Brianna Dunlap, former director of the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum, will be the guest speaker at Wood Memorial Library, 783 Main St., at 7 p.m.
Her recent book on the history of Connecticut River Valley tobacco will be the focus of her talk, starting in New England’s Early Wooded period from 1000 B.C. to 200 B.C. “The legend has it that a Sally Prout invented rolling tobacco lengthwise and sealing it in an outer leaf to circumvent the need for tin boxes,” Dunlap says.
Although there was an East Windsor woman with that name after the American Revolution, there is no conclusive evidence that she was responsible for the introduction of the cigar trade.By the time of the Civil War, the Valley produced up to 10 million pounds a year for cigars, pipes, and chewing, then even more when the South had to stop its trade. A later switch to cigarette smoking lessened demand for tobacco grown here.
Area farmers then devoted most their farms to shade tobacco for cigar wrappers, a move that reversed the decline of business until the introduction of homogenized tobacco, another local development. Dunlap will also share more recent developments in the tobacco business. She will have copies of her book “Connecticut Valley Tobacco” available.
Suggested admission donation is $5.00 for the general public ($3.00 for members of the Historical Society). Refreshments will be served.