Barnum & Bailey Circus in Vienna, 1900 - 1901

Barnum & Bailey

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In 1900-1901, the famous Barnum & Bailey circus toured Continental Europe, This advertisment from the Viennese daily, the Neue Freie Presse of Sunday 25 November 1900, gives us details of the tour and the scale and variety of acts presented by the Circus.

The circus opened in Vienna on that day at the Rotunda, Vienna's "Crystal Palace", and performed daily until February 24th 1901. After leaving there, it moved on to Budapest where it opened on April 7th.

It appears that William Frederick Wallett, "The Jester's" Grand-Nephew, and his family were touring with the circus as, on April 16th 1901, his wife Florence May (née Lillo) gave birth, in Vienna, to their daughter, Florence May Lillo Wallett, who was then baptised at Christ Church, the Anglican Church there on April 30th 1901 by the Rev William Henry Hechler, Chaplain to His Britannic Majesty's Embassy in Vienna.

William Frederick Wallett was the brother of Ada Loughlin née Wallett ("The Great Zazell"), wife of Dave Loughlin (the adopted son of Dan Loughlin, one of the founders of Barnum & Bailey). His father was Clifford WALLETT who was the son of the Jester's brother George.

This baptism entry and the newspaper advertisment have been provided by Christopher Wentworth-Stanley who has a specialist interest in the British in Vienna in the 19th Century. He has also kindly provided the following English translation of the the advertisment.

Opening Today at 1 o'clock, Beginning 2.30
Evenings at 6 o'clock, Beginning 7.30
In the great Rotunda, Imperial and Royal Prater [Park]

Greatest Show on Earth

The biggest, best, finest entertainment establishment in the World
For Fifty Years the Pride of America

Begins today, after performances have taken place in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Hanover, Cologne, Strasbourg, Metz, Frankfurt am Main, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Munich and other large cities. Performances every evening at 7.30 and also Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as each Bank Holidays in the afternoon at 2.30. The doors open for the public 1½ hours before each performance to allow visits to the splendid collection of natural wonders, the stables of 400 horses, the double menageries, the herds of elephants, camels and other attractions.

This Afternoon and this Evening First performances in the Rotunda, which colossal building at enormous expense has been newly decorated, renovated and adapted specially for this Mighty and splendid American Entertainment

Pleasantly heated. Elegantly Lit
Seats for 10,000 delighted Visitors
Special Arrangements for Children
Hippodrome, Circus, Museum, Menageries, Vaudeville, Aerial, acrobatic, gymnastic, athletic and Roman entertainment games, amusing, serious, exciting, daring and artistic displays of Courage.

Great performances of Horse Dressage

Together with the those of the trained beasts
Almost 100 numbers and 15 tempestuous races
[illustration shows Prof. Norton B. Smith and his magnificent feats of training wild horses]
A really magnificent show
Countless incomparable and inimitable performances of daring, fearless achievements. Every performer a master in his field. Every appearance a star. Each number a novelty. Every feat, everything offered in the Arena a genuine Surprise. Everything actually and absolutely a true Wonder and never done before. Every Country and Nationality is represented by their best artists and attractions. The greatest aerial artistic feats that one could ever dream of. The greatest displays of equestrian art that have ever been seen. The most talented acrobats that have ever performed. The best gymnasts that have ever been produced. The most exciting feats that have been seen till now.

The greatest and most splendid Show that Man can think of.

In three great Arenas, on two mighty platforms, on a boundless racetrack and a spacious area for aerial artistry.

This greatest American Spectacle includes:

An incomparable detachment of circus-riders full of real fascination and wonder offering a surplus of amazing feats and unexpected surprises, performing countless novelties and humorous scenes, rich with exciting moments and beautiful events. The manèges, arenas, stages, the ground and the upper area show a mind-dazzling display of the most accomplished productions. The Great Olympia Hippodrome presents wild animals, chariot races, running races, courageous fights, tests of speed, agility and stamina, each and every one of the greatest range. High- and long-jumps by horses and ponies, tempestuous and wild chariot fights, cavalry battles, acrobatic contests, challenges on saddleless horses, athletic and gymnastic tournaments. Olympic Games of captivating originality, the bravest Jockeys and Ladyriders in the World, the most humorous Clowns on Earth, the most amazing feats in the air and breathtaking flights through space.

Whole Menageries of trained Wild Animals
Races of all types, acrobatic feats, aerial displays, gymnastics on the ground and in the air and new surprises. Extraordinary shows of strength by Champions in record-breaking tests of skill.
70 fine horses performing together in one manège. 400 prize-winning horses in the stables. 30 of the cleverest elephants performing in three manèges. 20 international pantomime clowns.

A real World Exhibition of Modern Spectacle
1000 Men, Women, Horses, midgets, tattooed men, sword swallowers, a long-haired bearded lady, a dog-headed boy, armless man, Wild Men of Borneo, an anvil-headed man, expanding and contracting men, Strongman, armless Japanese girl, legless man, Miramba players, man with elastic rubber skin, human ostrich, human pin cushion, spontaneous arithmetician, jugglers, 1000 original things and amazing sights. Seven open enclosures of trained wild animals, an almost endless series of the latest displays and feats of fearlessness and of daring courage that are to be seen nowhere else and are publicly shown for the first time.

Everything to be seen on one ticket.
Each ticket is for one seat

Prices according to position
Gallery................1 Crown
Balcony...............2 Crowns
Amphitheatre......3 Crowns
Arena..................4 Crowns
Box seats....each 6 Crowns

Children under 10 pay half-price throughout except for the 1 and 2 Crown seats


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