Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Posters

10 Incredible Examples of Vintage Circus Posters

Featuring Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey “Greatest Show on Earth”

From the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress.

Early 20th century circus posters conveyed the energy and absurdity of their grandiose performances. They’re packed with trained animals of all varieties, mustachioed performers and exotic reenactments. These posters showcase a masterclass in graphic design. They display movement, bold text, great contrast and layered perspective.

Some of the most compelling and stunning examples of circus posters came from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth.”

1915. “Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth.”
1900. “The Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth. The marvelous foot-ball dogs.”
1896. “The Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth The world’s largest, grandest, best amusement institution.”
1900. “Ringling Bros, world’s greatest shows Raschetta brothers, marvelous somersaulting vaulters.”
1900. “The Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth. Wonderful performing geese, roosters and musical donkey.”
1895. “The Barnum and Bailey greatest show on earth–The world’s grandest, largest, best, amusement institution–The great ethnological Congress of curious people …”
1895. “The Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth Scenes in the grand water circus.”
1919-1930. “Christy Bros. 5 ring wild animal show circus poster.”
1909. “Ringling Bros presenting Schuman’s German horse circus poster.”
1908. “The Barnum Bailey greatest show on earth circus poster.”

 

World War 1 Recruitment Posters

17 WW1 Posters from the United States and Great Britain

From the Library of Congress.

The scale of the First World War is almost incomprehensible. When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, the dominoes of allegiance began to fall, and soon the worlds largest nations were forced into involvement. More than 70 million military personnel were globally mobilized. By the end, almost 38 million civilians and soldiers would die.

The pace of global involvement and the mounting number of casualties forced governments to sway public opinion and encourage enlistment. The government propaganda machines began to churn out advertisements. These posters appealed to adventure, patriotism, and honor, and if those failed to sway their target, then shame was the goal.

The poster “Adventure and action, Enlist in the field artillery, U.S. Army” from 1919 shows a line of soldiers on galloping horses at sunset. This, surely to entice those bored young men who sought travel and adventure.

“It’s up to you–Protect the nation’s honor, enlist now” depicts a stern Uncle Sam, and a sleeping young woman draped in American flags. Uncle Sam points directly at the viewer, daring them to turn their back on the country. Similarly, the famous British poster of Lord Kitchener pointing out, challenges the viewer to confront the war.

One of the most interesting examples is the 1915 poster from the Department of Recruiting for Ireland that declares “Can you any longer resist the call?” In the scene, a farmer holding a plow has a vision of St. Patrick gesturing toward the ruins of a cathedral.

Historic and vintage prints on Photistoric.

19??. Print by Schneck. "It's up to you--Protect the nation's honor, enlist now."
19??. Print by Schneck. “It’s up to you–Protect the nation’s honor, enlist now.”
1917. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. "I want you for U.S. Army : nearest recruiting station."
1917. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. “I want you for U.S. Army : nearest recruiting station.”
1918. Print by Montreal Litho. Co., Ltd. "We go next! Irish Canadian Rangers."
1918. Print by Montreal Litho. Co., Ltd. “We go next! Irish Canadian Rangers.”
1917. Print by American Lithograph Co. "Lend your money to your government Buy a United States government bond, second Liberty Loan of 1917, U.S. Treasury will pay you interest every six months."
1917. Print by American Lithograph Co. “Lend your money to your government Buy a United States government bond, second Liberty Loan of 1917, U.S. Treasury will pay you interest every six months.”
1917. Print by Hegman Print Company. "Uphold our honor - fight for us Join Army-Navy-Marines."
1917. Print by Hegman Print Company. “Uphold our honor – fight for us Join Army-Navy-Marines.”
1917. Print by Guenther. "Don't wait for the draft--Volunteer."
1917. Print by Guenther. “Don’t wait for the draft–Volunteer.”
1914-1918. Print by American Lithographic Co. "Our boys need sox - knit your bit American Red Cross."
1914-1918. Print by American Lithographic Co. “Our boys need sox – knit your bit American Red Cross.”
1915. Print by Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. "Join at once. Fight for the dear old flag."
1915. Print by Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. “Join at once. Fight for the dear old flag.”
1914. Print by Hill, Siffken & Co. "Another call "More men and still more until the enemy is crushed" Lord Kitchener."
1914. Print by Hill, Siffken & Co. “Another call “More men and still more until the enemy is crushed” Lord Kitchener.”
1919. Print by Harry S Mueller. "Adventure and action Enlist in the field artillery, U.S. Army."
1919. Print by Harry S Mueller. “Adventure and action Enlist in the field artillery, U.S. Army.”
1917. Print by August William Hutaf. "Treat 'em rough - Join the tanks United States Tank Corps."
1917. Print by August William Hutaf. “Treat ’em rough – Join the tanks United States Tank Corps.”
1914. Print by Alfred Leete. "Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You. Join Your Country's Army! God save the King."
1914. Print by Alfred Leete. “Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You. Join Your Country’s Army! God save the King.”
1917. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. "Wake up America! Civilization calls every man, woman and child!"
1917. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. “Wake up America! Civilization calls every man, woman and child!”
1915. Print by Department of Recruiting for Ireland. "Can you any longer resist the call?"
1915. Print by Department of Recruiting for Ireland. “Can you any longer resist the call?”
1917. Print by Paul R Boomhower. "Pull together men - the Navy needs us."
1917. Print by Paul R Boomhower. “Pull together men – the Navy needs us.”
1918. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. "Be a U.S. Marine!"
1918. Print by James Montgomery Flagg. “Be a U.S. Marine!”
1915. Print by The Publicity Arts, London. "The Publicity Arts, London."
1915. Print by The Publicity Arts, London. “The Publicity Arts, London.”

 

Louis Rhead’s Art Nouveau Posters

Louis Rhead was an acclaimed English-American artist and author. He created works in a variety of mediums, but remains most known for his striking Art Nouveau posters and advertisements.

Rhead emigrated to New York City in 1883 when he was just 24 years old to work as an art director at a US firm. He later capitalized on the poster craze of the 1890s, and the growing popularity of the Art Nouveau style.

Rhead’s excellent command of the figure and composition made him a sought after illustrator in his time. While less known than Alphones Mucha, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Aubrey Beardsley, Rhead deserves a place among the pantheon of his more well-known European contemporaries.

From the Library of Congress

1890-1900. Print by Louis Rhead. "Try vio-violet a new Lundborg perfume."
1890-1900. Print by Louis Rhead. “Try vio-violet a new Lundborg perfume.”
1896. Print by Louis Rhead. "L. Prang & Co.'s holiday publications."
1896. Print by Louis Rhead. “L. Prang & Co.’s holiday publications.”
1895. Print by Louis Rhead. "Photochrome engraving company."
1895. Print by Louis Rhead. “Photochrome engraving company.”
1896. Print by Louis Rhead. "Prang's Easter publications."
1896. Print by Louis Rhead. “Prang’s Easter publications.”
1890 - 1900. Print by Louis Rhead. "The Quartier Latin. A magazine devoted to the arts / Louis Rhead."
1890 – 1900. Print by Louis Rhead. “The Quartier Latin. A magazine devoted to the arts / Louis Rhead.”
1895. Print by Louis Rhead. "The Century, midsummer holiday number."
1895. Print by Louis Rhead. “The Century, midsummer holiday number.”
1894. Print by Louis Rhead. "The Century magazine for June."
1894. Print by Louis Rhead. “The Century magazine for June.”
1894. Print by Louis Rhead. "Century Magazine - Midsummer Holiday Number / Louis Rhead."
1894. Print by Louis Rhead. “Century Magazine – Midsummer Holiday Number / Louis Rhead.”

Japanese Woodcuts

10 Japanese Woodcut Vintage Prints from the 1800s

Woodcut prints have a rich and lasting tradition, and the technique has been adopted in countries across the world. But some of the finest and most enduring examples come from Japan. Their masterful use of color and form has been admired for generations.

The following prints date from the middle of the 19th century, and show the Japanese woodcut masters at the height of their prowess.

16946032105_e1cfeb1207_o 16945055641_06b7e5c843_o 16945052031_91e9a35156_o 16944709712_926fb8f7b8_o 16920078746_722ecef69a_o 16920074206_23be13fe1d_o 16920067086_87d33cca70_o 16758318618_2721ab8198_o 16323629904_c92cc16195_o

Fighting Tuberculosis

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

15 Medical Posters from Global Campaigns Against TB

Tuberculosis infection has been found in human remains as far back as the Neolithic Era. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, TB was the leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau promoted and established isolation techniques to fight TB in the 1880s. His efforts established an era of prevention and public education. Since then, many visual campaigns have promoted illustrative posters to fight the diseases spread. All of the posters in this series were downloaded from the History of Medicine (IHM)collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM). The posters provide an interesting international case-study of the various approaches designers have taken to convey public health information. Vintage Prints on Photistoric.

a025334_Photistoric
1984. “Soins de santé primaires la tuberculose.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Comité antituberculeux de Côte d’Ivoire.
a025809_Photistoric
1977. “Allaitement au sein” Photomechanical Print. Print by Comité antituberculeux de Côte d’Ivoire.
a026387_Photistoric
19??. “Achetez le timbre antituberculeux” Photomechanical Print. Print by Comité national de défense contre la tuberculose (France).
a026623_Photistoric
1918. “Il faut vaincre la tuberculose comme le plus malfaisant des reptiles.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Dorival, Géo, b. 1879.
a026647_Photistoric
19??. “Journée nationale des tuberculeux anciens militaires sauvons-les.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Faivre, Abel, 1867-1945.
C00453_Photistoric
19??. “Tuberculosis the foe of youth” Photomechanical Print. Print by ?.
C04244_Photistoric
1920. “Italiani, aiutate la Croce rossa nell’assistenza ai tubercolosi.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Cascella, Basilio, 1860-1950.
c-00402_Photistoric
195?. “A fine body may conceal tuberculosis, but modern methods uncover it before it does harm.” Photomechanical Print. Print by American Lung Association Christmas Seals.
c-00458_Photistoric
19??. “Tuberculosis, find it, treat it, conquer it” Photomechanical Print. Print by American Lung Association Christmas Seals.
c-00459_Photistoric
19??. “A good X-ray is your doctor’s best aid in discovering early tuberculosis.” Photomechanical Print. Print by American Lung Association Christmas Seals.
E00009_Photistoric
196?. “Yu fang fei jie he, bu yao sui di tu tan.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Tianjin ren min yin shua chang.
E00018_Photistoric
19??. “Yu fang jie he bing bu yao sui di tu tan.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Beijing Shi jie he bing fang zhi suo.
E00022_Photistoric
1955. “Yu fang fei lao bing, yao jiao zheng sui di tu tan de xi guan Zhonghua…” Photomechanical Print. Print by China. Wei sheng bu.
E00035_Photistoric
196?. “Jie zhong Ka Jie miao yu fang jie he bing.” Photomechanical Print. Print by Wulumuqi Shi di 2 ren min yi yuan.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

WPA Posters

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

16 Silkscreen Posters from the WPA

Included in Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration was funding for the Federal Art Project. At the close of the Federal Art Project in 1943, over 200,000 works had been made from artists including Mark Rothko, Grant Wood and Phillip Guston; now known around the world. Along with plays, murals and traditional paintings, many posters were made by artists for organisations also sponsored by the WPA. The incredible diversity of style and subject remain influential for graphic designers and artists today. Vintage prints on Photistoric.

13399u_Photistoric_LOC
1938. “Yellowstone National Park, Ranger Naturalist Service.” Silkscreen. Print by Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
3f05628u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1941. “More courtesy.” Screen Print. Silkscreen by Federal Art Project.
3f05632u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1937. “Result Three killed by speeding car at dark corner.” Silkscreen. Print by Federal Art Project.
3f05161u_Photistoric_LOC
1941-1943. “No enemy sub will dare lift its eye if you lend your Zeiss…” Silkscreen. Print by WPA.
3g04725u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1939. “Your Family Needs…” Silkscreen. Print by Charles Verschuuren.
3f05370u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1939. “W.P.A. Federal Theatre Presents…” Silkscreen. Print by Emmanuel DeColas.
3f05600u_Photistoric_LOC
1941-1943. “War Industry Needs Water…” Silkscreen. Print by Glenn Stuart Pierce.
3b49074u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1937. “Save Your Eyes Use…” Silkscreen. Print by WPA Illinois Safety Division.
3f05188u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1941. “Doctor Lawyer Merchant…” Silkscreen. Print by Illinois WPA Art Project.
3f05733u_Photistoric_LOC
1939. “Indian Court Federal…” Silkscreen. Print by Louis B. Siegriest.
3g05045u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1939. “Marionette Theatre Presents…” Silkscreen. Print by Charles Verschuuren.
3g05064u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1941. “Fruit Store.” Silkscreen. Print by Federal Art Project.
3b49066u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1937. “Failure Here May…” Woodcut. Print by Allan Nase.
31266u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1940. “Don’t Gum Up…” Silkscreen. Print by Gregg Arlington.
3b48836u_Photistoric_LOC
1936-1941. “Indian Art Of…” Silkscreen. Print by New York City W.P.A. Art Project.

[/expand][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Muybridge: In Motion

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” type=”full_width” height=”” columns_height=”normal_height” el_id=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

05947u_Photistoric
1893. “The zoopraxiscope–Horse galloping.” Color Lithograph. Print by Eadweard Muybridge.
4 Animated GIFs of Phenakistoscopes by Eadweard Muybridge

In 1879 Eadweard Muybridge invented the first movie projector. Earlier iterations of a spinning sequence of images had come before, but no one had thought to project them through glass and onto a wall. He called his invention the Zoopraxiscope. By combining photography, the magic lantern and the Phenakistoscope, Muybridge was able to project a moving image for an audience of people. Before this eureka moment, Muybridge was creating his own Phenakistoscopes. The Phenakistoscopes seen on this page would produce an illusion of motion when the user spun the disc, and looked through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. These lithographic prints were modeled from Muybridge’s more well known photographic motion studies. These discs represent another phase in Muybridge’s lifelong quest to understand motion and time. Vintage prints on Photistoric.

05948u_Photistoric
1893. “The zoopraxiscope–Athletes–Boxing.” Color Lithograph. Print by Eadweard Muybridge.
05949u_Photistoric
1893. “The zoopraxiscope – a couple waltzing.” Color Lithograph. Print by Eadweard Muybridge.
05946u_Photistoric
1893. “The zoopraxiscope – a horse back somersault.” Color Lithograph. Print by Eadweard Muybridge.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” type=”full_width” height=”” columns_height=”normal_height”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]