Posters from the 1800's and 1900's
Quite literally, the traveling circus was “here today – gone tomorrow”. Since the how would usually be in a town for only one day, and give only two performances, the circus management contrived ahead of time many ways to advertise.
Approximately two weeks prior to show day, the advance crew of the circus arranged for the publication of advertisements in newspapers, the distribution of heralds and the mailing of couriers to let everyone know their show was coming to town.
The most important tool used by the advertising crew was the lithograph or poster. Posters of ½-sheet size or 1-sheet size (28” x 42”) were hung in store windows by the hundreds. Posters of larger sizes, such as 3-sheet (42” x 84”), 6-, 9-, 16-, 20-, 28-sheet and many other sizes, including rarely, 100-sheets, were pasted on sheds, barns, buildings, walls and fences. When appropriate space was available, the billposters simply went to the local lumberyard, purchased the necessary material, built a board fence around a vacant lot, and then pasted their posters on it.
In this mock exhibit, viewers would be able to see first hand the different types of posters produced for the many different traveling venues. The hosting museum would have been the Eisner Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is also the home to the Circus Museum in Baraboo.
So COME ONE COME ALL, COME VIEW THE GREATEST POSTERS ON EARTH!