Ursinus 1940's - The Golden Era

The Weekly (Newspaper)

Smoking was an instrumental part of American life throughout the first half of the 20th century. Over time, not only did it become a social norm for ordinary people, but a passtime for athletes, thesbians, and other celebrities. Just as products such as Wheaties are endorced by atheletes today, Chesterfield Cigarettes, for example, recieved endorsments by the top athletes of the day as well.

In 1902, the first ever Weekly Newspaper was published at Ursinus College - more than one hundred years ago. Countless changes have occurred since then, not only with the name from the Weekly to the Grizzly, but with advertisements. Jumping forward in time fourty years, we see these advertisements take the form of, you guessed it, smoking ones. And it's not just a few here and there, but basically one on every page. Among others, Chesterfield and Camel appear most, taking up nearly half-page advertisements throughout the peacetime years of the 1940's. During wartime, these cigarette ads were replaced with wartime reminders to stay off the phone lines and invest in war bonds. 

Raffles for Chestefield cigarettes and articles describing the different ways one can ask for a cigarette reminded us of the chewing gum culture today; how one can open a pack of chewing gum in class and suddenly become a magnet. Our research has shown cigarette culture was much the same. These ads do a great job in the way they appeal to their customs - they seem fun, enjoyful, and are pleasing to the eye. 

To take a closer look at these ads, we found certain trends that would last a few years or so. The Weekly and the smoking corporations were constantly looking for fresh, new ideas to capture the readers' attention.

1940-1944: Wartime Smoking Ads

There are alot of war-based ads featuring many soldiers and pilots, as well as holiday-based ones with Santa and cigarettes as the presents.

1944-1945: No Smoking Ads

You will not find any smoking ads that appear between this year of the Weekly because the smoking ads have been replaced by donation ads for the war.

1945-1947: Chesterfield Ads

You will only see Chesterfield smoking ads for some unknown reason. Cammel smoking ads stop appearing until later the next year when they are reintroduced

1947-1948: Actor/Musician Ads

Camel make their first ad appearence since 1944. However, now we start to see lots of actors and musicans starting to appear in the ads now. It was very amusing to see that musicans were promoting smoking, since now we know smoking causes lung cancer, thus damaging the lungs of people who depend most on them.

1948-1949: Lucky Strike Ads

Now you will start to see three brands appearing in the Weekly: Lucky Strike, Camel, Chesterfield.

1949-1950: College Students Ads

No big changes but you start to see a direct target on college students to smoke with certain ads.

The Lantern March 1940 Cover

March 1940 Lantern Cover

The Lantern (Literary Magazine)

A literary magazine is a series of literature collected and bound in a book to be shared with others. The type of literature usually includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. Most colleges will have a literary magazine made up of student submissions and reviewed by students. Ursinus is one of these, nowadays releasing one edition per year, filled with nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and art. However, it was not always like this.

The first Lantern was created in 1933 with only sixteen entries, consisting of a mix of different genres without much organization. If you were to compare the magazine in 1933 to the most recent one today, there would be too many differences to spot. Possibly the most surprising difference is the advertisements littered in 1933. The ads ranged from "Schulz Baking Company" to "Frank R Watson Edkins and Thompson Architects". These are fascinating to look back on, but the real unbelievable stuff started appearing in 1935.

Of course, it was the smoking advertisements.

They started off appearing once in every edition, taking up a page and in complete black and white, but that's not important. The important part is when the adverisements really took off - during the beautiful 1940's. This was the Golden Era of smoking advertisements at Ursinus. If a person were to count all the smoking advertisements to be found in the 40's Lanterns, they would come away with a crisp 49 - 29 Chesterfield ones and 20 Camel ones. Each ad is completely different from one another, ranging in different themes. Some of the more popular themes include Christmas, war, theater, horseback riding, piloting, or just attractive people dressed in expensive clothes. Within these years, there have been different trends with the amount of ads present for different reasons.


Two smoking advertisements per issue, one in the very beginning and one at the very end each time.


One smoking advertisement per issue, it being at the very end each time. This decrease of ads is most likely because of World War II, as this also occurred in the Weekly's from 1944 to 1995.

June 1945, Vol. 13, No. 3

In this one issue, there were no smoking ads whatsoever. Again, this was probably due to the war, making it difficult to receive sponsors for the magazine in 1945 during this particular month. However, there were still other non-smoking ads, although it was a signfically smaller section with only a few: Dolly Madison Ice Cream and Artistocrat Ice Cream, Collegeville Beauty and Gift Shop, and Superior Tube Company.


After those three years, two smoking advertisements once again started appearing per issue, one once again at the very beginning and the other once again at the end. With the war over, the ads could return to normal.

Ursinus 1940's - The Golden Era