An alternative to pipe- and cigar-smoking, cigarettes appeared at the end of the nineteenth century and retailers were swift to produce a range of accessories tailored especially for them. As the dimensions of this case show, cigarettes at the turn of the century were smaller than the king-size ones of today. Rueff's cigarette case, designed as a stamped addressed envelope, may have formed a set with a match safe --- a case for matches often made to resemble miniature visiting cards or envelopes during this period.
Léon Rueff was head of the Swiss Bank in London during and after the First World War (1914-18). The address on the case perhaps refers to Rueff's office or London club, as <u>The Times</u> newspaper records home addresses for him in Chelsea and Bayswater. Léon Rueff died suddenly, aged 80, in September 1942, the year after his son Marcus was killed fighting in North Africa during the Second World War. Mrs Herbert Seligmann (Lise Ruess) gave the cigarette case to the Museum in 1997 'in remembrance of my aunt and uncle Suze and Léon Rueff whose only son died an Officer of the Hamlet Rifles in Libya in 1941'.