Literature on pipes and tobacco
Since tobacco reached Europe it has inspired a lot of writers. In the tobacco literature different phases can be recognised. From the first period it is mainly the reports of the discovery of the weed, the appearance of the plant and the unusual habit of the Indians to smoke the leaves of this sacred plant.
In the seventeenth century the first publications on the use and abuse of tobacco, starting the discussions pro- or contra smoking. The most remarkable writing certainly is by King James I of England. With his "A Counterblaste to tobaccco" he brought out the most known vigorous anti smoking publication ever done.
In the eighteenth century the subject of tobacco and smoking did not really bring up particular publications. The best known are the series of encyclopaedias in which the subject tobacco preparation and pipe producing is published. The most extend word is done by Duamel du Monceau, and his work was copied many times by encyclopaedians from that time on.
In the nineteenth century a big stream of publications starts. Among them we find many almanacs for smokers, containing all sorts of curious information. They are the inspiration for writers to do more research each time again. The book by Fairholt titled "Tobacco its history and associations" is the best example. Going through the different handbooks from that period we learn that all the authors found their inspiration by previous publications, hence we see a repetition in knowledge and in mistakes as well. Remarkable however is that the French publications have little influence in the English literature, as it is the other way round. Apparently, they were not very well aware of each other’s work, the English proved not to be able to read the foreign language.
In the twentieth century the stream of publications on pipes and tobacco grows considerably. Many special fields of research are developed and especially after the year 1970 more and more monographs appeared.
For those who have an interest in the nice prints, special editions and remarkable illustrations the tobacco literature offers lots of valuable and interesting books. On this page some of them are shown, giving an idea of what has been published. Certainly, it is only a fraction of the over 4,000 titles that can be found in the library of the Pijpenkabinet Foundation in Amsterdam.
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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