Banner Line [Collection of 42 Issues]
Philadelphia: Van Matre, 1955-1959. Very Good. Item #7261
Philadelphia: Van Matre, 1955-1959. 42 volumes; quarto (ca. 28cm.); all in pictorial variously-colored staple bound offset self wrappers, often recycling cover art from past issues; illus. throughout, internal text usually printed mimeo from typescript. Publication sequence as follows: Nos. 188, 197-9, 201-2, 206-8, 213, 216, 218-20, 223-4, 227-8, 230-3, 238, 240-1, 243-4, 246-8, 251-4, 256-60, 268-9, 281. All with previous mail folds, general wear from handling, most notably to no. 197 (cockled from exposure to damp), some toning to extremities, extensive ballpoint pen notes to a few rear wrappers, else a Very Good collection overall, though lacking the photographic premiums that were apparently included with each issue.
Quite uncommon and substantial collection of the "World's Only Twice-A-Month Circus Publication," owned and edited by a Van Matre of Philadelphia. Like many such newsletters, articles are short and anecdotal, interspersed with related items for sale (circus photographs, books, and other paraphernalia). In this collection one can read about former circus "fat lady" Dolly Dimple and her extreme diet following a near-fatal heart attack (down from 555 to 125 pounds); brief biographies of noted circus figures like Clint Finney and W.W. Cole; and annual circus reviews. However, the publisher appears to have been most interested in providing historical circus itineraries and inventories, each issue providing four or five such lists. Though the publication ran for at least thirty years, from the 1940s to the 1970s, this was clearly an amateur effort with a minuscule print run per issue--we find no copies in the trade, and just three institutional holdings as of August, 2020, at Illinois State, UVA, and Wisconsin Historical.