One of our most important resources is our vast vertical file, a dozen or so filing cabinets crammed full of newspaper clippings, event programs, brochures, pamphlets and other printed ephemera. Over the years, that collection has become less and less usable because of its variety and sheer bulk.

So our brilliant crew of page/interns have been set to work reorganizing the vertical file into a more intuitive format. Along the way they come upon many juicy snippets from our past. The best part of this is that they all know what will interest me, so at least once a week I get handed an article about some forgotten corner of Winston-Salem history.

As everyone knows, the 19th century in America was not exactly a period of great opportunity for women in business, especially in the manufacturing area. Women could work in the early textile mills…visit the Brookstown Inn and see the names of girls who worked there written on the walls…but they couldn’t own them. If a woman wanted to “manufacture” on her own, it pretty much had to be articles of feminine apparel…hats, dresses, gloves, etc. So I think this is worth a look:

MaryVanceRoberson

Published in the Winston-Salem Journal in 1926. Click for larger version.

So this woman knew more about cigars than the men who smoked them, and apparently did quite well making them. There is more to the article…this is a work in progress for me…but I thought that our visitors might like to see it. And who knows, maybe someone will know more about this enterprising woman.

Stay tuned for more items like this…just got another article with pictures of tobacco auctioneers from the 1930s.

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