A Poster Show, 1903 Style

On February 24, 2016, in News, Photos, by Ben Marks

El Nino is probably not be done with California just yet, but it sure does feel like spring! That means a few of us at TRPS are beginning to think about this year’s upcoming poster shows. More details will definitely follow on those, but in the meantime, here’s a poster show from 1903 to contemplate.

Called the Poster Carnival, the event pictured above was hosted by the League of the Cross and held in San Francisco from April 13 to 20 at the Mechanics’ Institute Pavilion, which, like a lot of structures, was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fires that followed. We imagine that visitors to the Poster Carnival were probably able to pick up an Alphonse Mucha or Jules Cheret for a pretty good price, and according to one report from back in the day, the event’s attractions included “a procession of costumed representatives” and a wild-animal parade featuring an actual lion, tiger, and elephant. No doubt PETA would frown on that sort of thing today, but they’d probably be fine with the Irish folk music and dancing on Gaelic night. And then there was this: “Two gaily dressed Turkish girls sold quantities of confetti, and the crowd had a merry time pelting each other with the bright colored papers.” Hmmm. This is giving us some ideas…


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