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This month’s Artifact of the Month post illustrates our continuing fascination with objects related to tobacco marketing. (For prior evidence of this obsession, see posts about the Seal of North Carolina Plug Cut tobacco pouch, the Joe Camel holiday lighter, and the Duke Cigarettes tobacco cards.)

Our April Artifact is a bumper sticker for the Winston Rodeo, circa 1975. That’s Winston as in the cigarette brand, owned by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

rodeo_sticker_front_small

The Winston Rodeo series began in 1971 or 1972 (depending on which source you consult). It originally included roughly 600 rodeos each year throughout the country.

An intriguing 2010 article in the American Journal of Public Health analyzes internal tobacco industry documents to reveal the motivations behind tobacco company rodeo sponsorship. Not surprisingly, the goal was the promotion of cigarettes — not rodeo.

The researchers conclude that it was no coincidence that the advent of Winston’s rodeo sponsorship coincided with the 1971 ban on cigarette advertising on television and radio. During a televised rodeo event, TV cameras can pick up branded banners, scoreboards, and clothing, such as the jacket worn by a cowgirl in two photographs that came to the North Carolina Collection with the bumper sticker:

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Tucked under the collar on each shoulder is the embroidered slogan “Winston: How Good it Is.”

If you find that kind of branding too subtle, then take the example of Miss Winston:

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Miss Winston was a spokesmodel for the Winston Cup, a NASCAR racing series that was also sponsored by Winston. Miss Winston presumably made an appearance at the rodeo and autographed this photo for a lucky fan.

In 1975, R.J. Reynolds offered free Winston Rodeo bumper stickers, of which our Artifact is likely an example. Fans who were younger than 21 could skirt the company’s policy against marketing to young people by having their parents sign a statement provided by RJR.

On the back of the bumper sticker Winston advertises a 45 rpm souvenir record, a “Musical Salute to the Professional Rodeo Cowboy.”

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It’s a clever marketing move: Why not use your promotional materials to advertise other promotional materials? The cost was only $1.50 and two empty Winston packages.

A 1979 study commissioned by R.J. Reynolds concluded that Winston’s rodeo sponsorship had its intended effect of increasing purchases among fans. The study found a 10% per-year increase starting in 1974 attributed partially to Winston’s sponsorship of its Rodeo Superstars and College Rodeo Scholarship programs.

We’re grateful to the researchers who sifted through all those tobacco industry documents: Drs Pamela M. Ling, Lawrence A. Haber, and Stefani Wedl.

And we’re grateful to the anonymous rodeo fan who opted not to affix this artifact to his/her bumper. It’s a perfect addition to the NCC Gallery’s collection of tobacco-related objects.

“When I drove into the parking lot of Replacements, Ltd., on the outskirts of Greensboro, North Carolina, I thought of a saying that Rosanne Cash attributes to her father, Johnny, who was an avid collector of rugs, china, linens, and furniture: ‘Every possession is just a stick to beat yourself with.’ There are many, many sticks with which one might beat oneself at Replacements….

“I came to see the huge collection of Fiestaware, the beloved American-made brand of colorful china, and to follow a hunch I had that a plate has special significance in the South. This was both an ethnographic mission for my work as a cultural anthropologist [at Duke] and a personal quest: I am one of countless Americans who collect Fiestaware. Nietzsche would describe me as an ‘antiquarian,’ or someone who believes that the past ‘belongs to the preserving and revering soul — to him who with loyalty and love looks back on his origins.’ Mostly, I hoped to understand the pull in my gut, an embodied sense of longing, I feel every time I see those brightly colored dinner plates….”

— From “The State of the Plate” b in the Oxford American (April 19) 

Alexander isn’t alone in her fetish. Approaching the vast Fiestaware display at Replacements, her guide warned that “One woman fainted when she saw this, and another fell to her knees — I saw it happen…. Fiestaware can do that to people.”

 

This Saturday is National Picnic day so grab a blanket, a basket, and a friend and head out to your favorite picnic spot.

Picnic picture - Kitchen Kapers

Image from Kitchen kapers.

Stuffed Picnic Rolls - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

Stuffed Picnic Rolls from Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Delicious Picnic Ham - Heavenly Delights

Delicious Picnic Ham from Heavenly delights.

Springtime Fruit Delight - Company's Coming

Springtime Fruit Delight from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

Church Picnic Potato Salad - Count Our Blessings

Church Picnic Potato Salad from Count our blessings : 75 years of recipes and memories / Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Lunch Salad - Favorite Recipes of the Carolinas

Lunch Salad form Favorite recipes of the Carolinas : meats edition, including poultry and seafood.

Picnic Basket Bread - The Fearrington House Cookbook

Picnic Basket Bread from The Fearrington House cookbook : a celebration of food, flowers, and herbs.

“During the civil-rights era, when local administrators across the South resisted desegregation and suppressed protests, business élites in Dallas and Charlotte pushed for moderation; Dallas had desegregated its downtown businesses by 1961, and Charlotte began desegregating public accommodations the year before the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“Those efforts, though, were driven by local businesses and were a response to protests. Today’s fight is driven by national companies, and they’re in the vanguard: there is no federal law protecting L.G.B.T. people from discrimination, but three-quarters of Fortune 500 firms have policies forbidding it….”

— From “Unlikely Alliances: When North Carolina’s legislators tried to limit L.G.B.T. rights, big business was their toughest opponent” by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker (April 25 issue)

 

“P.S. There is a poor, desperate, unhappy man staying at the Grove Park Inn. He is a man of great talent but he is throwing it away on drink and worry over his misfortunes. [Maxwell] Perkins thought if Mama went to see him and talked to him, it might do some good — to tell him that at the age of forty he is at his prime and has nothing to worry about if he will just take hold again and begin to work.

“His name, I forgot to say, is Scott Fitzgerald, and a New York paper has just published a miserable interview with him — it was a lousy trick, a rotten…piece of journalism, going to see a man in that condition, gaining his confidence, and then betraying him. I myself have suffered at the hands of these rats, and I know what they can do. But I don’t know whether it’s a good idea for Mama to see him — in his condition, he might resent it and think we were sorry for him, etc .— so better wait until I write again.”

— From Thomas Wolfe’s  letter to his brother Fred (Oct. 7, 1936)

On Fitzgerald’s 40th birthday two weeks earlier, a reporter from the New York Post had tracked down the drunken author in Asheville and brutally described him under the headline “On the other side of paradise… engulfed in despair.”

 

Edenton, N. C., Feb. 21 [1943] –(AP) — Banks, traditionally, have frequent holidays, but the employes of the Bank of Edenton are looking forward to a special sort of holiday. Vice President D. M. Warren has tacked up this sign in the bank: ‘We will be closed on the day of Hitler’s funeral. Thank God.’ ”

The bank’s closing notice proved premature — Hitler didn’t commit suicide until April 30, 1945.

 

“[Louis] Kittner was a hard worker and an ambitious businessman, and within five years of moving to town [in 1914], the shoe repair shop grew into a retail shoe store and eventually became Kittner’s Department Store, a Weldon mainstay and destination for shoppers from all over northeastern North Carolina, until 1998….

“Kittner was at work [in the shoe shop] when a small group of prominent local businessmen came in and said they had a personal matter to discuss: They wanted to invite him to join their club. What was the name of the club, Louis asked.

“The Ku Klux Klan, they told him….”

— From “Why Was This Humble Jewish Shoemaker Asked To Join the Ku Klux Klan?”  by

 

“In 1863, the [Rockingham County] North Carolina ‘authoress’ Marinda Branson Moore published The Geographical Reader for the Dixie Children, the first textbook to teach the geography of the seceded South. After the Civil War began, such primers were ‘both a practical and a patriotic necessity’ for the Confederacy, as the historians O. L. Davis, Jr. and Serena Rankin Parks soberly wrote in 1963, as Southern schoolteachers saw the Northern-printed textbooks in supply as ‘blighted with by Yankee biases and inaccuracies’….

“Moore explains that the Northern states are ‘mad’ on the subject of slavery. How many Southern children learned from this geography book? Enough to support two editions before the end of war in 1865….”

— From “How Women Mapped the Upheaval of 19th Century America” by Laura Bliss at CityLab (March 23)

 

On this day in 1897: Wilmington is visited by what may be the state’s first UFO. According to the Wilmington Messenger, which headlined its account, “Was It an Air Ship?” hundreds of citizens spotted the “remarkable . . . brilliantly lighted” object as it floated above the city, creating “a sensation among all classes of people.”

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Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

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