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Why Matchbookology

Matchbookology was launched in 2020 to entertain people interested in art, design, history and trivia.

It is, in part, the stories behind the matchbooks in a 40 year old collection, and my personal stories of the places, services and products represented by the matchbooks. I know many of you will have had your own experiences with the very same places and I hope to hear your stories as well, as the Matchbookology site grows.


Let’s face it, we’ve all collected a matchbook or two in our lifetime!


I hope to bring back those fond memories we’ve all tucked neatly away and raise them to the surface as a warm reminder of the rich lives we’ve led.


As a New Yorker (born in da Bronx) many of the matchbooks in my collection are from New York City. There are many others from my travels nationally, and globally. 


Matchbooks were easy to collect when I was growing up, however it has become increasingly difficult to collect them with bans on tobacco smoking and the invention of electronic cigarettes. Smoking is frowned upon and matchbooks are, sadly, collateral damage. They are a dying advertising form as there are fewer and fewer cigarette smokers.  


As for me?

For as long as I can remember my life has been filled with art. My Mom painted, made string art, and macramé plant hangers. Our family trips to Manhattan were a mix of visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, shopping on Orchard Street, and eating cha siu bao (pork buns) in Chinatown. I was absorbed in the arts and culture New York City had to offer from a very young age.


My parents collected art over the years as they traveled. We lived in a house lined with artwork and rich with stories they’ve conveyed about each piece– how they came to own it, and what it means to them. I love listening to them retell these stories whenever I can.


They supported my love of art. They sent me to a pre-college program at Rhode Island School of Design and got me into an adult education course (at 16 years old) with Ed Brodsky of the ad agency DDB. I learned to love design and the thinking that goes along with it.


I graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and spent about 10 years as a communication designer in the more traditional marketing world before transitioning into digital. I worked, and continue to work, developing integrated digital products and programs for some of the world’s most well-known brands. Over the course of my career I’ve won awards for logos, printed communications, web sites and a variety of interactive experiences for Canon USA, Kimco Realty, Mercedes Benz, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, and more. I love what I do and, look to continue creating great experiences for people.


However, that passion for the history behind the objects my parents shared with me has driven me to step away from my comfort zone, in visual and experience design, and into writing and sharing my stories as told through the matchbooks I’ve collected.


I hope these stories entertain you and inspire you to remember, reminisce, and share your own stories with those around you.

Cheryl Oppenheim

The Matchbookologist

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