John J. Christian's Traveling Minstrel Show Poster 1890s This poster was John J. Christian's personal stage poster. John Christian was promoted as "The Wonderful Roller & Cycle Skater" and performed in Richard's & Pringle's~Rusco & Holland's Big Minstrel Festival. Note the single wheel skates and the inset image of him skating around light bulbs on a raised platform. According to the photocopies of handbills supplied, Christian gave his farewell skating exhibition April 18th, 1898. Christian was valet to Mrs. Jennie Kimball, mother of famous stage actress Corinne Kimball, who went by the singular name "Corinne" (see Women in American History pgs 780-781). As "Corine" (sic) attested on John's valet license:
"I heartily recommend John J. Christian as a most worthy young man -- honesty itself, and always a gentleman. One of my mama's (Mrs. Jennie Kimball) favorite employes."
It's a three sheet stone litho poster printed by National Printing & Engraving chicago #5217. Mounted on muslin, the poster measures approximately 42" x 78". T is a pale red binding around three edges not visible due to the framing. The dealer I purchased the poster from unfortunately removed the original hanging wooden piece along the top. T is consistent wear most obvious in the final detail shot. This was a performance poster and saw much use. This is not a reproduction or one of those "perfect" NOS posters that miraculously surface from a dark basement in Europe in immaculate condition. I bought this piece 20 years ago and have always kept it in a climate controlled, dim light environment. I do not own the original handbills or valet license document. The gentleman I purchased the poster from supplied the photocopies. The story was the family had handed the poster down through generations and thinking the documents too damaged to keep, photocopied them before disposing of them.
The framing is very minimal and the entire poster is covered by a very large piece of glass. Most of the photos were take in a covered carport to try and cut down on the glare. The final two images were shot outside and give a truer rendering of the magnificent coloring. Haven't looked closely into shipping but it's going to be very pricey. Pickup is preferred. I will deliver it up to 500 miles for around 20 cents per mile, maybe farther. Shipping to continental US may be possible. Contact me ASAP for details.
A massive, unique and beautiful item that will fit in nicely with any vaudeville, circus, sideshow or freak collection. It's graced a wall in my last three homes and will be sorely missed but it's time to pass it forward to another appreciative custodian. It's one of a kind and eerily possesses the aura and spirit of this very interesting man.
US bidders only. Below 50 feedback contact me before bidding.
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