El Merito Makes Men Happy

Here we have another advertisement from the program/souvenir booklet for the play L’Aiglon starring Maude Adams which played in Philadelphia at The Broad Street Theater back in 1901. El Merito was a Cuban cigar manufactured by Boltz & Clymer – back when trade with Cuba was still legal. President Kennedy put the kibosh on that in 1962. However, before the embargo came into effect he had his press secretary purchase 1200 of his favorite cigars for future use. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do!


Boltz & Clymer was located at 50 North 3rd Street in Philadelphia, it was one of over a thousand cigar manufacturers in the city. According to Tony Hymen of The National Cigar History Museum:

In the late 1870s new high quality domestic cigar tobaccos had come to market and Sumatran wrapper, the world’s best, began to be imported. As if that weren’t enough, in 1878, the IRS loosed what had been highly constrictive regulations defining what cigar boxes should look like, thus opening the way for inventive and appealing novelty packaging. Not only were fancier boxes and better tobacco available, but Civil war tobacco taxes had been substantially reduced in 1883, which meant the new higher quality cigars cost less. Cigar smoking caught on with men of all classes. The number of cigar factories rose dramatically.



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