At the turn of the century, Philadelphia toy maker A. Schoenhut seized upon the circus mania that had spread across the nation, producing miniature versions of the beloved circus performers and animals. Called the Humpty Dumpty Circus-a name inspired by a popular play of the time-the toy line became an immediate success. It featured ten core performers, over thirty different animals, and a wide variety of accessories, ranging from simple props like chairs and ladders to elaborate, three-dimensional canvas tents.

All of the Schoenhut circus performers have similar characteristics, including wooden or bisque heads, painted features, "crab" hands that could hold or support props, and jointed wooden bodies held together with elastic. Schoenhut produced the lady circus rider, modeled after the female trick horseback riders of the time, in many designs and variations. Typically, the figures wear green blouses with yellow or gold trim and short, full skirts in shades of pink or rose. Many have brightly painted legs meant to resemble leggings.

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  • Title: Figure:Lady Circus Rider
  • Creator: The A. Schoenhut Co.
  • Date Created: 1910-1918
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Subject Keywords: circus
  • Type: Play Sets
  • Medium: cloth, paint, bisque, elastic cord, wood, felt
  • Object ID: 77.2497