A vivid past
Globe promoted the people’s entertainment, including vaudeville, burlesque, movies, circus and carnival acts, and found its groove in the 1960s with posters for top R&B and rock acts like Mavis Staples, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and the Beach Boys.
In 1954, Norman Shapiro took over the company from his brother Harry, and in 1975, Joseph Cicero Sr., a longtime employee of the company, purchased Globe from Norman. Cicero’s sons, Bob, Frank and Joe Jr., followed their father into the business, carrying Globe’s iconic style forward into the rap, hip-hop, and Go-Go scenes.
At its peak, Globe printed more than 20 music poster jobs a day in addition to bread-and-butter carnival, fair and political posters.
The Globe shop, which had several different addresses in Baltimore over the decades, rumbled with the motion of the large cylinder presses used to print letterpress forms on top of day-glo screenprint backgrounds.
With demand for posters dwindling in the digital age, the Cicero brothers decided to close up shop in late 2010. But Baltimoreans and students aware of Globe’s legacy formed a Friends of Globe group to find a new home for its treasures. Because of that vision, the desire of the Ciceros to keep Globe in Baltimore, and MICA’s creative thinking, Globe did not die.
Boxes and crates of wood type, letterpress cuts, posters and other Globe holdings moved from Highlandtown to MICA in the summer of 2011, and when the fall semester started, Bob Cicero began teaching a new generation of artists how to make a poster “pop.” The acquisition of the Globe collection by MICA keeps Globe’s legacy alive as a working press, a teaching tool, and a source for research.