1887 Illustrated American Circus Broadside Poster "frank Robbins' Circus"
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1887 Illustrated American Circus Broadside Poster "frank Robbins' Circus":
Outstanding and EXCEPTIONALLY RARE, original, 1887, extensively illustrated American Circus Advertising Broadside announcing the appearance of the “Frank A. Robbins' Double Circus, Museum, Menagerie and Trained Animal Paradox" - an "Extravaganza" that included a two ring circus, "Double Menageries", "Museum of Living Wonders", and much, much more!!!
This wonderful and early, double sided "streamer" type, American Circus Broadside measures approx. 7” by 29” and is printed on a very delicate, cream colored paper stock. The Broadside advertises an appearance of Frank A. Robbins' Circus which included some of the most famous performers and amazing trained animal acts of the period. This is a double sided - streamer type Broadside with both sides featuring outstanding illustrations as well as barnumesque text in various and elaborate fonts.
The "front" side of the Broadside is titled at the top "The New and Grand Show of Frank A. Robbins is Coming Like the Breath of Spring to Charm, Delight, and Amuse Everyone". This side of the Broadside features a simply fantastic illustration of "Dancing Elephants" at the top and 7 smaller illustrations of such wonders as Charles Fish - the greatest of Equestrian Performers - standing on one leg atop a galloping horse; the beautiful and talented Jeal Sisters performing on horseback; an exotic and beautiful Snake charmer; world champion marksman Chevalier Ira Paine shooting a Playing Card from the hand of a beautiful assistant; "Elephant Band" with 7 elephants dressed in marching band uniforms playing instruments including a viola, horns, bells, cymbals, a base drum and an organ grinder's organ; Camels; and Lions. Beside these illustrations is a long list of the major "acts" described in the grandest of terms.
The opposite side of the Broadside Streamer is titled at the top “The Wonderful Attractions That Frank A. Robbins Has Secured for Exhibition Here. / Champions, Specialties, Originalities, Novelties!”. There are also three fantastic, large illustrations include a view of Chevalier Ira Paine "Mastershot of the World" shooting a Playing Card from the hand of a beautiful assistant; a montage of images of the beautiful Jeal Sisters performing amazing equestrian feats; and "Charles W. Fish / Champion of the World" performing on horseback. This side of the Broadside features grandiose "barnumesque" text in various and elaborate fonts including another listing of the top acts and attractions along with a note to the public that reads "See the Big Street Parade!". At the bottom of the sheet is printed text announcing a performance of the Circus at Chelsea, Massachusetts on Saturday June 11, 1887.
This incarnation of the Frank A. Robbins Circus appears to have existed from 1881 through 1893 - with the 1887 and 1888 seasons being among its most successful. As can be seen by the content of the Broadside offered here, it was certainly a true “extravaganza”!!
This exceptionally rare and original, 1887, American Circus Illustrated Broadside is in good to very good condition - the sheet is very clean with no staining or soiling. The printed text and illustrations are dark and bold and very attractive. There are some horizontal creases and two complete, clean, horizontal separation at the lowest folds (approx 3 3/4" and 7 1/2" up from the bottom of the sheet). There are also some partial separations at some of the other folds as well as a number of edge chips in the right hand margin. There are some small areas of paper loss within the main body of the broadside as can be seen in the scans below. There have been a few small pieces of archival document repair tape affixed to one side of the Broadside to reinforce some of the separations (see the scans below). With a professional matting and framing using the proper color backing material, the small areas of loss will be significantly less obtrusive than as seen in the scans below (taken with a bright white background to highlight the areas of loss for potential buyers). Overall this 125 year old Broadside is well preserved given the very delicate nature of the paper stock on which it is printed and will display beautifully even with all faults.
A very rare, very attractive and important, 1887 American Circus, Illustrated Advertising Broadside and a fantastic addition to an collection!!!
Be sure to check out this seller’s other sales another fantastic illustrated 19th century Circus Broadside which is also being offered for sale this week on !!
PLEASE NOTE: The massive collection of Circus Posters held by the “John and Mable Ringling Circus Museum” does not include an example of this Broadside not does it hold any Posters / Broadsides from the 19th century incarnation of the Frank Robbins Circus. We were unable to uncover any other examples of this or any 19th century Frank A. Robbins Circus Broadsides in institutions or sold over the past 10 years. We believe that , not only is the Broadside offered here exceptionally rare but it may, in fact, be the only known example!!!
The following is the entry for Frank A. Robbins from "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle" Compiled and Edited by William L. Slout:
ROBBINS, FRANK A. (June 15, 1854-October 10, 1920) Rider and showman. Started in the circus business as a candy butcher. Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby, 1870; Hemmings & Cooper, 1871; George F. Bailey 1872-73?; concert ticket seller, Warner, Henderson & Springer, 1874; Melville, Maginley & Cooke, 1875; candy stand, P. T. Barnum’s, 1876; VanAmburgh’s, 1877; P. T. Barnum’s, 1878; Was a protégé of Adam Forepaugh’s, menagerie booklets, 1879; privileges, Pullman & Hamilton, 1880. Started his own show, May 6, 1881, and continued with it for several years, including the New York Circus, 1893, which sailed up the Hudson on a chartered steamer, stopping at various cities. General manager, Robert Hunting’s, 1894-95; lessee and general manager, New York Circus, 1897; Frank A. Robbins United Shows (Frank A. Robbins, Gil Robinson, John W. Hamilton, W. A. Conklin, proprietors), 1898; sideshow manager, Sun Bros.’, 1899. November 9, 1910, his 18 year old daughter, Winona, disappeared from her home in Jersey City and was married several hours later to Ray W. Anders, a 23 year old candy butcher. Operated his own show, 1905-1915. Retired from the circus business, fall 1915. Unable to remain idle, entered the carnival business as well as placing circus acts in vaudeville. 1916, was one of the first showmen to transport by motor trucks. Used specially constructed 2-ton trucks for the baggage with trailers for the cages, ticket wagons and chandelier wagon. [Robbins: “I have been investigating the feasibility of motor truck transportation for upwards of a year and have convinced myself that it is the one and only proper method. I figure that we can save from $35,000 to $40,000 on transportation in a season and what is more, it will enable me to visit and show in towns where under ordinary conditions, by railroad haulage, it would be impossible.”] Was a resident of Jersey City, NJ, for some 20 years where he headquartered his show. Had a wife, Matilda, a daughter, Winona, and a son, Milton A. Died at Riverside Hospital, Charleston, SC, from the effects of injuries incurred when he fell 20’ through a skylight at Andrews, SC, on October 10.
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