Rare Color Photos of Circus Showgirls of the ’40s and ’50s

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These vintage shots dug up by How to Be a Retronaut are some of the earlier color photographs of circus folk you’ll ever see. Culled from The Circus Book: 1870-1950 , they were shot at traveling camps in the ’40s and ’50s, they’re absolute eye candy for any fan of vintage glamour and girl power. A lovely aerialist flashes a daring smile from a curved headstand on the grass. Girls pose with their pet puppies and baby lions. From the most gussied up showgirl striding between the trailers in red feathered wings, to the cheerful brunette dressed down to slacks and a crop top, carrying buckets, all these girls sparkle with something so enviably fresh, free-spirited and charming, we might just run off to the circus.

Circus Showgirl, 1950. Courtesy Taschen

Barnum & Bailey Showgirl, 1946. Courtesy Taschen

Circus girl, 1950s. Courtesy Taschen

Circus people, 1955. Courtesy Taschen

Circus women, 1956. Courtesy Taschen

Aerialist Pinito del Oro, 1953. Courtesy Taschen

Performer Lottie Brunn, 1949. Courtesy Taschen

Birthday flowers, 1941. Courtesy Taschen

Mardi Gras girl, 1952. Courtesy Taschen. Courtesy Taschen

Dailey Brothers Circus, 1950. Courtesy Taschen

Circus Performer Couple, 1954. Courtesy Taschen

Aerial ballet showgirl, 1949. Courtesy Taschen

King Brothers Circus, 1950. Courtesy Taschen

Wardrobe wagon, 1959. Courtesy Taschen