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The mission of the Circus Historical Society is to preserve, promote and share though education, the history and cultural significance of the circus and allied arts, past and present.


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Star Astley's Circus, the story of an English Hussar, new book on the life and times of Philip Astley and his role in the formation of the circus. Astley was one of the most famous and popular entrepreneurs of the 18th Century - a man dubbed "the father of the modern circus." Lots of illustrations! Details at Astley's Circus

Star Circus trainmaster: moving the show. Video interview with Joe Colossa, trainmaster on the Ringling Bros. Blue Unit, which has just completed its two-year tour of the "Dragons" edition and is heading to Florida to gear up for the new "Legends" show which will debut in Tampa in early January. Lane Talburt followed Joe and his crew with his video camera as he supervised the load-in of the circus train in Bridgeport, CT, on an early Monday morning in October and later the load-out on the following Sunday night. Joe worked his way up from concessions to trainmaster on Ringling Bros. Blue Unit. Produced by Lane Talburt, CHS trustee and video producer. YouTube Video.

Star Brian Miser, regularly submits to being catapulted off of a supersize crossbow and to the threat of injury. In this YouTube video, Brian explains the risk factors involved in being launched from the barrel of a cannon or from a supersize open-air crossbow, with live-action images of his "human fuse" routine. Also look for the aerial routines of Skyler Miser, the 9-year-old daughter of Tina and Brian. Produced by Lane Talburt, CHS trustee and video producer. YouTube Video.

2014 Upcoming Events

Star Jumbo: Marvel, Myth & Mascot. In 2014 Tufts University will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the arrival on campus of our mascot Jumbo the Elephant with the unveiling of a life-size bronze statue on our main quad and an exhibition at the University Gallery entitled "Jumbo: Marvel, Myth & Mascot" that will run from September to early December. Jumbo came to Tufts as a gift from P.T. Barnum a few years after he was killed in a railroad accident and stuffed by the noted taxidermist Henry Ward of Rochester. Jumbo was prominently displayed until a fire burned the building and its contents in 1975. Jumbo lives on as the Tufts mascot and we aim to commemorate his arrival in 2014. The Jumbo exhibition which will be the first of its kind to narrate his life story from star of the London Zoo to college mascot by means of original images (posters, couriers, photographs, etc.) and artifacts drawn from public and private collections in North America. Curator Andrew McClellan, Professor of Art History, Tufts University, will also author a well-illustrated publication to accompany the show. Circus enthusiasts in the area or passing through Boston will be warmly welcomed!

Star Shrine Circus, A history of the Shrine Circus, by John H. McConnell (hardcover, new condition, out of print). If you've been unable to keep up with the ever-changing Shrine Circus phenomenon without a program, this is the book for you. It's all here: the personalities, the politics, the intrigue. Told with refreshing candor by one who has paid his dues, this fascinating account details every aspect of the operation and fills a much needed place in circus research. Both sympathetic and accurate, this is one of the most concise and thorough studies available of the evolution of twentieth century American circus. Available from CHS, Just click on Merchandise to order this book. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to support CHS.


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Circus Historical Society  New!


Circus Historical Society  Bandwagon Special Offer! Ends December 1st.

Huge specials on past editions of the Bandwagon, each special only good for two months. The limited time offer is for the entire six issues of 1982. These issues are filled with great circus history as authored by Joseph Bradbury, Chang Reynolds, Antony H. Coxe, Stuart Thayer, Orin C. King, Frederick Dahlinger, Jr., Arthur Saxon, Fred D. Pfening Jr. and more. These issues are covered in detail at Bandwagon 1982 (scroll down for the next five issues)

If you haven't been a member of CHS for 30 years and would love to read more about the circus and circus history, or maybe you're looking for that perfect gift, you can't pass up a deal like this. All six issues for only $25.00! (includes shipping). Offer expires August 1st. Make your check out to Circus Historical Society and send it to: Bandwagon Special Issue, 1075 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus, OH 43212-2691. (International orders, contact CHS).

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Circus Historical Society  Yankee Robinson's 1869 Circus Rebus Puzzle Solved! click here

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Circus Historical Society, on the web since May 3, 2002.