While doing some thesis-related research on the Circus Historical Society online archive this evening, I came across a digitized copy of this marvelous 1934 Illustrated Circus World. It’s really an advertisement for the 1934 season of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, the second largest traveling circus in the USA in the early twentieth-century. The images of the performers and animals are delightful to look through, but I was even more captivated by the vintage commercial advertisements included throughout, like the $715 Pontiac, the Frigidaire, indigestion gum and Dr. West’s double-quick toothpaste. I’m also enamored with the particular way some of the headlines are worded: “A dazzling paragon of rainbow gorgeousness” “Sure the circus is fun…but so is making things with batteries!” “Nothing seems impossible when your digestion is good.” I think it’s a real treasure of advertising ephemera.
I’ve kept the pages in order from top to bottom, so you can get a feel for what it might have been like to browse through it in 1934! (You can also access the original digital file here). What are your favorite details?
Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things:
- Vintage advertisements for medical leeches
- Damaged wax figures from 1925 Madame Tussaud’s fire
- The Bone Mother: illustrations from Russian fairy tales
- Cleaning the elephant skin