P. T. Barnum's Illustrated News

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P.T. Barnum’s Illustrated News (Buffalo, N.Y.: Courier Company, 1880). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) issued an annual newspaper, sent out in advance of the circus as an advertising circular. This one was prepared for Jefferson City, Missouri; you can see where the location has been dropped into the top of the front page.

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“To My Many Patrons. Season of 1880. During the season of 1879, Barnum’s Own and Only Greatest Show on Earth was exhibited to more people than attended the exhibition of nearly all the other show on the entire continent combined. Why was this? Because, I had the best show ever organized either in America, or Europe, and its various attractions gave instruction, pleasure, and healthy amusement to nearly two millions of people! So great was the popularity of this gigantic show, so vast its proportions, and so varied and novel were its attractions, that I could have sent out the same show this season and it would, undoubtedly, have received as large a patronage as it received last season. …” —P.T. Barnum

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I've always enjoyed the dynamism and sheer fun of circus posters, and I love these P.T. Barnum graphics! The Zazel human cannonball piece is so full of life and kinetic energy!