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| by Kaitlin Buerge and Rebekah Irwin

Special Collections

We’re always looking for new ways to share the gems in our collections, some of which elude the art of photography. Some books need to be held, touched, and smelled. Enter 1ère Cigarette.

1ère cigarette, by Émile Cohl

The first flip-book, called a “kineograph” (Latin for “moving picture”), emerged in the 19th century, a quarter-century before cinema of any kind. The illusion of movement, in the palm of your hand, was a revolution.

This little flip-book, published in 1967 as a souvenir at the Montréal World Retrospective of Animation Cinema, is based on a series of photographs French cartoonist Émile Cohl made of his young son in the early 1900s. (Yup, his young son is smoking!)

Middlebury’s copy of 1ère Cigarette is one of only 14 known surviving copies worldwide.

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