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.”