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Jacob F. Obrecht & Co. Cigars and Tobacco Records, 1886-1942, MS 3078
Jacob F. Obrecht & Co. Cigars and Tobacco Records, 1886-1942
Jacob F. Obrecht & Co.
1 ½ Boxes, plus two oversized items
Summary: The J. F. Obrecht & Co. was a candy and tobacco distributor founded in 1886 and surviving until 1971. The material within the Jacob F. Obrecht & Co. records span the first several decades of the 20th Century, with the exception of some documents dating from 1886. The collection consists of general business correspondence dating from 1886 until 1942, as well as several accounting and record books, including a ledger, two catalogues of cigar labels, and two catalogues of different types of cigar molds.
H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
Access to this collection is unrestricted.
Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.
Gift of Mr. Holliday Hicks Obrecht , Jr. in 2004
The collection was processed in June 2007 by Robert Finch and in October 2010 by Damon Talbot
The J. F. Obrecht & Co. was a candy and tobacco distributor that was established in 1886 and survived through 1971. The company was based in Baltimore and was housed originally on Light Street, then later moved to 211 S. Hanover Street, but finally closed their doors at 312 S. Hanover Street. They also had locations on Howard Street, Broadway and Eastern Avenue.
The company was founded by Jacob F. Obrecht who was born in 1862 and died December 8, 1943. He bought and owned a tobacco wholesale house in 1886 and bequeathed the company to his two sons in 1935, Jacob F. Obrecht, Jr. (d. 1978) and Holliday Hicks Obrecht, Sr. (d. 1985). The company’s most famous brand of cigars was their “Caton Cigars,” whose slogan was “Don't Bite Me, Just Light Me, I've Got a Hole in My Head.”1 The company produced cigars in Baltimore until the mid 1940’s, after which the cigars were manufactured in Pennsylvania. The business eventually closed in 1971, and the city tore down its building in 1973, the site is now the loading dock for the Baltimore Convention Center.
Holliday Hicks Obrecht Sr. was also active in the formation of the Wholesale Tobacco Distributors of Maryland Inc. trade association. His son, Holiday Hicks Obrecht Jr. worked in the business and eventually took it over from his father and uncle. He ran the business until it closed, and along with his wife compiled this collection. Other articles from the collection are also housed in the Maryland Historical Society’s Museum.
Scope and Content
The material within the Jacob F. Obrecht & Co. records span the first several decades of the 20th Century, with the exception of some documents dating from 1886. The collection consists of general business correspondence dating from 1886 until 1942, as well as several accounting and record books, including a ledger, two catalogues of cigar labels, and two catalogues of different types of cigar molds.
The material is in good condition with the exception of the cigar mold catalogues and the larger accounting book, both of which have deteriorated significantly. The collection is divided into three series.
The first series contains correspondence which is housed in a single folder whose contents date between 1911 and 1942.
The second series consists of financial records and includes three accounting books, one small, one medium and one large and thin as well as one large ledger, all of these materials dating between 1923 and 1942. There is also a folder of miscellaneous financial records dating from 1886 and with a document from 1903.
The third series consists of printed material consisting of two cigar label catalogues, two catalogues of cigar molds, a folder of various cigar label ephemera, another folder of printed stationary from the company and finally a wage order form, which was at one point framed. All the printed materials are likely dated between 1900 and the middle 20th Century.