Last updated: March 1, 2016
Uncle Sam was Samuel Appleton, brother of Longfellow's father-in-law Nathan Appleton and uncle to Longfellow's wife Fanny. Aunt Sam was Appleton's wife, Mary Lekain Gore Appleton. Longfellow had become friendly with "Aunt Sam" even before he was married to Frances Appleton.
As the holder has no markings, we do not know the identity of the manufacturer, or if the depicted scene is symbolic of anything in particular. We can say with certainty though that Longfellow enjoyed smoking cigars. References to smoking abound in Longfellow's journal and letters, and smoking was one of his fondest habits. In April of 1838, not too long after Longfellow took up residence in the Brattle Street mansion that he would later come to own, Henry wrote "Tired of everything and everybody. I must take to cigars again, for society, silent associates who consume themselves –burn themselves quite out in one's service."