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  EXCEPTIONAL THREE-SHEET BROADSIDE FOR HUNT BROS. CIRCUS & WILD WEST SHOW, circa 1900-1910
Dimensions (inches): Frame - 64" x 29", Site Size - 54.25" x 19.25"
Description:
Three-sheet, narrow, vertical broadside, made to advertise Hunt Brothers Circus and Wild West Show ca 1900-1910. With the bold headlines “Buffalo Ranch” and “Real Wild West” in red and white, on the center sheet, the elaborate and strikingly colorful, stone lithographed illustrations feature Arabs riding camels at full speed, along the top register, followed by “Equestrian Football,” to the lower, left, and a Native American show, also on horseback, with participants riding in full war dress. Below the center register is a compelling image called “The Real Indian War Dance.”

Along the very bottom, fanciful, turquoise medallions contain headlines for featured events, including “A Lesson in the History of Pioneers,” (no-doubt referencing an Indian attack on a wagon train, a popular theme in Wild West shows,) plus “Games of the Real Redmen” and “Camel Races.”

The poster is signed along the bottom edge, identifying the maker as Riverside Print Company of Milwaukee and Chicago, followed by a numerical designation of “3319.” Riverside produced a plethora of material for menageries, circuses, carnivals, and the like at the turn-of-the-century.

I previously owned a very similar variant of this poster, with slightly different text in one of the medallions, and “World’s Champion Rodeo” in the center, in place of “Buffalo Ranch / Real Wild West.”

Charles T. Hunt Sr., a.k.a., "Mr. Circus," was born in Kingston, N.Y. August of 1873. He claimed to be a descendant of Colonel Thomas Hunt (b. 1581 in Shrops, England, d. 1666 in Rye, NY), who was said to have come to America in 1628. In 1892, at the age of 19, Charles started his first circus in Kingston, with partners W. C. Brainard and Eugene Feralto. Brainard was business manager and master of ceremonies. Feralto, the strongman, was known as the “Skeleton Giant.” Hunt did a tight wire act, juggled on slack wire, and performed on Roman rings.

Hunt married in 1892, the same year he began the circus. His mother worked the front door in the early days, and his father was the purchasing agent, repairman, and ticket seller. Records show that in 1941, when the circus was celebrating its 50th year of performances, his growing family was integral throughout the business. His wife worked the front door. His daughter, Charlotte, performed perch and iron jaw acts. His son, Charles, Jr., was both a bareback rider and trapeze artist, and served as equestrian director. The wife of Charles, Jr., an aerialist, orchestrated the menagerie. Charles’ other son, Harry, served as assistant manager and legal adjuster, while Harry's wife ran the ticket wagon. Their son, Edward, was a clown, rode bareback, and performed in the roller-roller act. The show became the oldest circus owned and operated by one family. In 1942, the base of operations moved from Kingston to Burlington County, New Jersey, near the town of Florence, and remained there until the circus closed its doors. in 1978.

Mounting: The 2-part frame consists of a textured, black molding with a convex face and a deep, shadowbox profile, to which a gilded molding, with a beveled profile, was added as a liner. A mat, wrapped in 100% cotton twill, black in color, was used to support the poster away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective plexiglass. The black fabric was washed and treated for colorfastness.

Condition: There are 3 fold lines and minor creases with loss. There are lots of tears in the white, outer border, beyond the red line that frames the headlines and images. Archival, paper tape with minimal adhesion was used to mend these, on the reverse, for stability. There are a couple of modest tears in the lithographed portion. These were mended in the same fashion. The colors are extraordinary.
   
Primary Color: multicolored
Earliest Date: 1900
Latest Date: 1910
For Sale Status: Available
Price $14,500
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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