Haverly's United Mastadon Minstrels

Haverly's United Mastadon Minstrels

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Description
This colored print depicts twenty-five black performers in an outdoor arena or racetrack. They are dressed in tight pants with horseshoe designs that suggest a jockey motif. Some performers hold crops and wear caps and riding jackets. The center figure is performing a gymnastic stunt.Below the illustration are the words “Haverly’s Theatre / 12 Nights and 6 Matinees, / Commencing Monday, Dec. 26.”
Entertainment entrepreneur J. H. (Jack) Haverly (1837-1901) was born Christopher Haverly near Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. He launched his show business career in 1864 in Toledo, Ohio, where he purchased a variety theater. Inspired by entrepreneurs like P. T. Barnum, Haverly went on to manage other theaters, and he created minstrel and comic performance groups on the East Coast and in the Middle West. In the late 1870s he consolidated his troupes into a single company called the United Mastodon Minstrels which included forty performers, along with a brass band and drum corps. The group continued to grow and at one point had more than a hundred members. Around the same time, Haverly took control of a black performing group called Charles Callender's Original Georgia Minstrels, or Callender's Colored Minstrels, a group of performers which he renamed Haverly’s Colored Minstrels. He promoted their performances as authentic depictions of black life, even creating a mock plantation with costumed actors portraying slaves and overseers. Haverly’s troupes toured the United States, usually appearing at his own theaters in cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. They also traveled to England and Scotland. Featuring lavish stage sets and extravagant special effectsinspired by P. T. Barnum, his performers in blackface makeup and exotic costumes inspired the creation of smaller minstrel shows during the late nineteenth century.
This chromolithograph was produced by the Strobridge Lithographing Company. The Strobridge firm was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio about 1847 by lithographer Elijah C. Middleton. Middleton was known as one of the pioneers of chromolithography in the United States. By 1854 lithographer W. R. Wallace and bookseller Hines Strobridge (1823-1909) had joined the firm as partners. After the Civil War, Strobridge acquired sole ownership of the company and renamed it after himself. Strobridge and Company was well known for circus, theater, and movie posters. After leaving Strobridge and Company, Elijah Middleton became known as a portrait publisher, producing prints of George and Martha Washington, Daniel Webster, and other American historical figures.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
chromolithograph
Object Type
Chromolithograph
date made
ca 1880
publisher
Strobridge Lithographing Company
maker
Strobridge Lithographing Company
place made
United States: Ohio, Cincinnati
Physical Description
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
Measurements
image: 25 in x 37 1/4 in; 63.5 cm x 94.615 cm
ID Number
DL.60.2481
catalog number
60.2481
accession number
228146
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
subject
Costume
Circus
African American
Minstrels
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Popular Entertainment
Art
Peters Prints
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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