Strobridge History

The Strobridge Lithography Company was founded in Cincinnati in 1847 by Elijah Middleton and eventually bought out by one of its workers, Hines Strobridge, remaining open until 1971. Offices were located in downtown Cincinnati, Norwood, and New York City. Though this web exhibit features the monthly calendar cards of the Strobridge Company, Strobridge was most famous for its circus posters, often producing them for The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Libraries and museums all over America, including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, hold examples of Strobridge’s “Amazing American Circus Poster.” However, because the Strobridge firm was based in Cincinnati, Cincinnatians are fortunate to be in the vicinity of many of the greatest Strobridge collections. In addition to the Archives & Rare Books Library, the Cincinnati Public Library and Cincinnati Art Museum are valuable resources for Strobridge enthusiasts.

strobridge photo

The Public Library’s Langstroth Collection is an extensive holding of lithographs and ephemera compiled by Theodore A. Langstroth. The collection website outlines Strobridge-related resources like Stone by Stone Along a Hundred Years with the House of Strobridge by John W. Merten, among others. A fascinating virtual exhibit of Strobridge circus, theater, and minstrel show posters is viewable here.

The Amazing American Circus Poster exhibition was organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. It was exhibited from September 17, 2011 – January 29, 2012 and featured 80 Strobridge circus posters. Though no longer on display, the posters are part of the museum’s permanent collection.