The 'Who' of the Cigar Making Industry: Gender, Ethnicity, & Place-Traditions, 1757-1900

Open Access
Rosenfeld, Christine
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Deryck William Holdsworth, Thesis Supervisor
  • Roger Michael Downs, Honors Advisor
  • cigars
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • demographics
  • Census
  • Seville
  • Ybor City
  • Key West
  • Cuba
  • Detroit
This thesis analyzes the intersection of gender, ethnicity, and place-traditions in the composition of employees in the cigar making industry. An overview of the beginnings of the Spanish tobacco industry from the 15th-19th centuries precedes consideration of differences in the demographics of employees in the tobacco industry among Seville and three American production sites, Key West, Ybor City, and Detroit, and explores reasons as to why the differences are present. Samples of cigar industry employees were chosen from the 1870 census for Key West and the 1900 census for Ybor City and Detroit. Demographic information from the U.S. Census allowed for comparisons to be made among the three American places. Because census data were not available for cigar makers from Seville during the 18th and 19th centuries, archival documents provide a snapshot of the city’s tobacco industry. Key West was most influenced by the Cuban cigar industry, Detroit by the American cigar industry—which was influenced by the Seville cigar industry—and Ybor City by both the Cuban and American cigar industries, suggesting that certain features of the cigar making industry were influenced by place.