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July 30, 1971: For 68 years, he rolled his own – and then some

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: May 2, 2011 - 12:50 AM
Al Bossard of St. Paul began making cigars by hand in about 1903. At his peak, he rolled 400 to 500 cigars a day, and his clientele included "fine people … doctors, lawyers, businessmen." He had reached his 88th year when he was featured in this Minneapolis Star photo. "I’ve had to slow up some now," he said, "because there are days when I can’t feel the tenderness of the cigars right." He didn’t spend his entire life hunched over tobacco leaves. At 15, he ran away from home and joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a performer, playing "800 or 900 state fairs around this part of the country."
 

Al Bossard's photo accompanied a story previewing a Victorian craft festival in St. Paul that featured "calligraphy, crewel work, hair work, lacemaking, macrame, needlework and other Victorian crafts." 

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