What was known as ‘The Golden Age of American Circus’ lasted, roughly, from the last quarter of the 1800’s through 1950. During that time, circus as an industry got a huge boost from the expansion of the transcontinental rail system and managed to survive the Great Depression.
The poster advertisements from this era remain so wonderfully iconic – and the Ringling Museum website hosts an impressive 4,977 of them in one of their digital archives. I am now the proud owner of the metadata for the entire archive – thanks to Python scraping.
This resulting project site is called Tack Spitter Circus after the original Tack Spitters – who traveled ahead of the circus to post these kinds of advertisements by spitting tacks held in their mouth onto a magnetic hammer.
This is my (so far) favorite poster from the Ringling archive.
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