Item #6459 The Frontiersman. A Story of Life on the Plains. Season of 1890. Adam Forepaugh.
The Frontiersman. A Story of Life on the Plains. Season of 1890.
The Frontiersman. A Story of Life on the Plains. Season of 1890.

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The Frontiersman. A Story of Life on the Plains. Season of 1890.

[New York: 1889]. Folio circular, 21” x 14”. 4 pp. on a folded sheet. Illus.

A large illustrated circular promoting a Wild West-cum-circus show in New York City produced by Adam Forepaugh.

Adam Forepaugh (1831–1890) was one of the great circus organizers of 19th century America from immediately after the Civil War until his death in 1890. Forepaugh is generally credited with devising the “Wild West” idea as part of his 1869 show, although he did not create a separate show until after “Buffalo Bill” Cody began his act in 1883. This large circular, advertising the coming 1890 season, was probably printed in late 1889, as Forepaugh died 24 Jan. 1890 and is here referred to as the manager for upcoming events. His son, Adam Forepaugh Jr., an elephant trainer, is billed here as manager as well, possibly because Adam was in poor health. A rival of P. T. Barnum, Forepaugh Sr. once remarked that he would prevail over Barnum because “I have a boy and Mr. Barnum has none. My show will outlast his.” However, while Forepaugh Jr. worked for his father, he did not succeed him in the circus business.

At the time of publication, Forepaugh had staged some 153 exhibitions of his Great Wild West Show in New York City, and had expended some $60,000 on the production. Now “united” with his Mammoth Circus Organization, both entertainments were to be exhibited under an immense spread of canvas. The production is described as offering “the heroic story of our country's progress realistically illustrated.” Wood-cut illustrations here depict some of the show’s acts and figures: ‘Rain-in-the-face’ (the slayer of Custer); The Old Deadwood Stage Coach (“The First Shot-Danger Ahead”); Capt. A. H. Bogardus (a famous crack shot); Capt. A. H. Bogardus (“Champion All Round Shot of the World”); Sheridan's Ride; The Atrocious Mountain Meadow Massacre; Two Leading Cowboys, Broncho Bill and Round-up-Bob; Cowboys Sports & Pastimes; Senational and Startling Reproduction of Gen. Custer's Memorable Battle on the Little Big Horn; 40 Horses Ridden & Driven by one Man; ‘Eclipse,’ The Trapeze Horse; portraits of Forepaugh Sr. and Jr., and more. Upon its debut in the city, 10,000 people attended—including Gen. Sherman, Governor Hill, Robert. G. Ingersol, Mayor Hewitt, and W. K. Vanderbilt. Nine exhibitions were given per week of the show to a total of one million people. Page 4 lists over a dozen things "You Never Saw" included in the show. Reduced rates by river, road and rail were offered to patrons.

OCLC records just one copy, at Yale.

REFERENCES: “A Great Showman Dead.” Philadelphia Times (Philadelphia, 24 Jan. 1890) via

CONDITION: Minor chipping and wear, a few small tears, old folds, mark of a sticker in upper-left corner of front-page.

Item #6459

Price: $1,750.00

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