Item #009929 1893 – Colorful handbill advertising Hagenbeck’s Zoological Arena at the World’s Columbian Exposition
1893 – Colorful handbill advertising Hagenbeck’s Zoological Arena at the World’s Columbian Exposition

1893 – Colorful handbill advertising Hagenbeck’s Zoological Arena at the World’s Columbian Exposition

[Chicagi, Illionois]: {1893}. Unbound. The handbill measures approximately 14” 5.25”. The front is illustrated with seven colorful images of performing animal acts that were shown within Hagenbeck’s Zoological Arena at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The reverse includes an image of the Arena, which was located on the exposition’s Midway Plaisance, as well as a map showing its location and a description of what could be found inside. In nice shape with three light storage folds.

The advertising text touts some of the highlights within Hagenbeck’s Arena, some of which are illustrated on this handbill. It reads in part.

“Hagenbeck is renowned the world over as the most successful animal trainer and as the largest dealer in wild animals. . .. The menagerie shows to visitorsa large collection of lions of all sizes and ages, numbering twenty-two, one Polar bear, Thilbet bears, Malay bears, a collection of the finest boarhounds. . . a number of panthers, leopards and Bengal tigers. The large monkey show and parrot exhibit comprises the rarest varieties ever collected.

“The arena serves the purpose of showing the wonderful training which . . . NO VISITOR TO THE FAIR SHOULD FAIL TO WITNESS. . .. The most prominent features of these performances are THE TRAINED LIONS ON HORSEBACK, TRAINED PIGS PERFORMING EVOLUTIONS . . . FIVE NUBIAN GIANT LIONS [and] the DWARF ELEPHANT ‘LILLY,’ which is the smallest elephant ever known.”

. Very good. Item #009929

Carl Hagenbeck was a German wild animal merchant who supplied many European zoos as well as well as P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome, and its later incarnations. He created the first modern zoo that featured animals in unbarred enclosures that resembled their natural habitats and was founder of Germany’s famous Tierpark Hagenbeck. He was also a showman, and created this circus, Hagenbeck’s Zoological Arena, specifically for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Her perfected his exhibition for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, where it was one of the most popular attractions. After the fair, Hagenbeck sold his circus to B. E. Wallace who merged it with his own to form the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, which for many years was the second largest American circus and Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s biggest rival.

A scarce piece of circus and world’s fair history. At the time of listing, no other examples are for sale in the trade, and none are held in institutional collections per OCLC. The Rare Book Hub identifies one as having appeared at auction mixed within a lot of circus ephemera.

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Price: $200.00