Cigarette cards are among nearly four hundred images in the collection called “Portraits of boxers and other athletes” which in itself represents a tiny portion of the more than seventy thousand pieces to be found in the Portrait Collection of the Fine Arts Library. Evert Jansen Wendell (A.B. Harvard 1882) was an avid sportsman in his student days. In later life, he collected sporting images among thousands of other portrait images and donated them at his death to his alma mater.
This is an image of a very young blond boy with the relatively unoriginal appellation of ‘Knock-Out’ Brown. His name was Valentine Braunheim (hence ‘Brown’) and he was born and fought his entire career in New York City. At the time this card was issued (ca.1910), Brown was barely twenty years old and had only been fighting for approximately two years. That he was sufficiently well-known enough to justify this investment on the part of the Red Mill/Turkey tobacco conglomerate indicates that his record (something like four to one in favor of victories at this point of his career) overrode his size (he was 5’3” and a lightweight) as a draw.
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