This exceptional table mat is made of cigar silks that were used as advertising for cigar companies. They bundled the cigars in groups of 25 - 50 and used the ribbons to tie them together. In addition to being functional, they served as advertising with the name of the company printed on each. This one has several mentions of Harvard and the Harvard Club in addition.
Cigars were the most popular tobacco product of the 19th century.
The edging of this piece is large and elaborate. It measures 7 1/2 inches wide. The entire piece, including the edging is 50 inches square, most likely made to be used as a table cover. Condition is excellent.