The circus has always been a popular amusement distraction. Its various forms have entertained generations of people for decades. In Europe and North America, the modern circus took shape towards the end of the 19th century. Railroad expansions and later developments of motor vehicles allowed circus troops to travel long distances and delight huge crowds. Circuses have had to reinvent themselves in recent years with the advent of the Internet and concerns about animal abuses. But, in their prime, posters such as these, courtesy of the Performing Arts Poster Collection, Library of Congress, attracted the masses.