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Canada in a Box, Cigar Containers that Store Our Past 1883-1935
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Poets and Other Characters


Tin canister
Factory 3 Port 20-D
General Cigar Co., Ltd., Montreal, Que., ca. 1921–1930
CMC 2001.185.56 Tony Hyman Collection

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), the most popular English poet of the Victorian era, was appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1850.

Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 34 IRD 17 Series of 1915
J. Hirsch & Sons Limited, Montreal, Que.
CMC 2004.38.25

Henry Irving (1838–1905) was the premier actor of his time and the first to be knighted by a British monarch. He toured North America on eight occasions. Faust was one of his great successes.

Trimmed nailed wood box (25)
Factory 1 IRD 32 Series of 1897
William Ward, London, Ont.
CMC 2004.38.7

Dolly Varden was a character in the Dickens novel, Barnaby Rudge (1841). Her name was used thereafter for two customary elements of costume Dickens gave her: a floral print dress and a large flower-trimmed hat with one edge of the brim turned down. "Dolly Varden" was later also applied to a California species of colourful, spotted trout.

Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 2 IRD 31 Series of 1883
T. J. Fair & Co., Brantford, Ont.
CMC 2003.46.66

The setting of The Talisman, Sir Walter Scott’s historical fiction published in 1825, is Palestine during the 12th-century Third Crusade. The characters include Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. The title refers to an amulet used by Saladin, disguised as a physician, to cure the ailing Richard.

Trimmed nailed wood box (50)
Factory 3 IRD 17 Series of 1883
J. Rattray & Co., Montreal, Que.
CMC D-13681

La Maritana was a popular opera written by Irish-Australian composer William Wallace. It debuted in 1845 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England. Based on a French drama, its plot hinges upon the marriage of a blindfolded gypsy heroine to a nobleman minutes before he is to be executed. Unbeknownst to her, he is saved at the last minute. The nobleman later rescues his bride from a fate worse than death at the hands of the lecherous king, and the couple is happily united.

English dramatist William S. Gilbert saw the opera in 1875 and used the plot motif in his operetta with Arthur Sullivan, The Yeoman of the Guard.