All big circuses in the first half of the 20th century carried a large menagerie of wild animals. This was a popular and highly educational feature. The attractive montage on this Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily circus poster of the 1920's indicates the vast and varied collection of animals that would be on display. Learn More
In the days of the big tented circuses, the hippodrome races, usually reserved for the finale, were especially exciting. The furiously thundering hooves of the galloping horses would bring the entire audience to their feet. The original circus poster was created for Sells Brothers Circus by Strobridge artists in the 1890's. Learn More
On this Barnum & Bailey circus poster, the press agents of 1905 called this thrill act 'a fearful frolic with fate'. Indeed, all acts of this type - whether the performers operated somersaulting autos, rode hurtling bicycles over enormous gaps, or were catapulted from a huge crossbow or shot out of a cannon - were truly daring and dangerous. Learn More
In 1909 Desperado made his terrific descent twice a day, and sometimes three times. The Strobridge artists captured all of the thrill of this unbelievable act on this beautiful Barnum & Bailey circus poster art. Learn More
In this nice circus poster of the 1920s the artist has made a clever composite of the routines performed by these male lions. In actuality, the trainer would put these big cats through their paces one trick at a time; this avoids confusion and keeps each animal's attention riveted on the particular routine which he is responsible. Learn More
Tiger acts have always been popular because of the enormous size of the animals and their startling beauty. The black leopard was added to the group for variety and perhaps for prestige. This old Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey circus poster dates to the 1920s, when there were some 50 men and women trainers presenting big-cat acts on 14 circuses. Learn More
In 1903 Barnum & Bailey presented an unusually lavish Spectacle of Balkis(the Arabic name of the biblical Queen of Sheba). At this period all the big railroad circuses staged these pantomine productions involving hundreds of beautifully wardrobed people, scores of horses and dozens of elephants, camels, zebras, and llamas. The subject might be Joan of Arc, Cinderella or Nero and the Burning of Rome. All these productions were part of the circus, presented in the big tent. Learn More
This 1896 circus poster depicts the big combined show of 'The Adam Forepaugh Show' and the 'Sells Brothers Big Show'. Both the artwork and the insistent text of this Strobridge poster of 1896 emphasize the bigness of the show. The thousands of circus-bound people pouring out of the excursion trains clinch the effect. Learn More
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