The Golden Age of Circus through the Lens of Frederick W. Glasier

Imagine a time before movies, TV, and the internet. A time when entertainment came to town in a bustle of color, excitement, and unbelievable feats. This was the world of the American circus during its golden age, between the late 1800s and early 1900s. And thankfully, we have a window into this magical world thanks to a talented photographer named Frederick W. Glasier.

Glasier, born in 1866, wasn’t always a photographer. He started as a jeweler, but by the age of 30, he had found his true passion: capturing the amazing world of the circus through his lens. He traveled with famous shows like Barnum & Bailey, snapping pictures of everything from daring acrobats to exotic animals.  We see performers in their elaborate costumes, their faces full of concentration and excitement. We see the awe and wonder on the faces of the audience, captivated by the spectacle before them.

Glasier’s photos also tell us about the people who made the circus so special. Back then, the circus was a melting pot of cultures, where people from all over the world came together to share their talents. It was a place where outsiders became stars, celebrated for their unique skills and daring acts.

One of Glasier’s favorite subjects was Buffalo Bill, a legendary showman known for his Wild West shows. Glasier admired him so much that he even started dressing like him, with a Stetson hat, boots, and a leather jacket.

To capture these amazing moments, Glasier used large, bulky cameras that required skill and patience. But the results were worth it. His photos are sharp, detailed, and full of life. They capture not just the action of the circus, but also the emotions and the atmosphere.

Sadly, Glasier’s own life story is a bit of a mystery. We know he was married twice and that he continued taking photos well into his later years. He passed away in 1950, leaving behind a treasure trove of images that depict the history of the Golden age of Circus.

#5 Frederick W Glasier, Asian Elephant . The Ringling Circus Museum

#7 Gertrude Dewar, Mademoiselle Omega, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, 1908

#12 Frederick W. Glasier, Ed Laude .- The Ringling Circus Museum

#25 Frederick W Glasier, Asian Elephant . The Ringling Circus Museum

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Written by Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez is a content creator and historian who specializes in creating viral listicles and other engaging content about historical photos and events. He has a passion for history in a fun and accessible way, curating interesting and informative lists that showcase the lesser-known stories and significance behind famous historical events and figures.

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