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Print Shop for the Big Top: the Majestic Poster Press Collection

February 25, 2022 to August 25, 2022

Step right up, the circus is coming to the Los Angeles Public Library! Featuring works and artifacts from the now folded Majestic Poster Press, this exhibit celebrates the letterpress technique that was seen in print signage all across Los Angeles.

The Majestic Poster Press designed hundreds of posters for local circus troupes, including Ringling Brothers and the Cole Brothers Circuses. The latter was a medium-sized circus founded in 1884, where noted animal trainer Clyde Beatty was employed. Clyde Beatty features prominently in many of the posters and was a major customer of Majestic. In addition to circuses, Majestic was commissioned by a range of other clients to print posters and billboards, from local schools and theatres, to politicians and television stations, to businesses small and large.

The Majestic Poster Press collection consists of over 200 posters acquired by the Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections through a donation by Toby Horn, whose father and grandfather owned the Press. The vibrant letterpress printed circus posters hearken back to a bygone era when the itinerant circus was very much a part of the fabric of American national culture.

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