“The Mills Brother Circus” at Martha’s Vineyard by David McCabe (1963)

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David McCabe, Trapeze artist, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

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David McCabe, Three acrobats preparing for performance, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

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David McCabe, Acrobat out of costume, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

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David McCabe, Camel caretaker with two camels, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

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David McCabe, Clown musician holding saxophone, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

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David McCabe, Profile of clown playing saxophone, Martha’s Vineyard, 1963 via

Victorian/Edwardian Circus Acts

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Circus Performer Zelda Boden, 1910s via

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Circus cyclists, c. 1891 via

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“Trick Rider”. Usually they would ride in circles doing various tricks on the ponies via

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Circus Girl with horse, 1908 via

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CIRCUS HARLEQUIN Performer, c. 1910 via

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Sanger’s Circus carriage, late 19th century Great Britain via

Extraordinary Vintage Photos of The American Circus by Frederick W. Glasier

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Queen, the High Diving Horse, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, circa 1899 via

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Joan of Arc, circa 1912 via

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Ella Bradna, Equestrian, circa 1903 via

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Loie Fuller, Glorine, Butterfly Dancer, 1902 via

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Charmion, Strong Woman, 1904 via

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Nettie Carrol, circa 1904 via

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Annette Kellerman, circa 1907 via

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Gertrude Dewar, Mademoiselle Omega, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, 1908 via

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Mademoiselle Scheel with Lions, circa 1905 via

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Living Statues, circa 1905 via

The Circus Girls by Nina Leen (1949)

Nina Leen (d. 1995) was a Russian-born American photographer and a constant contributor to Life. A self-taught photographer she never became a staff photographer, but she contributed as a contract photographer until the magazine closed in 1972.

In 1949 she shot the sassy subculture of circus girls in Sarasota, Florida, dubbed “the home of the American circus” for the magazine.

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By Nina Leen, 1949 via

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by Nina Leen, 1949 via

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by Nina Leen, 1949 via

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by Nina Leen, 1949 via

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by Nina Leen, 1949 via

A Photo Collection of Vintage Circus Performers

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Circus Performer c.1905-15 via

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Trapeze artist, 1870s via

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Lizzie Marguett acrobat, 1910s via

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Strong man & acrobats in costumes, 1910s via

Della Royal Mrs. Rhoda Royal sits in a 2-wheeled cart decorated with flowers and harnessed to her world famous horse, Glendive, as taken from a 1906 handbill

Mrs. Rhoda Royal and Glendive, 1906 via

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Acrobats, 1910s via

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Lion tamer via

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Lady circus artist (Mademoiselle Marville) on her horse. She performed at the Moulin Rouge in Paris the Belle Epoque era. Photographer: Walery, Paris, pre-1905 via