Fascinating political map on a tobacco premium

John Finzer & Bros., Louisville, Ky., OLD HONESTY NON-PARTISAN Political Map OF THE UNITED STATES SHOWING THE Presidential Vote of 1880 AND Other Election Statistics. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1884.
Printed in colors on recto and verso, 7 ¾”h x 11 7/8”w at sheet edge, folding to 6”h x 2 ½”w. Mild-moderate toning, soiling and staining, and a bit of wear along folds and at edges. Good only.

A wonderful and extremely rare political map of the United States issued as a tobacco premium by a Louisville, Kentucky tobacco firm.

This piece was produced as a two-sided “premium” to promote Old Honesty Plug Tobacco, a brand produced by the Finzer Brothers of Louisville, Kentucky. The Finzer brothers were Swiss émigrés who in 1866 established the Five Brothers Tobacco Works, which became the leading tobacco factory in Louisville and one of the largest in the country.

Originally folded in eighths brochure-style but now flattened, one side bears the front and rear covers and a variety of statistical tables, including the state-by-state results of the 1876 presidential election, and charts comparing wages and the costs of staple foods in France, Germany, England and the United States.  The gist is that in America wages are higher than in Europe and the cost of living lower, from which the promoters infer that “The cheapest and best country to live in is where you can buy OLD HONESTY PLUG TOBACCO.”

The real highlight of this item is on the verso, much of which is occupied by a “political map” of the United States with the states and territories shown in outline.  Each state bears a notation indicating the number of its votes in the electoral college and a small table summarizing the popular vote in the 1880 election, won by Republican James Garfield against Democratic Winfield Scott Hancock of Pennsylvania and Greenback Party candidate James Weaver of Iowa (The Greenback Party advocated a paper currency not backed by gold, an inflationary policy intended to foster economic growth and benefit businesses and heavily-indebted farmers in particular.)  The western territories not yet assimilated into the Union feature plugs (pun intended) for Old Honesty.  In Washington, for example, one learns that Old Honesty “Is a mild and pleasant Chew. We guarantee absolute purity.”

Surmounting the map is a fascinating “Panorama of the History of the United States,” which charts the evolution and interrelationships of American political parties since independence.  The parties are portrayed them as rivers and streams flowing in to and out of one another, with for example the Democratic Party giving birth to the Whig Party during Jackson’s presidency.

Only the second example of this map that I have seen on the market in the past 17 years.

Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection, #1087. Not in OCLC.  For background on the Finzers see Young Ewing Allison, The City of Louisville and a Glimpse of Kentucky, p. 138.