Back when tobacco cards were in their infancy, Allen & Ginter was producing everything from birds to baseball players to masters of different crafts onto its cards. It made the set interesting to collect and not just another throwaway item, which is what most people did with their cards.
One of the odder sets, by today's standards, would be the Rifle Shooters series from 1888. Out of the four cards listed on this card's back, the oddest one would be Miss Annie Oakley. If a card was produced of a modern day woman surrounded by guns, there would be an outcry from politically correct people calling for banishment.
Thankfully, the nineteenth century was a different time, in that respect. Thanks to the care that the Allen & Ginter company put into their "throwaway" product, there is an interesting and varied set left to collect today.
Some of these cards can be had for a steal. Others, you will pay an arm and a leg for. In this regard, eBay is your new best friend. My only collecting interest in nineteenth century cards would be baseball players from the Sioux City Cornhuskers of the Western League, from 1894, and the St. Paul Apostles (also known as the Saints), from 1895 - 1899. I haven't found any examples of cards from these teams, but I haven't exhaustively searched for them either.
For those of you complaining about the addition of other subjects than baseball players in the revival of Allen & Ginter cards from Topps, these oddball subjects were there from the beginning. Why change something that has worked since the nineteenth century?