National Hospital's Cigarette Paper

1901 cigarette_paper_Armenian_Hospital_Constantinople

 Cigarette Paper produced by the National Hospital in Constantinople

Hratch Tchilingirian 

Recently, while searching for an article, I came across this rather curious 1901 advertisement for “cigarette paper” produced by the Surp Pirgic [Holy Saviour] Armenian hospital in Istanbul (Constantinople) to augment the income of the hospital.* Today, it would not only be scandalous – even libellous – for a hospital to sponsor such a product, it is unthinkable. Indeed, over the last century medical science and technologies, especially research on the effects of smoking on health, have advanced so much that reading such advertisements today is amusing.  Another idea that would seem exploitative today is the claim in the advertisement that “orphans” under the care of the hospital were used for “quality assurance” of the product. Here is my rough translation of the advertisement that provides a glimpse of Armenian life a hundred years ago.  

National Hospital's Cigarette Paper *

“This cigarette paper is currently produced in three kinds by the Holy Saviour National Hospital in Yedikule (Surp Pırgiç Azkayin Hivantanots), where more than a thousand patients, orphans, elderly and mentally ill people are sheltered and treated.

“No doubt, the generous public, always showing care towards this institution that provides the only shelter to the destitute stricken by misery, will continue as before to use this cigarette paper, and thus, lend a helping hand to the hospital.

“Recently, the Trustees decided to produce these papers in the hospital itself. Through the children of the orphanage, [the hospital] assures the smoking public that under its immediate supervision, the quality of the utilized type of the selected and healthy French paper will always remain unchanged.

“Orders should be sent to Constantinople, New Big Khan, Middle Floor, No. 48, 49, 50 and 8 Trustees of the Hospital, who are ready to fully satisfy the applicants.” 

 17 July 2015

Published in Bardez, 2018 (Armenian Instittue, London).


* Printed in 1901 Extensive Calendar of the National [Armenian] Hospital. Constantinople: H. Mateosian Press.

*1901 Ընդարձակ Օրացոյց Ազգային Հիւանդանոցի. Կոստանդնուպոլիս, Տպագրութիւն Յ. Մատթէոսեան:

Hratch Tchilingirian
Copyright © 2023 Hratch Tchilingirian. All rights reserved.