This vintage real photo postcard is an advertisement for a circus. Translated, the title states Zoe Bastien: King of the Circus. I do not know if “Zoe Bastien” is the name of the circus or if it is the name of the pictured acrobat. I am guessing that it is the name of the acrobat but I can not find confirmation. The photographs seen on this postcard were taken by L Marcellin. He operated a studio in Belley, a community in eastern France. The postcard has a tiny chip on the bottom right edge portion of the card. SOLD

Published in: on December 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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daisy belmont 1 2020-05-11_225230

Daisy Belmont (1871-1896) was a circus equestrian and performer. She made her theater debut at three years of age and her career took off. Her repertoire included singing, and dancing and in time, bare back riding. She sometimes preformed with her siblings, Lottie and Charles. Her performing career took her to Asia, Australia, and South America.  In 1889, at age 18, she married William Showles (1857-1924), a “dashing” young equestrian who rode with Sells Brothers circus.   She became the most famous bareback rider in the country.  Tragically, after returning to America after performing “on the road” in Austalia, she died from Bright’s disease at age twenty-five.  Miss Belmont’s obituary indicates that she was a “successful with Barnum’s circus” (P T Barnum) as a bare back rider. Daisy Belmont has been described as “the embodiment of grace and feminine loveliness”. She died and was buried in Chicago, Illinois. This cabinet card features Miss Belmont. She appears to be in her mid teenage years at the time of this photograph. She is displaying a sweet smile. She is posed as if she is jumping rope. Most images that I have seen of Daisy, capture her at a significantly younger or older age than this image. The photo studio that produced this cabinet card portrait is C. C. C. Co. of Chicago.  (SOLD)             



This vintage snapshot photograph features a Clyde Beatty Circus Truck. It appears that the circus has come to town.  The photo was taken in 1959. The date is printed on  the top border of the photograph. Clyde Beatty (1903-1965) was an animal trainer and zoo owner in Florida. His first job at a circus was as a cage cleaner. He rose in status as he became an animal trainer. He was known for his lion taming acts. Eventually, in 1945, he became a circus owner and later merged with the Cole Brothers Circus.Beatty was famous for his “fighting act”. He would enter a cage with wild animals with a whip and a pistol strapped to his side. He demonstrated his courage by facing a cage full of animals including lions, tigers and cougars. At the peak of his career, Beatty’s act featured 40 lions and tigers. Beatty was so popular that he appeared in films between the 1930’s and the 1950’s.  He appeared on television in the 1960’s. The snapshot measures 3 1/2″ x 5″ and is in very good condition.

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Published in: on March 16, 2020 at 7:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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baraboo 1A cute little girl with curly hair poses in a studio created field of daisies for photographer Sim Mould. The studio was located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The girl is wearing a dress wth a lace collar and has a flower pinned to the front of her dress. An inscription on the reverse of the cabinet card indicates that the child’s name is Hattie Acot. Unfortunately, no biographical information could be found about her. The photographer, Mr. Mould is mentioned in a number of photographic journals. He placed an ad for his studio in a book about Sauk County, Wisconsin (1891). The Photographic Times (1898) reports on his appointment to a lobbying committee of the Photographers Association of Wisconsin. The Encyclopedia Dubuque (1911) reveals that Sim Mould operated a photographic studio at 107 Main Street in Dubuque, Iowa. The town of Baraboo is situated on the Baraboo river. The town was settled by Abe Wood and originally called Adams. In 1852 it was renamed Baraboo. In the town’s early history it became the home of several sawmills. In the nineteenth century the town served as the headquarters of several circuses, including Ringling Brothers. Baraboo became known as “Circus City”.  This cabinet card portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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circus dogs

This vintage real photo postcard features five circus dogs posed as if they were begging. The dogs are adorable and the photographer did an excellent job of posing these “talented” canines. The caption is in French and roughly means “Doggies Right Alignment”. The photograph is by the famed Albert Bergeret (1859-1932), a leading French postcard producer. Printing on the front of the postcard lists the studio as being located in Nancy. A postmark on the card indicates that it was mailed in 1902. To view other examples of Bergeret’s work and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Bergeret”.

circus dogs 1

Published in: on April 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ball walker

This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who likely performed in a balancing act for an unidentified circus. She has one foot on a ball that was used for balancing feats. The photograph is a bit risque for it’s era. The young lady is displaying a bit of a devilish grin. Note the upside down ghost image at the top of this image. The logo of the McDannell studio in Wattsburg, Pennsylvania is visible and the cause of this phenomenon is that this cabinet card was likely stored face-to-face with the McDannell cabinet card and The McDannell logo was pressed printed onto this circus performer photograph. It is worth mentioning that one of Mcdannell’s photographs is a resident of the Cabinet Card Gallery collection. The above cabinet card image was produced by the Rykert studio in Buffalo, New York. Chauncy W. Rykert and William Rykert were both photographers in Buffalo. Both men shared a studio on Buffalo’s Jefferson Street in the late 1870’s. Chauncy is the most likely one who produced this image as he remained a photographer in Buffalo for many more years than William.

Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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HUMAN CANON BALL_0005This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young woman who was quite a daredevil. She was the first female canonball. Her stage name was Rose Zazel. In this photograph she is wearing her namesake rose as well as a necklace, bracelet, and earrings. She is also wearing a risque costume. Miss Zazel’s act involved being shot from a spring loaded cannon invented by “The Great Farini”. Zazel’s given name was Rossa Matilda Richter and she was just 14 years of age when she was engaging in this exciting but reckless behavior. At one point, she toured with the PT Barnum Circus. Eventually she suffered a career ending injury when she missed a safety net and suffered a broken back. The information I cited about Rose Zazel comes from an interesting article on Scribol.com. The article is entitled “Seven Most Mind Blowing She-Daredevils in History” and it was written by Karl Fabricus. The article included the image below which is a poster advertising an appearance of “Zazel the Human Projectile”.  This cabinet card image was photographed by Marc Gambier, a well known photographer of celebrities. You can view more of his images and learn more about him in the category “Photographer: Gambier”.



This cabinet card features a young boy who is likely a professional acrobat. The lad’s costume certainly is strongly suggestive that he is a circus performer. The child, as well as the photographer and the location of the studio, are  all unidentified.

Published in: on August 4, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card is not a high quality photograph. It is out of focus and poorly posed. However, don’t complain because as the saying goes,  never look a gift horse in the mouth. Speaking about horses, what do you think about this fancy equine?  It is likely a horse from a circus or carnival. Although the hair extensions on the horse could not be more gaudy, it is important to note that someone went to a great deal of trouble and spent a lot of time to dress up this horse. The man handling the horse may be a trainer or perhaps a barn worker. The photograph was taken outside. There is no available information pertaining to the identity of the horse or photographer. The location where the photograph was taken is also unknown.

Published in: on April 10, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  
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This cabinet card features a pretty, Rose Austin, of the Austin Sisters, who were well known trapeze artists. On the reverse of the photograph is a pencilled notation that states the performer’s name and “Bath Beach, Long Island, New York” (Bath Beach is in Brooklyn). The image was published by the Robinson & Roe studio which had galleries in both Chicago and New York City. The Circus Historical Society’s web site cites the “Austin Family”. Its members included R.G., Aimee (1870-1907), George E., and Rose. Among their venues were Orrin Brothers (1883-1884), W. W. Cole (1885), Coney Island (1892), and Bentley’s (1895). Aimee Austin, born in London, was an aerialist who was known as the “Human Fly” for her talent of “ceiling walking”. She began performing with Rose Austin, at nine years of age, as part of the Austin Sisters aerial act which played at the Circus Rentz, in Berlin, Germany. The act was managed by R. G. Austin. The aerialist performed with various European circuses before coming to the United States. Rose Austin was the subject of three articles in the New York Times. A 1892 article was entitled “Cannot Find Rose Austin”. The article reported that the disappearance of Ms. Austin from her home in Bath Beach. She was described as a well known trapeze performeer and leader of the “clever” Austin Sisters. It was also metioned that she was the wife of R. G. Austin; the manager of the Australian Theatrical Company. At the time of her disappearance, she and her sister were performing at Vaceas’s West End Casino in Coney Island, New York. She had been last seen boarding a ferry bound for New York City. The article points out that Ms. Austin had suffered from epilepsy for the previous four or five years and had experienced a severe attack about ten days earlier.(An acrobat with epilepsy? Doesn’t seem like a terrific career choice.). The article closes with a statement that both Rose Austin’s husband and her doctor, believed that she was either in a hospital, or had fallen off the ferry and drowned. A follow up article (1892) revealed that Ms. Austin had been found and was currently confined to bed as “she is wandering in her mind”. She couldn’t account for her whereabouts or activities during the time she was missing and last remembered falling ill on the ferry. A third article in the New York Times (1894) reports that Rose fell from a trapeze while performing with her brother George in Coney Island. She fell after fainting (one would imagine she had a epileptic seizure). She and her brother fell into a net together and knocked heads, rendering them both unconscious. George recovered quickly but Rose was brought home to Bensonhurst (Brooklyn) in a delirious condition. To view other photographs by Robinson and Roe, and to learn a little about them, click on the category “Photographer: Robinson & Roe”.  SOLD