coupon inserts.

The five rectangules have red cross stitches printed around their edges, in imitation of 19th century cigarette silk quilts. Cigarette silks were small pieces of printed satin inserted in tobacco packaging. Typically no more than 2.5 inches high and 1.5 inches wide, they were often patched together into quilts and table coverings, following instructions published in ladies’ magazines such as Godey’s Lady’s Book.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Hey, Batter Batter.

This object was donated by Mr. Stephen Smith and Mrs. Stephen Smith. It is credited Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Smith.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 57.2 × 57.2 cm (22 1/2 × 22 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Souvenir Square (USA), 1912; cotton; H x W: 57.2 × 57.2 cm (22 1/2 × 22 1/2 in.); Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Smith; 1980-31-6

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18504705/ |title=Souvenir Square (USA), 1912 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 November 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>