Section One

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Major Taylor
Marshall W. “Major” Taylor
Louis Galice, 1902

Marshall W. “Major” Taylor, the son of a coachman from Indianapolis, was the “fastest bicycle rider the world had ever known” when this poster was published in 1902. In the course of his sixteen-year career, Taylor competed in races throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand; won numerous championships; set several world records; and became one of the most glorified cyclists of the era when bicycling was an international craze.

This Belgian poster, which advertises Taylor’s appearance at a small fair at the Velodrome Zurenborg in Antwerp, avoids the decorative conceits of the renowned poster artists. Nonetheless, with its emphatic double image, brilliant yellow background, and red, white, and blue accents, it is a visually compelling announcement of the appearance of an athlete who, despite overt discrimination, “gained all the triumphs, gold, and glory possible to obtain” in this sport.