Wednesday, August 01, 2012


1890 was only the third year the title of Barnum & Bailey was in use. They created a performance that was pure pagentry at it's finest that they called NERO. Their 20 page program consisted of the beautiful foldout shown below, a couple pages of the deigners and dept. heads, then the rest of the program tells all about NERO. Quite an unusual display by today's standards but was grand enough to be packing folks into a 10,000 seat arena.

Having held it in my hands and actually seen it, all I can say is WOW!


Dick Flint said...

This is not exactly a program but a libretto to the pageant--a book enabling the audience to follow along and sometimes containing the text. Barnum & Bailey still issued a program for the main show listing each display. Until they went to Europe, theirs and all other circus programs were 4-page tabloids with lots of local advertising for the one day played and, of course, the usual list of acts. The program book as we know it is a 20th-century creation.
Dick Flint

Bob Cline said...

Thank you Dick. You are a blessing to all of us historians.

Unknown said...

I assume something similar appeared at Olympia in 1889-90 although I've never seen one. Certainly our 1889-90 programmes were the 4 page more adverts than info type.

Fred Neill