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Message Archive: Messages 4201-4300




4300. Barbara Ray Martin, 18 Nov 2013 - Looking for Barbara Ray Martin. She worked for Barnum and Bailey Circus in the late 50's and possibly 60's, maybe longer than that. Her family has been looking for her since 1958. She had a daughter who has been located, after 41 years. If anyone who reads this knows of her, or are friends with her or was friends with her years ago, please contact me. If you could have her contact me, also, that would be awesome. She was originally from Marshal County, WV. moved to Sacana, NY . She married Donald Every, her daughter was born in Rhode Island Military Hospital. Carol Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4299. Rosa Celeste, 16 Nov 2013 - Dear People, Sometimes history is extremely difficult to unravel. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Rosa Celeste was a famous tightrope walker in San Francisco. You have some information about her on your site as well. But I also have some very solid information that she went to New York in about 1867 to attempt to tightrope walk over the Niagra river just below Niagra Falls sometime in or after July of 1867 to become the first female Blondin who was a famous male tightrope walker who did a tightrope walk across the Niagra river a number of years beforehand.
    I would like to know if Rosa Celeste ever did that walk across the Niagra river which it appears that she did not otherwise there surely would have been some news articles praising the first woman to ever walk across. So what happened? Why did she go all the way to New York to do this walk and then chicken out? It's a big mystery. At least the press could have said something about why she didn't do so after the San Francisco papers and other papers around the country made this big buildup.
    I think I remember reading about another woman tightrope walker at the same time who did this walk, maybe in around August of 1867. Apparently this other woman did some fancy things during the walk and maybe Rosa Celeste felt she couldn't equal her so she just didn't do it. I really don't know. The papers never said anything about why Rosa Celeste didn't do the walk so unless someone knows something, it will always be a mystery. John Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Nov 2013 - It appears that after preparations and performing in New York, Rosa did not do her planned walk across the Niagara River in August, 1867. Here's some newspaper articles with a later one first stating she did not perform the feat. - J. Griffin
        The California Acrobatic and Pantomime troupe, consisting of the three Lavender Brothers, the clown W. T. Mack and M'lle Rosa Celeste, have been engaged at the Metropolitan Theatre. This artiste was to have performed the perilous feat of crossing the Niagara River last summer, and would have done so had not circumstances prevented her from consummating her plans. . . . Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, NY), January 16, 1868, n.p.n.
        Local News. Female "Blondin." Mr. G. DeYoung, agent for Mdlle. Rosa Celeste, the Rope Walker, from California, passed through this city yesterday, on his way to Niagara Falls, where he is to make arrangements for this Rope Walker to cross the Falls after the manner of the celebrated Blondin. Courier and Union (Syracuse, NY), June 18, 1867, n.p.n.
        Rosa Celeste has arrived in New York city from San Francisco, California. She intends to emulate Blondin and is to cross over Niagara Falls on a rope in August next. She proposes to reside at the Falls during the coming month to accustom herself to the roar and the rushing of the water. . . . Putnam County Courier (Carmel, NY), June 22, 1867, n.p.n.

    Reply: 19 Nov 2013 - If you will examine this website ( http://www.history.com/news/a-daredevil-history-of-niagara-falls ) documenting the history of daredevil stunts at the Niagara Falls, you'll see that Miss Celeste is not mentioned. Bob Cline

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4298. Bucking bronco, sidesaddle, 16 Nov 2013 - My grandmother accepted the challenge to ride a bucking bronco in a circus during I believe 1898 or 1899, but insisted on riding with a sidesaddle! She stayed on - she lived at St Helens 7 miles from Liverpool in England at the time, and I believe it was the Sanger's Circus, but I think it was during November. Would this have been possible? He ran a permanent Liverpool circus, but I don't know if this would have been open in November of that time, if it was indoors? I'm writing a chapter in a book about my grandmother, and would really appreciate a comment on this. Thanks, Susanna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4297. 115th Red show, 01 Nov 2013 - The 115th edition was the Red show and started in 1985 on its two year run. You never see any 1986 programs of the 115th edition on eBay but the 1985's are plentiful. Why is this? Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Dec 2013 - Not that anyone asked, but Deborah W. Walk of the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota solved the mystery. The 1985 date appeared on the program for both years. The two programs have a number of differences but the easiest way to tell them apart is from the different Ring Masters' pictures on the cover. Dinny McGuire was the ringmaster for the first year of the 115th edition (1985) and Kristopher Antekeier was the ringmaster for the second year (1986). Dave

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4296. Gordon or Mitchell, 31 Oct 2013 - We're there any married circus acts in the early 1900 with the last name of Gordon or Mitchell? Troy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Nov 2013 - Troy, you have to give us more. What Country are we talking about? Any idea what kind of act you might be looking for? Any other clues? first names? why do you think your ancestors were in circus? is there an anecdote to go with this enquiry? jim@stockley.co.za

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4295. Henry Bolin, trapeze, 17 Oct 2013 - Would you have any way to know if Henry Bolin was ever a performer with Ringling Bros.? He would have been a trapeze artist. Born in the late 1920's or early 1930's. He may have been adopted by a trapeze family. Connie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4294. Wise Co., VA, 14 Oct 2013 - Does anyone know whether a traveling circus had ever visited Wise County, Virginia, up in the coalfield mountains during the early 1900s? Regards, Sam Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Oct 2013 - Circuses usually do not list counties where they play, they list the towns where they play. You can do some research on this website by looking up the towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Norton, Pound, Wise and St. Paul and using the search website button on the left side of the first page. A number of circuses have played through the coal regions of Virginia. A quick search of this CHS website noted that the 1917 Latina Circus played in October at Norton, Coeburn and St. Paul; the 1926 Gentry Bros. Circus played in April at Appalachia; the 1931 Downie Bros. Circus played in April at Appalachia, and the 1948 Rogers Bros. Circus played in April at Big Stone Gap, Virginia. You can also check the local newspapers for circus advertisements. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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4293. Trio Angelo, 13 Oct 2013 - Through the author Aase Thomassen (author of the book about the trapeze star La Norma) I have been contacted by an elderly woman who tells that her two brothers and her sister became artists and as Trio Angelo worked in several countries until they ended up in USA. Their surname was Smykke, and one of the brothers Henning Smykke passed away in Florida, maybe in Tampa, when he was 44 years old. Their act was an aerial act where one of the brothers rode a motorbike. The elderly woman will be very grateful if anyone can provide further information about Trio Angelo and/or the Smykke family. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4292. Clyde Beatty Circus, 12 Oct 2013 - Do you have any idea where I could find out where the Clyde Beatty Circus was located in Wall Township, NJ in the 50's or 60's. Thank you. Ginlaub Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Oct 2013 - Unless you can find someone that was actually there and remembers where the lot was at, you'll have to examine the local newspapers which are usually preserved on microfilm. All the ads in the paper would have told where they were going to be found when they arrived in town. Anyone with a circus poster from then would probably have a date tag added on the bottom and that would show the location of the lot as well. You will have two different titles you are looking for. Up to and including 1958, it is just called the Clyde Beatty Circus. After that it is then called the Clyde Beatty and Cole Bros. Circus. According to their 1996 Route Book which includes all 38 seasons under the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus title, they did not play in Wall Township, NJ from 1959 to 1975. (I stopped there as I was past the point you were asking about) It may be possible that the dates are listed as a town name in the route book rather than Wall Township. Good Luck on your journey, Bob Cline

    Reply: 13 Oct 2013 - They played at the Marina on route 35 in Belmar, NJ. Bob Judge

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4291. Chichi, performer, 08 Oct 2013 - My name is Emma Fawley and I am trying to track someone down. I believe that the person in question had a sister who performed in Billy Smarts circus during the 1970s and possibly the 1980s. Her name was Chichi and I think she was a high flyer. Any information would be helpful. Thank you, Emma Fawley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4290. Great Rixon, 07 Oct 2013 - The Great Rixon, have you ever heard of him? I would say early 1900's, appears to have been a circus diver possibly out of the Sarasota area? Thanks for any info. Cynthia Hooper, Bradenton FL Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4289. Novak Sisters, 01 Oct 2013 - I am looking for information on my mother and her sisters, they were known as the Novak Sisters, they were known for the tumbling and teeter board act. My mother held a long pole with a chair on top my aunt Viola flew off the teeter board and into the chair. They appeared with the circus, USO shows etc. If any one has information or articles please contact me. pokor3@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4288. I. Lawrence Wright, 21 Sep 2013 - I am looking for info on I. Lawrence Wright, Vaudeville shows from late 20`s early 30`s I have a picture of his personal railroad car. He was my Grandfather, Thank You, John Trupo Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jan 2014 - Unless your grandfather’s personal papers or business records survive in family, other private or public hands, the best resources for information will be the daily newspapers that document his bookings and the weekly amusement trade journals of the period. There are digitized newspaper holdings with key word searching capability across the nation. Start with holdings in readily accessible online holdings, state collections and various major cities and go from there.
        The weekly issues of both “Billboard” and “New York Clipper” are available for online reading at the Fulton History website. See message 4310 for links. You might find stories about your grandfather, as well as listings of his weekly bookings. The weekly journal “Variety” has been microfilmed, but I do not believe that it has been digitized and made available online. It’s another excellent resource for stage and vaudeville history.
        Some vaudeville booking materials do survive, one collection was at a university in Iowa. Various theater collections across the US may also have relevant photographs and other documentation. A quick Google search revealed almost no entries. Is it possible that he produced stage presentations that then toured under the name of the production, or did he use a title such as “Wright’s Players”? One entry came up, in Ernest Henry Short’s book, “Fifty Years of Vaudeville,” 1946, page 204, but it’s not readily accessible online. You should be able to obtain it on interlibrary loan. It’s not assured that the reference is to your grandfather or to another man of the same name.
        Starting by 1879, many theatrical, stage, magic, vaudeville and other troupes traveled by private railroad car. That was the most reliable means to travel between bookings. The practice continued until the Depression put a real dent in the trade, but some continued the practice into the 1950s. These vehicles were typically second hand system coaches, sleepers or Pullman cars, some with compartments, adapted into overnight sleepers if they were not already outfitted as such. There are some illustrations of such cars in the book “Show Trains of the 20th Century.” When the railroads raised their rates, a group called COMA (Car Owners and Managers Association) was formed, led by tent showman W. I. Swain. They lobbied on behalf of the shows for reduced rates. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4287. Carl Miller, 19 Sep 2013 - Recently, my cousin and I wrote to see if anyone could give us any information regarding our Grandfather Carl Miller, Since that time we did learn that he did travel with a circus, had a dog act and also performed on the high wire. We did not learn which Circus but we do know that he retired to Waterloo, IA. If you or anyone else has more information for us it would be appreciated. Many thanks. Karen Liffengren Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4286. Glickmans, circus owners, 17 Sep 2013 - My great aunt and uncle, Sam and Margie Glickman, owned and operated a circus in the late 1920s and 1930s. From what I know, they would winter in Florida and then return to Atlantic City over the course of several months, performing in cities along the east coast, then return to Florida. My father, James Healey - brother to Margie - worked for the circus on the rides, fixing, repairing, etc., following his discharge from the Marines. Looking for information on the circus, the size, where they might have performed, etc. Sam passed away in 1968 and Margie in 1989. Thanks for any assistance. Jim Healey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Sep 2013 - In reading your request for information, I see that the Glickman operation was a carnival and not a circus. As you have pointed out they had rides (therefore shows, games etc. would also be associated). Carnivals frequently moved just once a week where as the circus was a tented city that moved everyday giving live performances with aerialists, acrobats, clowns, animals etc. I point this out simply because of any internet searching, the word circus probably won't help. To try to help you along, I note that you mention they owned the show. Do you know what they called the show? That answer will be a key factor in furthering your quest.
        One of the best quick reference guides to ever be printed concerning the Carnival trade were the three volume set authored by Joe McKennon called "A Pictorial History of the American Carnival." In his book, Volume II, he lists many of the show owners, years of operation for carnivals and a glossary of terms. Perhaps, the name of the Carnival you are looking for is listed in here.
        The Gibsontown Showman's Association Carnival Museum is operated by people in the business. They have some archives and may be a source to follow up with. Unfortunately, they aren't open during the summer. It's really only open in the winter when people are off of the road. Go to http://www.gibtownshowmensclub.com/about/museum/museum.asp
        You might want to contact the Circus World Museum Research Library at Baraboo, Wisconsin. They have a quick index file they refer to as the "yellow tickets" which have notes of where information can be found on a person in their collection. Maybe they have the family names in their files.
        You might also want to do some searching through old newspapers. The Billboard is available online through Google. I think they have from 1940 to the end of Billboard in 1960 available. Although that isn't in your timeframe, you may find a mention of their name somehow.
        You may want to look at http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html which has a lot of New York based newspapers and various show business writings such as the New York Clipper, Billboard and NY entertainment journals. This would ideally fall into the approximate timeframe you are searching. You should also look into newspaperARCHIVE.com which has over 60 million newspapers online with search capabilities as well. You can subscribe at home and even some public libraries are utilizing a subscription for the general public. I hope this helps you a little bit. Bob Cline

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4285. Plank seating, 09 Sep 2013 - I'm doing some research on old style plank seating, and am hoping to find some construction details for the jacks, stringers, seating planks, and bible backs, etc., used 100 years ago, prior to OSHA and aluminum. Can anyone point me to some drawings, books, other sources with specifics?
    I found a period text with some detail, but it is very heavy construction compared to most circus work. It is page 229-231 in "Cassell's Carpentry and Joinery" edited by Paul Hasluck, 1907, found here: http://archive.org/stream/cassellscarpentr00hasl#page/229/mode/1up
    My interest stems from photos of old circus bands, such as the band with Karl King sitting on simple "Blues" in the photo in the middle of this web page: http://brebru.com/musicroom/musicians/karlking/karlking.html
    Or the chair on bibleback setup in the band photo on this page: http://karlking.us/sells_floto.htm
    I suppose neither photo is representative of where the bands would sit for shows. Doesn't this look like patron seating? But the photos sparked my idea to use a simple bleacher setup for a small local concert band to do "circus band" performances. If this works out, maybe I'll be back looking for band wagon blueprints, and uniform patterns. Wink, wink. Thanks, Greg Graham Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Sep 2013 - The good news is that what you are looking for may still be in use in some avenues. It's labor intensive but not illegal as far as OSHA is concerned. The jacks were designed to literally have the large one lay in the wagon bed and have two more fit inside it. No room could be wasted so there would be three or fours jacks meshed inside each other when loaded. The stringer had a metal loop at the ground end bolted in place where a small stake went through it and was driven in the ground. This was called a toe pin. This was to keep the stringer from moving forward as the the weight of the crowds got on the planks.
        The angle of the blocks added to the stringers for the planks to sit on was determined by how high the seats would be. Once the plank was laid on the stringers, a rope was laced around the stringer and the planks effectively tying them all together. The older style seating only had a plank to sit on. Later towards the 1950s and 1960s, some units added a foot board. The Bible backs were hinged to fold flat for laoding. There is a stack of the real bible backs and stringers still at the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana that were origainal seating on the Corporation shows, were then used for the lumber to help construct another building at the Circus Winter quarters and then later salvaged as the building was torn down years later.
        Now moving up to the 1960s and 1970s era, many of the states started enacting different safety laws for portable seating. One of those regulations required a chain on the ground from the front of the stringer to the last jack at the back. This chain had to be fastened to the cross member of the jack to prevent to jack from slipping out from under the stringer and thus preventing any possible collapse. It's certainly a good detail to add if you are building a model. Best wishes, Bob Cline

    Reply: 22 Nov 2013 - Thank you Bob for your reply. How was the jack joined to the stringer? Greg Graham

    Reply: 19 Dec 2013 - Very Best Christmas wishes to Judith and all at CHS.
        Plank Seating. This kind of seating was my introduction to circus with the family show. It is interesting that my father and his then acrobatic partner, Jim Zola, toured with one circus in Ireland long ago in 1912. The show had no raised seating and my father and Jim Zola offered to construct ‘V’s and bracket sections during the season if one or the other were allowed not to take part in the daily 1 p.m. Circus Parade. (In those days circuses toured One-Day Stands!)
        Later, in 1961 – 62 winter period, I constructed (with help) sections of ‘V’s and Bracket seating for Sanger’s Circus whilst at their winter quarters. These sections had foot board planks. I still have the drawing plans. Tom Sandow

    Reply: 05 Jan 2014 - Thank you Tom Sandow, and Happy New Year. How can reach you to talk about the seating plans? I'm on the web at Graham Piano Service. Greg Graham

    Reply: 14 Feb 2014 - Hello Greg. Sorry for the long time in reply – nice to hear from you via e-mail childrenschoices@hotmail.co.uk or my Facebook page. Regards, Tom.

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4284. Wilson's Great World, 09 Sep 2013 - I am seeking information about Wilson's Great World Circus, who were in Indonesia at the time Krakatoa erupted. I see in the archives that a Mr. Joe Parker of Dallas presented this topic at a CHS convention in Las Vegas in 2007. I would like to get in contact with him to see if I can get more information about this event. My own great grandfather, Gustav Grais, was in this circus at the time, along with his wife, Selma Troost Grais and his father-in-law Alexander Troost. I am trying to find out how my grandfather came to be involved in this particular circus and was hoping Mr.Parker's story would shed some light. Best regards, Ginny Grace Beres Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4283. Elephant, 1967, 05 Sep 2013 - I am looking for any information about an Elephant from India that arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1967. Rumour has it that Gene Holter may have wanted to buy it, or did buy it but the elephant died before he could ship it to California. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks, Colin MacKenzie, badaboom(at)gmail(dot)com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Feb 2014 - The elephant was called Balakrishna, a big Indian tusker imported to the Anil Canada Ltd. hardboard logging plant in Nova Scotia. A January 1968 news article states he was brought last summer from India, used to haul logs and as a mascot. Plans were being made to return him to India after no zoo could be found to house the elephant for winter. He died the second winter in a barn with no heat after his mahout returned to India. Ryan Easley, TigerGuy [at] ShowMeElephants.com, www.ShowMeElephants.com

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4282. Circus performers, noun, 05 Sep 2013 - Can you help me with a collective noun that describes circus performers. A troupe is not quite right, any suggestions? Many thanks, sturap Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4281. Conklins, contortionists, 05 Sep 2013 - Recently, after 50 years of hearing about my great grandmother's performances with vaudeville acts and circuses, have come across the name of the group she was last with. While in and around Savannah TN in 1905 or 1906 she met my great grandfather who was a printer for the local newspaper. A short time after that they were married and she left performing behind. I have some amazing pictures of her performing. I am interested in any information about the Conklins or Conklings that were a contortionist act. From what I have found they were with the Harris Nickel plate shows but it looks like they ended in 1901. I have a trunk she had that has Ringling Brothers stamped on it but the one news article about her marriage in 1906 says she had visited Savannah with the Conklins. If you have any info about the group, their schedules, the members, reviews, or any other clues I would thank you in advance to email me. Ron, ronrandolph@att.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4280. Gus Jordan, aerialist, 04 Sep 2013 - I am looking for information on Gus Steig stage name Gus Jordan. He is my great grand uncle. He performed with the flying Jordan's from 1895 to 1905. He then performed with his own troop Zeno, Jordan and Zeno. He was an aerialist and also performed with bicycles. It seems he performed both with many different circuses and also on the Keith vaudeville circuit. His sister Florence "Flo" Steig was also an aerialist with the Flying Mayos in 1915. Chris Connor-Bolton Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4279. Dutch Van Dee circus, 04 Sep 2013 - I am trying to find anyone (or any information) who might know about Dutch Van Dee or his wife, Helen. They had a business, "Dutch's Auction House", in Temple, TX, probably in the 1950’s, as well as a traveling circus (not sure of the exact name) that went through Texas and the southern US. Anyone that might know them who is still alive? Dutch was very heavily tattooed and if anyone in Temple that is older that is heavily tattooed might have known them. Thank you! Jason Hook Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Sep 2013 - Hi Jason, I’m not sure if this is the same person, but I’ve been trying to locate a tattoo artist/tattooed man who went by “Red Van,” “Ed Van,” or “Dutch Van.” You can e-mail me at carmenforquer@yahoo.com

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4278. Maurice Miller circus, 31 Aug 2013 - I am trying to find information about a small, southwest Ohio circus headed up by Maurice Miller and his brother. It operated in the late 1940s and during the 1950s. It was called something like Miller Brothers Family Entertainment or Miller Family Entertainment (or Circus). Do you have any information you can forward to me. It definitely has to be associated with Maurice Miller. olivet Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4277. Sidoli Circus, 27 Aug 2013 - I am the great-granddaughter of Cesar Sidoli, the owner of the Sidoli Circus. The granddaughter of Clotilda Sidoli Kronemann and Christian Kronemann of The Great Kronemann Brothers comedic acrobats. I am looking for any information or connections to my family. I have googled their names and found bits of information but not enough. I am writing a book and need all the info I can get. Can anyone help me? With much thanks, Denise Kroneman Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Aug 2013 - Have you tried contacting the National Fairgrounds Archives at Sheffeild University? Professor Vanessa Toumlin heads up the resources which has a wide array of media and documents. (http://www.nfa.dept.shef.ac.uk/) Perhaps our friends at the Circus Art Museum in Paris, France may be of some help. You would want to contact Dr. Gerard Borg there. Best wishes, Bob Cline

    Reply: 24 Aug 2015 - My wife's grandfather was in Vaudville. He was in the Great Kronemann Brothers comedy and acrobatic act. His name was Romulus Coran Kronemann and was from Copenhagen Denmark. His wife's name was Evelyn Kronemann and they settled in Illinois, near Chicago. We have some booking dates from new York, Paris and London, in the early 1900's. we also have some newspaper clippings about them playing at the Majestic in Chicago on July 15th 1907. Her grandfather didn't talk a lot about it, but we found all the clippings and booking dates in his papers after his death. We are told that his family may have married into the Sidoli Family of Bucharest, Romania, who may have owned a circus. My wife is Sandra Byrnes. I hope this helps. Charles

    Reply: 03 Oct 2016 - My Great Grandfater was Capt. Fred Lewies (or Lewis, I’ve seen both spellings Lewis). I was hoping someone might know the other gentlemen in these pictures? I would appreciate it if you have any other pictures, info, or historical documents. I’m just curious and want to know more.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/6gyvjgnr11lunfi/Fred%20Lewies%20Pics%2015.jpeg?dl=0 ---
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vh7n43hlc3322yc/Fred%20Lewies%20Pics%2025.jpeg?dl=0 —
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/odka0u425u6okt3/Fred%20Lewies%20Pics%2011.jpeg?dl=0 —
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vt4dwwhvq2kctup/Fred%20Lewies%20Pics%2012.jpeg?dl=0
    Thank you! Chad Allen, reply to: https://www.facebook.com/chadtrr

   

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4276. Circus, India, 27 Aug 2013 - I'm trying to find information about a circus in India owned by my husband's ancestor, Jabez Thorley. He went under the name George Lapriol. Please respond to Jackal50@hotmail.co.uk. My name is Alison Thorley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4275. Al G. Field, Sells Bros., 21 Aug 2013 - Can somebody give information on the years Alfred G. Field (Hatfield) worked for the Sells Brothers Circus? The entry for Field in “Olympians of the Sawdust” doesn’t list any years with SBC, although they are credited with giving him managerial experience. In Field’s autobiography, Watch Yourself Go By, Al’s tells about the Sells brothers hiring him to play the after concert in Chillicothe, Ohio. The only information given is that Sells “opened early---April 16, 17, 18, and played “in Chillicothe a few days after leaving Columbus.” (p. 443). I’ve been unable to find a route book that lists those opening dates, or that they played Chillicothe shortly thereafter.
    In another of Al’s anecdote, he was traveling with the show during a two-day stand in Nashville, in October of some unknown year, when Ephraim asked Alfred to buy “banners, and flags, etc.” to decorate the inside of the tents. After Field purchased “printed calico or goods with national colors,” and the grounds were decorated, it rained and “running rivulets of red percolated in a hundred gulleys from under the circus tents,” Al said. “The decorations had faded white, the hills were red, Ephraim and Lewis made the air blue” (p. 444-445). Again, I could use some help nailing down the year Al Field was with the Sells brothers when they played in Nashville. Thank you, Michele Collins Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Aug 2013 - Al G. Field has a bit of circus experience and his experience on the Sells Bros and other Sells owned shows comes down to two years. In 1874 The Great European Zoological Association, British Museum & Royal Coliseum opened in Columbus, Ohio on April 16-18 and then played Chillicothe, Ohio on April 23. The Sells Bros did not play in Tennessee alot but on Sept. 20 & 21, 1880 they did play in Nashville, Tennessee. Those should be the two dates that of interest to you. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 26 Aug 2013 - Thank you for nailing down the dates Al Field worked for the Sells brothers. The 1874 date fits perfectly into the information Field mentions in his autobiography. John Hatfield, Al's father, painted circus wagons for the show in 1873. Gratefully, Michele Collins

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4274. Harry Bunfill's show, 21 Aug 2013 - I am searching for information on a small, family run, road show owned by Harry Allen Bunfill during the 1910-1940 years. I do not know what it was named but, on occasion. had a wild west show theme and daredevil acts. It travelled through the west and mid west: Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, Washinton, Oregon and, in 1930-1950, California. Please contact me at ludechem@comcast.net if you have any information or photos. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4273. Charles Scaife, 20 Aug 2013 - I am looking for any information you might have on Charles Scaife who apparently worked for Henglers Circus. In some of the census and birth records he is noted as a Gymnast, Artist etc. His wife was Emily Beatrice Varney and we believe they might have been a double act of sorts. Regards, Roy Snelling Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4272. Oh My World Wonder, 20 Aug 2013 - I am looking for any information on a performer called Oh My World Wonder. Her real name was Lillian Hargreaves. She was a contortionist and performed I believe, with the Barnum and Bailey Circus among others. She would have been performing sometime in the early to late 1920s. Lillian was born in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and then moved to Vancouver, B.C., where she might have performed at the Pantages Theatre. As she was the grandmother of my children, we would be very pleased to receive any information you might have or might be able to connect us with. Thank you, Joan Koebel Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4271. LaBird, 20 Aug 2013 - I am researching my husband's circus family history. I have compiled almost 40 pages from archived Billboard articles, newspapers and circus links dating from 1901 to 1955. His grandfather was Charles LaBird, Sr., married to Ella Hackett. They had three children, Isaac Sr., Charles Jr. and Ella all of which remained in circus entertainment most of their lives. In later years Charles LaBird, Jr. and Isaac Sr. had an act known as the LaBird Brothers. Unfortunately most direct family members have passed away and I have been unsuccessful in locating a living person that knew them. I hope that my persistence will pay off and that somewhere out there I will gain a personal story from someone who may have worked directly with them. We do not have any circus memorabilia that has been passed down to us but we are still hoping that we will some day. Thanks to anyone that can help. Isaac W. Bird, Jr., Sheila Bird Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Sep 2014 - I know this family, My grandfather Robert is a member of this family. His name Robert Bird, Phila Pa. Carol

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4270. Fat women, Jacksonville, 16 Aug 2013 - Can someone please send me information on Flora, the Fattest Circus Woman who used to perform in the circus in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as other places in the U.S. during the mid to late 1950's? Her husband's name may have been Bo, and she was Black American. Bo later married 1950s, Circus' Elephant Foot Woman who also performed in Jacksonville, Florida. Please send me information on the Elephant Foot Woman as well. Please send reply soon to: reginaw122@att.net, thank you, Sincerely, Regina J. Williams Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4269. 'Tiny,' Liverpool, 16 Aug 2013 - I have just been talking to my 90 year old mum and she told me that when her family lived near Sefton Park in Liverpool her mother took in a lodger. He was with the circus and asked if he could bring ‘Tiny’ with him, my Nan said yes but did not know who or what ‘Tiny’ was. The lodger duly arrived carrying something in a large coat and when he removed the coat they saw it was a very small man. I think this would be in the 1930s. I do know my nan was quite poor at the time having 6 children and being a widow, so the money she got would have been very welcome. I assume the circus people also had very little money I would really like to know who these people were. Many Thanks, Vicki Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4268. Native Americans, 1867 circus, 15 Aug 2013 - Hello from Ne-Do-Ba, Your website has been a great help to our research and I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge and resources with the general public at no charge. I am researching the Native Americans that traveled with the American Circus in 1867 to Paris for the Universal Exposition.
    I found a New York Times passenger list for the Guiding Star steamboat that transported many of the troupe to Harve, France. Departed March 30. I thought you might like to be informed about the following people who are mentioned as passengers and known to be circus folk but are not mentioned by Sturtevant in the connection with the Paris Exposition.
    Lewis Carr is one of the passengers, and very likely Sturtevant's "CARR, LOUIS B. As Carr Brothers with Henry Burdeau, ..."
    Ed Walcott is a passenger, and surely "WALCOT, EDWARD. Clown, Spalding & Rogers’ Floating Palace, 1859."
    Another passenger listed as Ed Darius - I wonder if this isn't an early appearance of "DARIOUS, HERR ALEXANDER. Animal performer, Adam Forepaugh’s, 1872; zoological director, 1875"
    Here is my transcription of the complete news item:
    Passengers Sailed. March 30 - In steamship Guiding Star for Harve - Mr. and Mrs D. Bidwell, G. C. Quick, Ed. Darius, New-Orleans; Miss May Saul, H. M. McCracken, Miss McCracken, Columbus, Ohio; Robert Stehns, Frank Pastor, George M. Kelley, Henry Rolland, Ed. Walcott, Wm. Lystor, Mr. Catlin and assistant, Lewis Carr, four grooms, Indian and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Wild, California, and 23 in second cabin.
    I have identified the "Indian and wife" as U-ta-wa-un and We-no-na. I have copies of advertising photos of them with a printed back in French suggesting they are associated with "Grand Cirque Americain" at the "Theatre Du Prince-Imperial". I also have an engraving of the female which matches the photo. The engraving includes two additional poses for U-ta-wa-un. The text of the engraving (along with other evidence I have collected) suggests these two were also participating in the Paris Universal Exposition.
    I am posting most of my research and documents on my blog in a series titled "Indians in Paris" http://nedoba.blogspot.com/2013/06/indians-in-paris-index-this-post.html
    These two posts will be of particular interest to circus folks as they cover in text and drawings the dress rehearsal of the Grand American Circus in Paris. http://www.nedoba.blogspot.com/2013/05/indians-in-paris-part-5.html http://nedoba.blogspot.com/2013/06/1867-american-circus-dress-rehearsal.html I have the actual French newspaper covering the rehearsal including the images and would be interested in selling it.
    U-ta-wa-un mostly traveled with Indian Medicine Shows after 1867, but I have some evidence he may have been with a circus off and on. His "wife" for the Paris Expo is very likely Marleah Kanistanaux, wife of Laton Kanistanaux. Laton's obituary claims he traveled with a circus and this would be prior to 1870. I have a hunch most of the folks I am looking into were with a circus during the 1860s. All of these folks advertised themselves as Indian Doctors and Doctresses in the 1870s. U-ta-wa-un is an impostor (a white man) born W. C. Cappell, but the Kanistanaux folks are genuine, although Kanistanaux appears to be a stage name they adopted.
    Recently I found an "Osk-ya-ah-wah" running a Indian Exhibition in early 1866 in Ohio with Marleah as a performer and mentions of preparations for a trip to Europe. The same name appears 1872 with We-no-na listed as a performer and mention of traveling with the Great American Circus in France. The same name "Osk-ya-ah-wa" turns up in an 1856 ad for "Hart & Schofield's Grand Acrobatic, Gynmastic and Indian Ampitheatre". I currently believe Osk-ya-ah-wa is the same man as U-ta-wa-un.
    I would appreciate learning if you or anyone else reading this has any information or items concerning these Native People or other circus "Indians" (even if unnamed) in the time period 1855 to 1875. Wliwni (Thank You), Nancy Lecompte, Research & Programs Director for Ne-Do-Ba Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Aug 2013 - Ed Darius was actually Edwin Derious, who you will find in Slout’s “Olympians,” in the virtual library on this website. The entry mentions his goring by buffalo in Paris. Slout’s entry on Gilbert Spalding provides a good bit on the enterprise and its owners. You may want to check relevant issues of the “New York Clipper” for coverage of the operation. See message 4131 for access information. The “Clipper” may have mentioned the Native Americans.
        Thayer’s “Annals of the American Circus” has some coverage of Native Americans with traveling shows 1793-1860, supplemented by entries abstracted and used in Slout; you can find the latter by key word searching the text online. He has coverage of E. S. Washburn’s Indian Amphitheatre and Circus et al of c1855-1857 in “Annals,” pages 383 and 404-405 in the consolidated edition. The Native Americans may not have been so in reality. Washburn later had a theater troupe on tour, Washburn’s Last Sensation. See message 1562. There’s also the numerous “Indian medicine shows,” which have been covered to some degree. Some seemingly hired bona fide Native Americans, others did not.
        An 1840 newspaper engraving for the Broadway Circus, from the Albany (NY) Argus of October 10, 1840, depicts a bareback rider in Native American dress, holding a spear aloft. Presumably it was a white man in costume; look to the biographies of noted riders, like Andrew Ducrow (the great British rider, covered in a book by Arthur Saxon), Oscar Stone and Levi North (by Thayer in CHS’s Bandwagon) and others for related coverage of riders portrayed as Native Americans.
        An antebellum Native American presentation was part of Van Amburgh & Co.’s Menagerie, Den Stone’s Circus of the People & Tyler’s Indian Exhibition in 1855, the last two elements appended to the Mabie show late in the season. Some Native Americans were with the troupe that went to England in late 1857, part of the Seth Howes et al operation that remained overseas. You’ll find an oft-reproduced piece of illustrated coverage from the “Illustrated London News.”
        There were several troupes with a modest contingent of Native Americans in the post-bellum period, but giving them near top billing. One example is J. M. French in 1866, with Cullen’s tribe of Iroquois. The same group appeared with Van Amburgh & Co. Menagerie in 1867 and the Central Park Menagerie in 1872.
        Broader Native American presence with traveling shows commenced with the Cody & Carver troupe in 1883, followed by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and many cloned enterprises thereafter, up through about 1938. Numerous circuses featured Native Americans in presentations as part of the show, or as the “western”-themed after show or concert between the mid-1880s and late 1930s. There is much visual representation in newspaper advertisements, heralds, couriers, lithographs, etc. The Strobridge collection at the Cincinnati Museum of Art includes a c1882 S. H. Barrett litho portraying “Snake, Flat-Head and Mexican Indians.” You’ll find other examples searching online. The L. G. Moses book, “Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians 1833-1933” may be of some value for further searching. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4267. Jean Pierre Ginett, 15 Aug 2013 - I have an interest in French prisoners of war from the Napoleonic period, and have discovered that Jean Pierre Ginett (founder of the Ginett circus dynasty) was captured at the Battle of Waterloo, or so the histories about this circus tell us. I am trying to find out if this was true, and put some flesh on this part of his story. Is there any information available that states when and where he was captured (either at Waterloo or elsewhere), and his origins? Thanks for your help with this. Yours sincerely, Paul Chamberlain Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Aug 2013 - According to the late John Turner's 'Victorian Arena' - Jean Pierre Ginnett was born 1797 at Saint-Symphorien-d'Ozon, near Lyon, France. He was a Cuirassier and taken prisoner at Waterloo. I seem to remember that there were two brothers, both captured at Waterloo? Don't know if that's true. Michael Austin (grandson of Addie Ginnett) runs Circus Ginnett in the UK (http://www.circusginnett.com) - he may have more info for you? I see there is a Captain Ginnett listed at http://www.sgiweb.org/suchyta/napoleonic/ob/18120801_French.Grande.Armee.txt. Jim Stockley

    Reply: 05 Nov 2013 - Many thanks for this information. I will do some research at the National Archives to find out more about his life as POW before release. Paul Chamberlain

    Reply: 18 Aug 2014 - Hi Paul, I have seen your query last August about Jean Pierre Ginnett. He was my GGGgrandfather through his daughter Marie Elizabeth, performing as Madame Macarte. The story of his capture at Waterloo seems to have been prevalent while he was still alive. John Turner wrote that he was born in St Symphorien d’Ozon. When I went there 2 years ago there was only one reference to Ginnett in the cemetery so again I have no actual evidence that this is true. You mentioned that you were going to do some more research; did you get anywhere? Regards Mark Macarte mark@macarte.fsnet.co.uk

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4266. Grace Taylor, 13 Aug 2013 - I need help finding information about a great-aunt of mine. Her name is Grace V. Taylor. Her maiden name is Grace V. Lacey. The only information I have about her is that she was married, had a child, her husband divorced her. Then she ran away to the circus when it had come to Wilmington. She became the "Fat Lady" of the circus. She was from Wilmington, Delaware. She died in 1957 in Ohio, I believe (don’t hold me to it), and was cremated and shipped home to us. We are looking for any records about her or which circus she joined or images of her or anything. Any help would be appreciated! Kelly Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4265. Nat Ellis, 12 Aug 2013 - I'm looking for information regarding any circuses that would have travelled into North and South Carolina in the late 1880's and 1890's. I'm specifically trying to find any mention of my great grandfather, Nat Hass Ellis who was a child when he joined a circus that travelled along the East Coast. Any information or search tips would be welcome. Thanks. Melanie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Aug 2013 - Your request for information really needs some details to help you along the way. Do you know any name of any show your ancestor was on? Going on just the name alone, I would suggest contacting the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin. ( It's easily found on the internet ) They'll look in a quick reference index they have called the "Yellow Tickets" which will have a name and then locations of information relating to that name. This will probably be your best bet at the time.
        The two trade journals of the time were the New York Clipper and the Billboard magazine. Both of these have been digitized and place on a NY Newspaper website at www.fultonhistory.com. You'll be able to go there and search around with your ancestor's name. try every kind of search you can, They give you choices of boolean ( seems to be the best ) all of the words, any of the words, and the exact phrase.
        There were many circus and travelling shows near the turn of the century as you are seeking in the Carolinas. If you know what town your great-grandfather was from and when he joined a circus, you could always search the old newspapers on Microfilm which are in local libraries, historical societies, or even state level archives. You'll be looking for any advertisement of a circus which will then give you a correct show title. You'll have to know which year to do this otherwise you'll be looking and looking for a show title. Its not much to go on, I realize, but I wish you had more information to go by. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4264. Johnny J Jones, 11 Aug 2013 - I have two Johnny J Jones Circus panoramic view photos framed and would like to obtain info on the group. The first picture (both very old) is dated July 11, 1919 of the Edmonton Alberta Exhibition; the second is dated July 12 - 17, 1926 at Edmonton Alberta. These pictures prior to having them framed are approximately 4 feet long x 1 foot wide. Any info would be appreciated, as Johnny was supposed to be a member of my family. Respectfully, Steven Proctor Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Aug 2013 - The Johnny J. Jones show was a carnival rather than a circus. It would have miscellaneous shows of entertainment and curiousity, games of chance, rides and concessions. They called the Deland, Florida Fairgrounds their winter home for many years. This is the same property as the Cole Bros. Circus winter home now.
        Joe McKennon authored a set of three books called the Pictorial History of the American Carnival, Volume, I, Volume II, and Volume III. In his Volume II edition he offerred a biography of many of the Carnival Show owners and other important people that left their mark in the Carnival Industry. Mr. Jones biography is found on pages 22-24. I'll highlight a few pieces for you in case you don't have access to this book.
        Johnny Jenkins Jones was born in Arnot, Pa. in 1874. By 1895 he had broken into the concessions business with a cane rack and within 4 yars had bought a miniature Railroad and built a ferris wheel. In 1903 he joined forces with Bert Hoss to incorporate their Columbus Carnival Company. By 1904, he opened under the title of Johnny J. Jones Carnival Company and by the end of 1904 had gone under the Jones-Adams Shows title which he stayed with for the next couple years. In 1907 he went back out as the Johnny J. Jones Exposition Shows & Trained Wild Animal Exposition. The Johnny J. Jones title would be out for over 50 years. By 1912 he was travelling on 25 railroad cars. He established his Florida winter quarters in 1914.
        Mr. Jones' first wife died on Dec. 31, 1909. He married his second wife, Etta Louise (Hody) Hurd in 1920 and together they had a baby boy born on August 5, 1921. This would be Johnny J. Jones Jr. Mr. Jones death on December 25, 1930 in his private railroad car in Deland, Florida was attributed to uremia. I hope this is of some help. Bob Cline

    Reply: 13 Aug 2013 - It will require genealogical type searching to establish your exact relation to Jones. Sometimes the family stories are entirely accurate; in other cases they take a lot of twists and turns. There were a couple other railroad showmen named Jones that also came out of northwestern Pennsylvania (Elmer and J. A. Jones) that might be part of the story. Lacking any written record or documentation, I’d recommend that you contact family members or others that can take you as close as possible to reports of the family association and then analyze those stories to a stage of proof or rejection.
        Johnny J. Jones was an important showman, working early ride ownership up to the status of a large railroad carnival. He was one of the two leading carnival sheiks of the late 1910s and 1920s, the other being Clarence A. Wortham. Both died prematurely, casualties of the obligations, in different ways. Jones was the first carnival operator to reach the 40-railroad car size class. There is some comment upon him in past queries 96 and 3040.
        A quick and easily obtainable reference on the Johnny J. Jones Exposition is Bob Goldsack’s out-of-print book, "'Johnny’s Here,' The History of the Johnny J. Jones Exposition." You may be able to find it in the second hand market, or request it via interlibrary loan. It was largely based upon Bob’s research in "Billboard" magazine and other material he accumulated. He reproduced 1919 and 1923 panorama views taken at Edmonton therein. Bob also made extensive use of images housed at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, which provide a broader look at the show. Some of them can be viewed online.
        If you want to do a little digging on your own, which will give personal satisfaction and the most complete answers possible, you can access “Billboard” and "New York Clipper" on your own and directly at the Fulton County website. There are links elsewhere in the CHS message board - see query 4131. If you search issues for 1919 and 1926 you will find show reviews that identify the various midway concessions, rides and back end shows. Some of these changed through the course of the season. A show playing the Class A Canadian fair circuit may also have augmented the basic show with additional attractions, so be sure to check the coverage at the time of the Edmonton engagement.
        A local PA resident, Rich Levine, has created a tertiary Wikipedia website page tribute to Jones, based largely upon secondary works as noted above. You might check it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_J._Jones. There’s another for the exposition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Jones_Exposition. There’s also a bio of Jones in Vol. II of Joe McKennon’s book "Pictorial History of the American Carnival." Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 20 Aug 2013 - To those sending a reply to my original message, my heartfelt thanks. I was adopted from childrens home into my family, do not know who my original parents were, and gathering info on current family has been difficult. You helped me quite a bit, and I can now look deeper due to your kind replies and understand a bit more through these pages of history. I am 63, have no family left and this info means alot to me. Steven

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4263. Swedish, Scandanavian circuses, early 1900s, 10 Aug 2013 - I am wondering if you could help me find a historical site search for Swedish/Scandanavian circuses of the early 1900's. I am trying to track down information on my grandfather Anton Svensson who was a contortionist born in 1900 in Kristianstadt Sweden. Any help would be greatly appreciated :) Thank you and kindest regards, Victoria Hoare Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Aug 2013 - I suggest you to contact Johan Vinberg of The Swedish Circus Academy. E-mail: johan.vinberg@tele2.se. Kind regards, Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4262. Columbus, OH 1960s, 10 Aug 2013 - Could you please tell me if there was a big circus that performed in Columbus, Ohio during the 1960's. Also could you tell me where they performed. My younger brother insists they performed at the Ohio State Fairgrounds sometime during the 60's. My other siblings and I do not remember this. Can you please help me obtain this information? We are all curious about this. Thank you for your help. Colleen Cashman Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Aug 2013 - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus played at the Colisieum on the Fairgrounds several times The animals all were housed in the horse stables barn right beside the Colisieum. The Shrine Circus also performed in the Colisieum at the Ohio State Fairgrounds for many years. Bob Cline

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4261. Veronica Bremer, 09 Aug 2013 - I'm looking for information on my aunt, Veronica (or Ronnie) Bremer, who was a trapeze artist in the 1930s. I don't know her performing name. She said that she used to sit in for the "Headless Woman" when the latter was on lunch break, and that she was involved int he wedding of the alligator boy and monkey girl (part of the Johnny Jones Exposition) in 1938. Please contact fbremer1@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Aug 2013 - Your overall description of activity suggests that your aunt was a member of a railroad carnival troupe. They sometimes featured a one ring circus performance as one of the back end shows, inside a tent. The headless woman was a well-known illusion of the time. The alligator boy and monkey girl were Emmitt Bejano and Percilla Roman. She was adopted by Carl J. Lauther. Lauther booked his Oddities of the 20th Century sideshow onto the Johnny J. Jones Exposition, which had a circus back end show. Their marriage took place in January 1938, per one source, April 1938 according to another, suggesting that your aunt may have been around the Jones show in 1937, or at least known the couple before they eloped. A 50th anniversary celebration was staged in April 1988, so the couple seems to have supported the April 1938 ceremony date. They are well known in sideshow annals and you can locate much about them online, to varying degrees of accuracy. See my response to message 4264 for information about Johnny J. Jones and references to it. The 1938 Billboards are not yet available online; you’ll need to request those for 1938 and other seasons on microfilm via interlibrary loan. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4260. War Eagle Mill, 05 Aug 2013 - My name is Donna Stjerna from Fayetteville, Arkansas. I am a songwriter with a duo called Still on the Hill. We got a grant to write a body of songs about the Beaver Lake Watershed and the White River History before the Dam. It is a project to raise awareness of being good stewards of our water source. We have heard bits and pieces about a circus at the War Eagle Mill and folks bathing the elephants in the War Eagle River next to the Mill. Also a place called the High Sky Inn where Circus folk would winter (in NWA). My partner re-sided an old post office in Larue (one of the only towns not flooded by the lake) and found an old old circus poster under the boards. It was in bad shape, he salvaged bits of it and collaged it into an art piece. My question is if anyone knows of an circus shows working in that area of Arkansas? Any details? I want to write the song! Thanks Donna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4259. Schmidt, elephant trainers, 04 Aug 2013 - I look for information about the family Schmidt, the elephants trainers. In 1907 a trainer of name Ugo Schmidt present three elephants in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the Frank Brown's circus. I want to know if someone knows the relation between this one and the Captain Hugo Schmidt (1904-1977) who appears after in RBBB. Father? Uncle?. Cesar Ortega, Argentine Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4258. Webster Groves, MO, 02 Aug 2013 - Can you provide any history of circus trains passing through Webster Groves, MO in the 1970's? Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Aug 2013 - The only circus trains operational in the 1970s were those operated by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. There is an abundance or material in print concerning them. A simple Google search will reveal both textual and image content. For example, there are articles in the CHS Bandwagon magazine that offer great detail, written by Bob MacDougall. They can be acquired as back issues via this website. TRAINS magazine in recent years has published a couple pieces that provide more popular overviews of the operation. There’s another railroad enthusiast’s journal that has also provided coverage. The RBBB routes on this website reach only to 1967; perhaps one reader will check their holdings and advise which specific RBBB units might have passed through the vicinity of Webster Groves, MO, en route to or from St. Louis or other engagements. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4257. Red Bud, IL, 01 Aug 2013 - I am new to researching Circus history. I am looking for information on a Circus that was in Red Bud Illinois in 1872. The newspaper of the time in Red Bud was the Torpedo but no copies have survived. I know that this circus was traveling into Louisiana the following year, Baton Rouge specifically. If anyone knows of any resouces to help me identify the name of the circus I would appreciate ideas. Thank you, Linda Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Aug 2013 - I looked through the 1872 New York Clipper and did not find any shows in Red Bud. Since no paper exist for Red Bud look at Waterloo, Sparta, and Chester newspapers since most shows only traveled a limited distance each night. Many times the show will put a reader in their circus ad stating what the next town will be, or the local editor was state that the show left for another town in their notes on the show. John Polacsek

    Reply: 04 Aug 2013 - The best continuum of circus routes are the pages of the New York Clipper. These have been digitized and you can consult them online. Refer to the response to query 4131 concerning the access. Be sure to read the circus columns, also the news listings, and the want ads. This journal will also familiarize you with the tenor of the trade at the time, other shows on tour, where they routed, etc. You might examine and study period Illinois maps for the routes into and out of Red Bud. They might suggest how the show came and went. You can also discern the shows that went south to Baton Rouge, Louisiana by continuing into 1873 issues.
        Despite there being no local papers that survive, try other local communities, especially the county seat and also the adjacent county seats and the communities at the county lines. It was common practice for overland shows to jump about 20 miles, county line to county seat and so on. There may be no remaining record of the Red Bud engagement, but you may find them locally in another community. Typically newspaper ads also gave the future dates in the area and thereby you might find the day and date for Red Bud. Red Bud is also close to the Mississippi River; a river show may have gone inland to seek an audience and generally used the waterway as its principal means of navigation.
        Once you have established the title of the circus, and the proprietor, those facts will open up large avenues of research. If you already have the name of an individual with the circus that you are trying to trace, that search is conducted by other means. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 Oct 2013 - My original message was Aug 1, 2013 #4257 trying to find a circus in Red Bud Illinois in 1870-71. I thank those who responded on the how to tips of searching Circus history. I have searched newspapers in areas surrounding Red Bud and the only information I have obtained is from just across the Mississippi River in St. Louis MO. During that time period I find that "The New York Circus" visited according to the St. Louis Republican of the time period. I have also search excerpts on the Circus Historical Society website (thank you for your transcription work) finding information on The New York Circus, James Robinson and his Circus, Dan Rice's Circus, Van Amburgh's Menagerie, DeHaven's Circus in St. Louis in the era. Also a possible connection to "The Antonio Brothers, the old circus managers and performers" who had a saloon in St. Louis near the Olympic Theatre mentioned by the New York Clipper article to have been one of the "finest". The family I am searching had a strong connection to St. Louis, having lived there before moving to Red Bud, and the father owned a tavern in the early 1860s St. Louis and Red Bud, hotel/saloon, later 1860s - 1880s. After leaving St. Louis for Red Bud they still had family in St.L. I find that the circus' did travel by Mississippi River and also the Iron Mountain Railroad, which stopped in Red Bud as they travelled east. The gentlman I am searching for was William J. Sutorius who according to records recently found was Dutch, born in Holland. Thank you for any help. Sincerely, Linda Osterdock

    Reply: 17 Oct 2013 - The Antonio real family name was Migasi. Check the Antonio entries in Slout’s Olympians on this website. Stage names have been commonplace and Sutorius may have used an alias in the trade, or his name may have been concealed within an act name. If you’re sure that the circus that visited Red Bud in 1872 went down to Louisiana and Baton Rouge the following year, you can trace their routes via the listings in the circus listings in the New York Clipper, which are also online. Go to message 4131 to learn how to access those pages. You have some specific 1872 titles - simply follow their peregrinations through the Clipper’s circus columns and routes. You might also do a key word search through the online listings in Olympians, for “St. Louis.” You might turn up the names of other troupers that resided there, or retired there. Agnes Lake’s family, the Mersmans, was one of them; check the book “Agnes Lake Hitchcock” by Linda A. Fisher and Carrie Bowers. It was a city that once aspired to be the gateway to the west, but Chicago won that battle when the railroads aggregated there and it became to connecting point for the line that led to the transcontinental. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4256. Naraya Swami, 01 Aug 2013 - Does anyone have information on my grandfather Naraya Swami who was killed by a lion in 1950. He used to be a knife thrower at Kay's circus. Many thanks, Susan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Aug 2013 - How odd, we had the same enquiry exactly one year ago (to the day) from Simon! (see 4040. Lion tamer 1960s, 01 Aug 2012 on this website). I posted an answer: Reply: 03 Aug 2012 - According to circus historian Jim Clubb (in an email to me today) - The trainer in question was "Captain" Nayara Swami – "the world’s only Negro lion tamer" – an Indian from Madaras who normally did a whip-cracking called "Swami and Sheila". He was aged 36 when he was killed at Abbey Park, Evesham 1950. The act consisted of a male lion, Leo, and two lionesses. The animals belonged to "Sister" Jeanette Fossett, the wife of Claude Fossett and the mother of Jessie. The show was Ringland’s Circus run by her father "Long" Tom Fossett. This lion had already injured another trainer, but I don’t know who. It was reported in the Evesham Journal that "he was dragged out of the cage by a group of clowns". This wasn’t the case. The lions had left the ring, but the tunnel gate hadn’t been closed properly and as Swami took his call, Leo came back in, grabbed him. They got the lion off and Swami was still alive, but he later died at Evesham Hospital. Although in 1950 (not the 1960s as requested), to the best of our knowledge this is the only fatality for that period. Does this help at all? jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 22 Aug 2016 - Hi Susan, My Mum used to work with your Grandfather in his previous act ‘Swami and Sheila’. It was a knife throwing act and he used to throw these huge knives at my Mum. They wore a cowboy and cowgirl costume for the act. The knives were over a pound in weight and beaten steel. She used to look after his son as well until he was about 2 years old. Philip

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4255. Harry Jaffa, 31 Jul 2013 - I am hoping you can help me. I am looking for information about my great grandfather. I have always been told that he was a clown for either Ringling Bros. or Barnum and Bailey. His name was Harry S. Jaffa and he came here from Jeruselum, Turkey apparently to New York then to Rhode Island. He was born in 1882, and would have been a performer, I am guessing in the early 1900's. He died very young, somewhere around 1919-1921. if there are any records that would help, It would be wonderful. Pretty much all of that side are gone, and his life and death has always been a mystery to my Mom. I know she remembers seeing a trunk, that was his, containing all of his things from the circus, but it dissapeared from my great aunt's house a long time ago. Thank you! Lyn Geremia-Terrell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4254. Redan & Hale, 27 Jul 2013 - A circus titled Redan & Hale is said to have wintered in Parksley, VA in 1903, according to Southern Sawdust. The circus is not listed in Parkinson's directory or Sturtevant's list. Does anyone have information on this show? J. Griffin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4253. Circus Vargas, 1977, 25 Jul 2013 - I am writing you with hope you can help me. I need to find out about Circus Vargas in 1977. Did they perform in Zagreb, Croatia (ex Yugoslavia), list of artists and if possible pictures. I am looking for one family member and that I am doing for the last 22 years. Hope you will help. Many thanks, Tajana, from Croatia and living in London, UK. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Aug 2013 - The 1977 season started in January and it ran all the way through to December. Circus Vargas only played in the United States and Canada, and never played in Europe. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 26 Jul 2013 - I am also looking for a family member who was in the circus. My grand mother was Emilia Tóth, and am also hoping to find pictures, she was a trapeze artist, singer and dancer. Can you help? Kind regards, Giselle mason

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4252. Norman Mitchell, Beatty-Cole, 25 Jul 2013 - My name is Kelly and I am trying to find information on my father, Norman Joe Mitchell. He worked as a welder for the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus in the 1980's as far as I know and perhaps for other circuses. Does anyone know what type of employee records circuses keep and for how long? If you have any information please send it to mitchkelly@hotmail.com. Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4251. Jojo, clown, 24 Jul 2013 - My name is John Adams, and I have recently learned that I am a relative of Edward T. Allen Jr (aka Jojo the clown). I have been trying to dig up any info I can on him. Yet I am finding it hard to find any thing about him. I would love to learn more about his time in the circus and would really love to get ahold of some pictures of him. Thank you for your time. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Jul 2013 - There is a portrait and information on Edward Allen (JoJo) in the Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, CT), April 12, 1964, page C-three. Found on NewspaperArchives.com. At the time there was a Circus Fans Association (CFA) Tent #108 at Bridgeport named Eddie Allen-Bill Browning Tent. CFA may have information on this fan group that is still in existence. Try http://www.circusfans.org/. Contact for CFA may be deptulascircus@centurytel.net to find the contact information for Tent #108. J. Griffin

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4250. Wayne Carr, Wild Bill show, 24 Jul 2013 - My uncle was chief of the cowboy circus riders with the Wild Bill organization and his wife road the back of high jumping horses. I'm looking for printed material about them. They were married July 7, 1914 in Utica, Michigan (I have the article, they made quite an appearance in their cowboy attire and had a special article in the paper that day. The article is where I got my info from). They had 2 shows that same day in Blissfield, Michigan (10 miles away) and opted not to take a honeymoon at that time. My uncle was: Wayne B. Carr (given name), aka: Bill Rite or Bill Wright or William Wright, not sure. His wife was: Marguerite Kinlock, no performance name I'm aware of.
    In the newspaper article announcing their marriage they stated they hoped their marriage would be mentioned in "Billboard" magazine but I searched and did not find it. Their 2 witnesses were in the Wild Bill show also: Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Jacques, Mr. Jacques was also a rider of bucking bronchos. I don't know if "Wild Bills" organization and the circus performers where together or separate organizations. Was there a registry/ or listing for performers at that time (1914)? Any info or suggestion where I might look for information would be most appreciated. Thank you, Charlene A. Hendrix Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2013 - I believe the first thing you should do is go to the town they performed in (Blissfield, Michigan) and look at their newspapers for any advertising of the show. This could have been as much as three weeks a head of time but is generally just two weeks before and up to the day of the performances. This is fairly important in that you will then gain the actual name of the Show and not just a generic name like Wild Bill.
        Once you have a positive name of the show they were with, it becomes much easier to search in the Billboard for the show title. The Route may become available once you have a definitive title and the possibility then exists that a route book for that season may exist that would have the names of the showfolks listed as well as possibly a daily diary.
        I would also suggest that you contact the Circus World Museum's Research Library located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. They have what they call the "Yellow Tickets" which are basically index cards with notes on them of locations where the name has been found such as a route book, Billboard, in a book, a collection etc. that may point you further on your way.
        Once you have a bonafide show title, you may want to search on newspaperARCHIVE.com for any newspaper rticles that have been digitized and made search capable. There's literally millions of newspapers in their database from around the US. You may want to try www.fultonhistory.org which has the Billboard and NY Clipper as well as tons of New York area newspapers in a searchable format. Best wishes, Bob Cline

    Reply: 08 Aug 2013 - Bob Cline, Thank you so much for all your suggests and ways to find out more about Wayne B. Carr. I'll let you know how the hunt goes! Thanks again, Charlene A. Hendrix

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4249. Edward, Marie Silber, 23 Jul 2013 - Looking for information regarding Edward Silber, Marie Silber, performed with the circus in the early 1900. Marlene Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2013 - Do you have any idea what the name of any circus was that Mr. Silber was on or what he did? I would contact the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin (easily found on the internet) and ask if they have any references to Mr. Silber in their "Yellow Tickets". This is a simple cataloging system they have for quick reference points. They may have something based solely on the name that could open up other avenues of your research journey. Best wishes, Bob Cline [Note: Circus World Museum at http://circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org/About/ResearchCenter.aspx. It's the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center at Baraboo, Wisconsin. Phone number is 608-356-8341. Email address is on their website. - JG]

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4248. Posters, RBBB, 23 Jul 2013 - I have a circus poster that I am trying to find out something about. It is a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows poster named Quarter Million Pound Act of Performing Elephants. It measures 24 1/2 x 35 1/2 and has the number P-111 in the lower left corner with no date. I have another with the number P-10 1933 in the same location. Both are the same size. The title of the other is Felix and 99 other Famous Clowns. Are these repros or original? They certainly look old. Thanks, Russ Jones, Bozeman, Montana Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Jul 2013 - Sorry, Russ, but those "P" numbers give them away as repros. Better luck next time. Whitey

    Reply: 24 Jul 2013 - These are reproductions. The P-any number is one indication they are a reproduction and the size is the other give-away as that isn't a standard poster size. Bob Cline

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4247. Clyde Beatty Cole Bros., 23 Jul 2013 - I am looking for anyone who worked for Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus in the late 1950's, early 1960's and would consider being interviewed. Thanks for any leads or ideas. Tammy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Jul 2013 - Keep in mind that the Clyde Beatty Circus didn't combine with the Cole Bros. title until 1959. Bob Cline

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4246. Staneslav Kalinski, 13 Jul 2013 - I am hoping to find a "Showman" named Staneslav Kalinski who is said to have worked with PT Barnum's circus sometime between 1886-1895. On his Naturalization record from March 1894 he was listed as residing at 121 W 60th Street. It is further listed that he was born Oct 1867 in Poland/Germany and arrived in the USA Mar 1886. We have many records that show his "married" life in Bridgeport CT. It is said that he left the "family" for "show" season and was gone for months at a time. Any help would be appreciated. It is, perhaps a hope, based on our local history of PT Barnum that he was part of his circus. We are however just looking for any documentation that shows he was involved with any circus and what he role might have been. The family lore is that he worked with the lions. Can not find anything other than the naturalization that confirms anything closer than showman. (This is how I have also seen PT Barnum listed on a census) Thanks again, any information would be wonderful! The witness on his naturalization index, Thomas O'Malley, might also have been in the circus. Carol Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2013 - I don't know where you are located but if you are close to Bridgeport, CT., you might want to inquire with the Barnum Museum just to get a helpful suggestion or two. If your question is factual about him arriving in the US in March of 1886 and he perhaps joined the circus that year, he would have been working for the Barnum & London Shows. This title would have been used in 1886, 1887 and 1888 as it pertains to this question. P,T. Barnum would indeed have been an owner. The title of Barnum & Bailey becomes a reality in 1888 with P.T. Barnum still remaining an owner through 1890. The title of Barnum and Bailey continues through the year 1895 that you ask about however, James A. Bailey is the sole owner as P.T. Barnum passed away on April 7, 1891.
        Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey) holds the McCaddon collection of Barnum & Bailey records. Joseph T. McCaddon was the business manager of the Barnum & Bailey circus for many years up till the Ringling Bros. bought the title in 1907. This collection has all the route books for all of these years. If Mr. Kalinski was employed by the Barnum or Barnum and Bailey entities, his name should be found in the route books. I have to add here that if he only worked part of a season and not the entire season, he may not be listed in the route books. The collection also has many contracts and show papers in it that may or may not help you in anyway.
        You might try contacting the Circus World Museum Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin to see if they have information at their finger tips in their "Yellow Tickets" which are a simple indexing of known locations in the collection pertaining to a specific name. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4245. Jumbo exhibition, 12 Jul 2013 - 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, one of our founding trustees, 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 in the campus museum Barnum sponsored until a fire burned the building and its contents in 1975. Nevertheless, Jumbo lives on as the Tufts mascot and we aim to commemorate his arrival in grand style next year.
    I will be the curator of 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. Having published a scholarly article on Jumbo and the Barnum Museum (in the Journal of the History of Collections), I will also author a well-illustrated publication to accompany the show. We expect the exhibition will be hugely popular with local communities and the Tufts family of past and present students. Circus enthusiasts in the area or passing through Boston will be warmly welcomed! Andrew McClellan, Professor of Art History, Tufts University Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4244. Ethel Usher, 12 Jul 2013 - My name is Kathy and I am trying to find information on my great Aunt Ethel Usher. She performed for the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the late 1800's as far as I know. She was a performer on horse back, with elephants and Ostriches. I have several pictures of her that are very old and am looking to find more information of her and possible some posters as well. I sure hope you can help me. If you have any information please send it to kathylea12@frontier.com. Thank you Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4243. Carlos Marcos, 07 Jul 2013 - My great-grandpa Charlie (Carlos) Marcos did magic and bicycle tricks and had cousins who where famous trapeze artists the Marcos Brothers in the 50's. My grandma went to Chicago with Charlie from Detroit to see the cousins perform after spotting them live on the circus aired out out of Chicago. She enjoyed it, but that is the only family she ever met of his and I am trying to trace back my circus roots, would like to find any existing family and also find some pics if possible. I have been clowning around myself for over 20 years, so I guess it runs in my blood. Hee hee. thanks for you help! :O) Laura Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4242. Aerial fall, 1940s, 04 Jul 2013 - There was a serious, perhaps fatal fall from a high wire or trapeze at an afternoon circus performance in Grand Island, Nebraska in the early 1940s. I was there and witnessed it as a young child. Does anyone know anything about this accident? Jerry Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4241. L. W. Hoffman circus, 02 Jul 2013 - I collect and deal antique horse and carriage/wagon items, and I have a smaller circus wagon/stake body wagon that we believe came from L.W. Hoffman circus. The piece is the size where a pony or very large dog or donkey might pull it. Does any one have information about the L.W. Hoffman circus, or maybe a collection of antique photos from the circus. I am really hoping to find all the information that I can about this wagon. Thanks alot, Mike Zaetta Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Aug 2013 - The L. W. Hoffman Jr. Shows was out in 1911. The show opened in Bridgeport, Conn., June 13, and then played, Conn., New York, Conn., Mass., New York, and closed the season on August 27 at Bridgeport and went into winter quarters. There is a 1911 herald produced by the Erie Printing Co., but it shows a stock illustration of the parade, the wagons are larger than what you described. Hoffman was a dealer of used circus equipment and a small wagon such as you describe could have come from a number of shows that he purchased or owned. John Polacsek

    Reply: 13 Aug 2013 - At one time the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT was in possession of three wagons from the Hoffman circus, a ticket wagon and two baggage wagons. You might contact the museum administrator concerning their existence; perhaps they were deaccessioned, being outside the focus of the museum’s collections and interpretation plans? They may have retained some documentation for legal purposes. These vehicles were addressed by some brief coverage in the CFA journal White Tops several decades ago, but the piece isn’t in the online journal index. I believe the entry might be found by Pete Shrake at the CWM library, in a lead file for circus vehicles outside the CWM holdings. I am certain that photographs of these vehicles exist today, taken when they were at the Barnum Museum.
        The Hoffman name appeared in another title in 1901, per a piece you can read here: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1943Dec.htm. There’s more on this in CHS message 4075. John Polacsek also published an entire article about the show in the CHS journal "Bandwagon," Jan-Feb 2008, of which a back issue can be purchased via instructions on this website. John’s point about the Hoffman wagons being from another show, owing to Hoffman’s dealings in show property, is an interesting possibility. Show chattel often had an existence before and after their readily documented existence.
        While searching for other information, the following website, with image coverage of the Barnum Museum, was discovered. http://enlightenmentderbyshire.wordpress.com/page/2/ One of the images portrays two of the L. W. Hoffman-titled wagons, the ticket wagon and one of the baggage wagons. Perhaps the third is the one in private ownership? Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4240. Miniature circus, 28 Jun 2013 - When I was growing up in Milwaukee,WI we had a neighbor who had a miniature circus. Every few years he would take the time to set up a 3 ring circus in his garage. I would stare at this thing for hours and see all of the different aspects of the circus.
    I recently came across the daughter of our neighbor and she had told me that after her father died she ended up with all of this circus stuff. I am wondering how many other people would like to see a three ring miniature with all of the things you would expect to see from animals, circus wagons, tents, and the many people you would see at the circus. If I remember correctly he even had a side show area.
    This collection is quite large and complete. It is all vintage stuff that I doubt you could find much of this stuff anymore. I have spoken with the current owner and she is willing to let is be shown. Now I am trying to figure out a place in NYC where this could be exhibited. With all of the great connections this city has to the circus I thought this would be a great place to show it. If anyone has any ideas as to where I should be looking feel free to let me know. Tim Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Aug 2013 - Tim, there is an organization called the Circus Model Builders. They might be able to help you. Jana

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4239. Aerial Safety Practices, 27 Jun 2013 - I am searching for information on the inception and evolution of safety practices within aerial performance in the American circus. I understand that aerial performers have remained largely ungoverned by federal and state safety regulations, especially in the earlier part of the century. The only law I know of is New York State Labor Rule #41. Does anyone know of other safety legislation for aerial acts? Or, perhaps any information on what safety measures aerialists typically took in the early 20th century? For instance – when did it became standard practice to use a harness in swinging or flying trapeze? I would be grateful for any insight! Thank you, Amy Meyer, Boston, MA. Also feel free to contact me at amy.meyer@tufts.edu Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Aug 2013 - The earliest safety rigging employed in the circus performing arts, beyond simply ropes tied around the waist and held by associates during acrobatic training, may have been the “Stokes mechanic.” It was essentially a post crane, located in the center of a circus ring, which rotated in synchronization with the horse and rider being trained. A rope was threaded from the center, via pulleys, to a harness or waist belt suspended under the boom. The belt went around the waist of a rider who was being trained to do bareback or pad riding. A person in the center, circling around with the rotating crane, controlled the slack in the safety line. There was enough slack allowed to provide for desired performer motion and activity, but if the rider lost their footing the slack was quickly taken out by the person at the other end and the performer was suspended in mid-air, saved from a fall into the ring, onto the ring curb or horse’s hooves, etc. The activity later became the basis for some comedy riding acts, using an associate planted in or passing by the audience as the horse galloped around the ring. The concept of using a safety appliance to prevent an aerialist from falling to the ground embodies the same principle as originally used in the Stokes mechanic---a tether to a point of safety.
        The Stokes identity came from circus man Spencer Q. Stokes, the presumed inventor, or perhaps the first trainer to use it on a consistent basis. It was well known in the latter 19th century and several illustrations of it are available, 1882-1884 ("Harper’s Weekly," February 18, 1882, page 101 shows one), depicting different versions and suggesting proliferation by that time. One that might have dated back to 1897 endured in the Ringlingville quarters into the 1950s, but only the top anchor plate from it can be seen today.
        Early aerial acts could have been staged at higher elevations indoors, in tall theaters and arenas, but most pavilions were less than 30 to 40 feet tall inside until later in the 19th century. The height was limited by the size of the canvas and the poles that supported them. Acts performed in the air included perche acts (a ground-supported pole) and single traps suspended sideways from a center pole. These performers might have sought safety by training above cushioning mattresses, as used by leapers, a simple pile of hay or straw, or by practicing at lower heights. Thayer’s book “The Performers” will provide more insights on the array of early aerial acts, with Hippisley-Coxe and Speaight covering others in later years.
        Later flying return trapeze acts typically used nets for safety purposes, owing to the degree of free motion. Gossard’s book on trapeze history has some insights on the introduction of fishing-like nets for aerial safety. Steve may also have some insights on when other forms of aerial “mechanic” were implemented for trapeze performing arts. Some are truly latter day interpretations of the Stokes mechanic, providing the requisite motion but securing the trainee against what could be a dangerous fall. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4238. Flying Gillettes, 26 Jun 2013 - My mom was best friends with a girl who performed in the Hunt Bros. Circus back in the late 40's early 50's. My mom used to practice the family act with her friend Pat Gillette of the Flying Gillettes. Their act was wire walking (on a droopy rope) under the name The Flying Gillettes. Pats dad died doing the act and Pats mom and her continued the act on their own. My mom knew them from Wildwood NJ. Do you have any information about them? My mom desperately has been trying to find her friend after so many years and any info you could help with would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance, Melody Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4237. Harry Howard, trapeze, 26 Jun 2013 - I just joined your organization. I am trying to find out information on Harry Howard trapeze artist. I can't seem to get more than a date range of somewhere around 1885. He used a Nickle Plated trapeze. Thanks, Stephan Boyer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4236. Flying Wallendas, 23 Jun 2013 - Can you tell me if the "Flying Wallendas" ever performed at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, WI? Beth Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Jun 2013 - I know there have been Wallenda family members there. Were they billed as the Flying Wallendas? I don't know. I would contact the Circus World Museum research Library. The Museum celebrated its 50th Anniversary a couple years ago and I know a good friend that was working hard on putting the history of performers there together. I would think that if they don't have that at their finger tips, I could call the gentleman that was working on it and find out. Let me know what you discover. Bob Cline

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4235. Circus, Belgium, 22 Jun 2013 - I just acquired an antique mirror from a circus. It's ornately carved & handpainted and says Anvers Hoboken across the top (painted on). I'm really just trying to figure out how old it is but can't find any information regarding a circus in the Anvers Hoboken region of Belgium online. Does anyone have any information about this? Thanks! Allison Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jun 2013 - Without seeing your mirror, I'm just guessing that it is from a carnival, possibly part of a ride. You might want to try and contact the Fairgrounds Archives at Sheffield University and see if they may be of any help. Bob Cline

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4234. Jumbo's tusks, 20 Jun 2013 - I would like to find out if anyone has an update regarding M & D Board #828 and #1129. I live in St.Thomas Ontario and have a natural interest in Jumbo. Please visit our City and view the Jumbo Monument this summer if you can. You can find items on display at the Elgin County Museum and the Elgin Military Museum (just west of Monument). My name is Steve Peters and my email is s.peters1@sympatico.ca Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4233. Hunt Bros. Circus, 19 Jun 2013 - I am looking for any info or pictures from the Hunt Bros. Circus around 1945. My husbands Grandfather was a clown with them. His name was Thomas Dugan. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Peggy Dugan. Email me at peggdug@aol.com, put in subject Hunt Bros so I know it is not spam. Thanks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4232. World Brothers Circus, 17 Jun 2013 - My father, Robert Hale Briggs, born in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1912, became a trombone player who toured with "World Brothers Circus" for a time in the mid 1930s, I believe in the Pennsylvania area. It was clear that it was a very important, happy, and memorable experience of his life. I have never been able to find reference to "World Brothers Circus," and I would love to learn anything about it. My dad left the circus due to a sudden illness, and after his recovery, he went on to work at a newspaper, Taunton Daily Gazette, both before and after WWII, eventually becoming news editor and retiring in the early 1970s. If anyone can direct me to information about World Brothers, I'll be very grateful. Yours truly, John W. Briggs, Eagle, Colorado Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Jun 2013 - Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses lists World Bros. Circus, 1923, 1930, 1933-34, 1938. Parkinson states that Fred Buchanan was proprietor in 1923 and Tom Gorman and James Heron were proprietors in 1933. He also notes that in 1933 the Walter L. Main Circus changed its title mid-season to World Bros. Circus, and whether or not this resulted in two World Bros. circuses in 1933 is not clear. Under this title Parkinson lists James Heron, proprietor for 1934 and Winkle, proprietor, 1938. He also states that in mid-season of 1938, World Bros. Circus changed its title to Famous Robbins as did Robbins Bros. Circus.
        You will want to contact the Circus World Museum at http://circusworld.wisconsinhistory.org/About/ResearchCenter.aspx. It's the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center circus archives at Baraboo, Wisconsin. Phone number is 608-356-8341. Email address is on their website. - J. Griffin

    Reply: 18 Jun 2013 - When Fred Buchanan got back into the rail show business he framed a show in Granger, Iowa, and took it out as World Bros in 1923. In 1924 he changed the title to Robbins Bros. The show kept that title until it closed in mid-1931. Buchanan was also associated with the truck show operators who used the World, Robbins and other titles after his rail show days were over. Whitey

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4231. Mae Gordon, 17 Jun 2013 - Can you tell anything about Mae Gordon her Original Insane Moving Pedestal? What is her nationality, what circus or circuses did she perform in, was she from a circus family, does anyone do the act today? Any leads would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Christi Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4230. Roy Adkisson, 15 Jun 2013 - I performed a search on your website and only found one reference, which I had obtained previously from an online circus newspaper archive. I am looking for information on my paternal grandfather whose career was that of a showman in the circus. His name was Roy Adkisson, sometimes called Shorty Adkisson. I have learned that at the time of his death (1973) it was recorded that he passed from injuries sustained while working for Fisher Bros. Circus. He was buried in Hugo, OK. I'd love to have any information and particularly any photos of him. I've only recently learned that he was my grandfather and I sincerely desire to learn more about him. Previous to working for Fisher Bros. Circus it is my understanding that he worked for West Bros. Circus, was an electrician in 1952 for Hagan Bros., in 1948 for the Ayers and Kathryn Davies Show, to name a few. Thank you to anyone who can provide me with any additional information. Carrie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4229. Julia Mae Sims, 14 Jun 2013 - I am searching for information on Julia Mae Sims known as "Little Egypt" around 1912-1915 with the Wild Bill Hitchcock Circus. I am starting to trace my background and have VERY little information. If you can find out any information it would be gladly appreciated! Thank you in advance, JoAnna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4228. One finger act, 12 Jun 2013 - What was the name of the circus act who stood on one finger in the 1950's. Steve Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Jun 2013 - I'm sure you are referring to Franz Furtner, known professionally as UNUS. Please refer to questions # 171 and # 56 on this Circus History message board for more details. Bob

    Reply: 20 Aug 2013 - Search with the woord UNUS on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Two posters of this act is the result. Herman Voogd

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4227. Washburn & Arlington, 11 Jun 2013 - I am confused regarding the Washburn & Arlington Circus of the early 1890s. I believe they played in New England. I would like to know if they played in Pittsfield, MA in 1890 or if they ever appeared in western MA. Thank you. Richard Hamilton Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Jun 2013 - Washburn & Arlington's New United Monster Shows opened May 1, 1890 at Bristol, Pa.; May 2 - Princeton, N.J.; May 5 - Peekskill, N.Y.; May 7 - Yonkers, N.Y.; May 8 - Mt. Vernon, N.Y. The route did take the show to New England but there are only scattered dates. May 10 - Stamford, Conn; May 12 - Norwalk, Conn; June 6 - New Bedford, Mass; July 1 - Malden, Mass.; July 14 - Portsmouth, N.H.; and July 21 - Troy, N.Y. The show went south and closed October 24 in Atlanta, Ga. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

    Reply: 14 Jun 2013 - For Ted Bowman, Circus Routes Collection, re msg 4227, Washburn & Arlington Circus. Thanks for the helpful reply. If I may ask one more question: Did W & A drop the Monster moniker after 1890 and travel in New England simply as the W and A Circus? Thanks. Richard Hamilton

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4226. Frank Adams' Circus, 08 Jun 2013 - Chindahl's History of the Circus in America lists a James Adams circus, 1898 to 1903. Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses lists James Adams circus, 1906. Are both of these the same James Adams' shows? J. Griffin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Jun 2013 - You are talking about two different shows. I have verified dates from newspaper ads for the Frank Adams Show for the following years. 1898 - Frank Adam's Show in Buffalo, Kansas Aug. 22.; 1901 - Frank Adams Great Southern Railroad Shows In Georgia during October.; 1904 - Frank Adams Great Southern Railroad Shows - in Missouri during May and Illinois during July; 1905 - Frank Adams Great Southern Railroad Shows - in Oklahoma Territory and Kansas in April. As for the other show in 1902 the James Adams Overland Shows was in Michigan during May and June. Based on where they played I would say two separate shows, one a railroad and the other a wagon. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

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4225. Thomas Haley, Kit Cleveland, 04 Jun 2013 - I am looking for any info on Thomas Haley. He was a cook with the circus but I am not sure what dates. He was born in 1885. Also am looking for Kathleen Cleveland who was known as " "The Daring Kit Cleveland." She married Thomas Haley in 1912. Any help will be greatly appreciated. you can email me at gdfrancis@eastlink.ca. Thank you, Doris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4224. Ringling wagon 105, 03 Jun 2013 - I am looking for any information about 1950 Ringling Brothers wagon #105. Does it still exist? Location? Thank you. Jamsosn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Jun 2013 - I received an answer from Dom Yodice that is does exist at the Ringling Museums but it is not on display. Bob

    Reply: 10 Jun 2013 - The licence plate off of this wagon is currently being offered for sale on eBay. Bob Cline

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4223. Jolly Ray Fat Lady, 03 Jun 2013 - Do you have any information on Jolly Ray? I just acquired a very nice banner. Randy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4222. Banner Line, 28 May 2013 - I have a bunch of magazine/newsletters called Circus Banner Line. They are just stapled type of mags. I am trying to find out some information on them. Thanks! MADitch Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4221. Harry Abbott, 26 May 2013 - The father of Bud Abbott, of Abbott and Costello fame. Joined the circus at age 14 (c. 1875) as a box boy. Legend has it he was an advance agent or 24-hour man, but listed as a concessionaire in the Barnum Route Books of 1885, 1887, and a forage agent in the 1888 book. Married a bareback rider with the troupe, Rae (or Ray) Fisher in 1889. (She is not in these route books.) Went to London with the show in 1889-90.
    There is a "Harry Abbott" in the Ringling Route Books of 1895 and 1896, as steward of the Olympus dining car. Could it be the same man? I wonder if there are photos of him, particularly in the Ringling 1895 book, since there is quite a bit written about the Olympus car and Harry. Harry joined the Columbia Burlesque wheel in 1902. The wheel was organized by Sam Scribner and many other ex-circus people. (Scribner & Smith's All New Enormous Combined Shows was sold to Barnum & Bailey around 1896.) Thanks, Ron. acqtrly@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Sep 2013 - The biographies of famous people, or those related to or affiliated with them, are often confusing because details of their actual existence were never revealed, forgotten, overlooked, compressed, simplified or changed to suit purposes at hand. The phenomenon explains the often conflicting and erroneous or incomplete information found in published obituaries. For that reason, the documents created at the time events transpired, or those which came from the individual in question and which are consistent, are usually the most reliable. Thus, the several items that agree that Bud Abbott was born in 1897 seem to win the battle over his birth year.
        At the time that Henry Wilburn “Harry” Abbott passed, at age 81, he was remembered as having been an advance man for P. T. Barnum and a press agent for Hurtig & Seamon shows. No next of kin were noted, other than for his fathering of Bud Abbott. [Billboard, March 21, 1942, page 29, available on Google Books] The Barnum connection was also part of Harry Jr.’s obituary two years later. [Billboard, September 30, 1944, 31.] So, the affiliation was part of the family lore. Harry was buried in Espy, Pennsylvania.
        The identity “box boy” is not one I’ve seen before, but it may relate to concessions, the unpacking or packaging of food stuffs that were sold at the circus. You did not provide a reference for that entry, so I’m unable to evaluate the relevance and accuracy. Any number of youths literally “ran away” with the circus and became employees that worked selling in the seats, at stands inside or outside of the tents, and behind the scenes preparing to satisfy the appetite of the day’s crowd. Joining the circus at about the age of 14, circa 1875, was very possible. Still being at it a decade or two later is also possible, along with having moved from an unknown show to one with a national reputation, like Barnum & London.
        There is an entry for one H. Abbott, as a groom with the W. C. Coup circus in 1879. There’s no other documentation available to determine if he’s the man in question or not. A young boy could readily join out in that simple duty and then progressed with experience. At best, you might try to locate the 1880 census that includes him, or the Coup circus employees. The Coup show came apart in 1882, a convenient event time-wise for the next step forward in his circus career. In 1883 he seems to have joined the bigger Barnum show.
        Barnum started his show in 1871 and died in 1891 and it’s accurate that Abbott had been in his employ. Barnum generally didn’t travel with the circus bearing his name. The documented 1885 and 1887 entries that you cite, being a concessionaire at about the age of 25 or 27, seem to be a continuation of his career as a showman. There is an earlier entry, in the 1883 Barnum & London route book, for one Henry Abbott, working the confectionary stand in the menagerie tent, and perhaps that’s him, too. He would have been promoted from the menagerie tent to the main stand by 1885. Logically, he may have been with the show in 1884, too, but isn’t listed. This may have resulted from other employment, or having left the show before the final roster was published. There’s also an entry for H. Abbott in the confectionary department in the 1886 Barnum & London route book.
        The Barnum & Bailey route books for 1888, 1889 and 1890 all include Harry Abbott, forage agent, department heads and such, a promotion from concessions. He then moved over to the Adam Forepaugh show for 1891-1893, as a department head. Forepaugh died in early 1890 and his circus was bought by James A. Bailey, James E. Cooper and eventually Barnum also had a share. The management, or Abbott, presumably felt he was a good fit on the other circus, which wasn’t quite as large as B&B. It was further reduced in size for the final tour of 1894 and apparently Abbott saw better opportunity elsewhere.
        A forage agent was a circus employee that moved ahead of the show, making sure that the contracted arrangements for supplies necessary to keep the show employees and animals fed, watered, etc., were on hand on Circus Day. Some might construe the activity as an “advance man,” yet most would define that role differently---as someone who was part of the publicity effort moving several weeks ahead of the circus.
        It seems likely that Abbott had been consistently promoted to jobs of more responsibility, with a higher level of compensation. Making more money made a showman a more attractive catch, especially one who was part of management and had prospects for rising even higher in the organization.
        There ought to be a marriage announcement or certificate somewhere for Abbott and his bride, reported as Rae Fisher. The event may have been reported in New York Clipper. Walk-ons to large acts, such as riding troupes and acrobats, were not always reported under their own name; you may need to get inventive on seeking her actual identity. Generally, marriage between troupe members was frowned upon, and typically led to discharge or departure. That happened to equestrian director Bud Gorman on Barnum & Bailey, when he got married in mid-season. [Details in Fred Bradna’s book, The Big Top.] The event might explain Abbott’s departure from Barnum & Bailey, which had taken on the new title for 1888, when Bailey returned after a 2-1/2 year long hiatus as Barnum’s partner.
        I had no success whatsoever in locating any entries for his wife, nothing for Fisher or variations thereon in Dan Drapers exhaustive rider files, or in other name finding aids. She may have gone by another name, a maiden or other unknown last name. She may also have been part of a riding troupe, the title of which was applied to all members and giving her essentially anonymity.
        Abbott may have come back to the circus trade with the Ringlings in 1895 or 1896, but there’s almost no way to prove it’s him listed in the route book. A dining car steward was a good position, but it might have been more of a lateral move than a promotion. The Ringling show published a combined 1895-1896 route book, not two separate volumes. The staff roster included is dated 1895 and Abbott is not listed therein. William Fay was the superintendent. Therefore, the textual presence mentioning Abbott may be applicable for only 1896. There’s an interior view of one of the show’s dining cars, but no people are present and it’s not identified by name, but it’s possible to have been the Olympus. Two different dining cars are known in the Ringling show train of the time. Paul Matthews was superintendent of the Olympus in 1897, his portrait in the route book (page 129). The 1898 route book contains no comprehensive roster, but there’s a photo of the “Dining car cooks and waiters” in the company of a mustached man in a suit, who may have been the car manager. No names were given (page 74).
        I would question the accuracy of the statement about Barnum & Bailey buying the Scribner & Smith outfit. This doesn’t appear to be accurate.
        There are quite a few entries for Harry Abbott in the stage, theater and burlesque trade in the later 1910s. These can be found at the Fulton History website, and elsewhere. There was one c1900-1902 entry for him, as business manager with TransAtlantic Burlesque, Hurtig & Seaman, proprietors. He was also declared to be an advance man in 1917, which might explain the remark about that profession. More will be revealed by searching the “New York Clipper” of the time. Fred Dahlinger, Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4220. Tattooed lady, 24 May 2013 - Looking for the name and history of a tattooed lady. She was born around 1960. Distinguishing tattoos are: the letters D.O.T. on chest, under a butterfly that looks like it is hanging by a ribbon. Has anyone see this particular tattooed lady and do you know who she is? Marilyn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jan 2013 - Her birthdate was 1860 not 1960. Diane

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4219. Clowns, cream scene, 22 May 2013 - Hi Circus history experts! I'm looking for a youtube-clip, picture or even maybe a short text showing/describing a fantastic clown scene, I saw on the TV maybe 10 years ago. It's a female and male clown fighting in cream - perhaps in Cirque Soleil. Do you have any idea of, where I can find it? It would be most helpful!! Best regards, Pernille Pedersen, Stockholm Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4218. Ongawa Kitchie family, 21 May 2013 - Did the travelling circus performers from UK to Europe record births of any children born along the way, and if so where could I find out more about this. I'm looking for the birth of an Edward Torra Kitchie, son of Isabella Watson Hunter of Aberdeen and Ongawa Torra Kitchie a wire performer, who was born in Europe in the 1880's I have a photo of his parents taken in Vienna while there with the circus. Also Ongawa is reportedly to have fallen from the wire and suffered spinal injury in Nurnberg around 1892, resulting in his death. Josie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4217. Home movie, circus, 18 May 2013 - Going through some old home movies, I found an old recording of a rail-traveling Circus appearing in Beardstown, Illinois. This would have been from the very late 1950's or very early 1960's. From comparing routes, I originally thought this might be the Kelly Brothers Circus, appearing in Beardstown on June 1, 1961, but the current owners do not believe that is the case. I am wondering if you have the ability to use your vast resources to help identify which Circus this might actually be? I have posted the video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GSlCf1-5nw
    After contacting the Kelly-Miller Circus and hearing that they do not believe it was their circus in the movie, I've attempted to identify a circus logo from the parade or the show following. So far I've not had luck with that either. Perhaps someone in your community will look at this and say "Well, of course, that's......" Thank you for your time, John Jamison Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 May 2013 - King Bros Mid fifties - Dave

    Reply: 19 May 2013 - Thank you for sharing your video with us. This is the King Bros. Circus. They played Beardstown, IL. on Sept. 4, 1966. Bob Cline

    Reply: 20 May 2013 - Thanks Dave and Bob for the quick replies to my post about the Beardstown Circus. I will look more closely at King Brothers and their schedule to see if I can connect them to B'town. The actual time-frame for this video would have been the late 1950's, which is identified by some footage I edited out of family members and "me" which had to be no later than very early 1960-ish. Thanks again! John

    Reply: 20 May 2013 - Bob: That parade was from the mid-fifties King show. The 1966 King show was a different show altogether. See if you can find another Beardstown date for the earlier King show. Dave

    Reply: 23 May 2013 - The King Bros. Circus played Beardstown, Ill. on August 11, 1955. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 24 May 2013 - This must be the correct date. The King show split into two units in 1956 and both closed early in the red. That particular King Bros Circus never went out again although the title was used I believe three times after that. The "Little Cristiani" family used it out for a few years, then Acme had a great King show out for a long time, and then I believe Ned Toth briefly had a King Bros out. The parade footage is definitely the King show of Floyd King and various associates, Arnold Maley being his partner when this film was shot. Dave

    Reply: 30 May 2013 - Not to be overlooked is the fact that King Bros. was not a rail show as stated in the question nor does the film show anything to suggest it is. Richard

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4216. Patterson Circus, 16 May 2013 - Hello, I am looking for any material or photos relating to James Patterson Circus, Gollmar-Patterson Circus or Gentry-Patterson Circus. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Annette Gordon Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4215. Theo Forstall, 16 May 2013 - Hello, I am looking for an early photo of Theo Forstall to be included in a book by James Patterson Jr. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Annette Gordon Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4214. Great Suhanik, 16 May 2013 - I found you online while googling and I wondered if I could pick your brains on an ancestor in family tree. I've given up any hope of ever tracking down "the great suhanik" so I figure the best I can do is to try and establish whether Suhanik is likely to be a stage name, its a name originating in West Ukraine & Belarus (aka: Polish Kresy) possibly Jewish. So I wondered if you could shed any light on whether its the sort of name an Edwardian performer would have taken? Thanks in advance for your time. Tim Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4213. Animal trainer advice, 15 May 2013 - My name is Juan Betancurth. I am a visual and performance artist working and living in Brooklyn, New York. I currently developing a performance where I will require the experience and advise from an Animal Trainer (Big cats, Elephants or Bears). The piece won't imply a direct work with the animals, but some kind of interaction with the tamer, I'm interested about his/her way of perform and command the animals. This is a fundamental part of the performance itself. I heard about your organization from Rainie Themer, Circus Now Online Director, whom strongly recommend to contact you as one of the best circus resources. I will appreciate any information that can help me to be in touch with the person I am looking for. All my best, Juan B. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4212. Idalys, 11 May 2013 - I look for a movie of the aerialist "the Idalys", Lucien and Manuela Idalys. They worked in a lot of circus in America between 1945 to 1968, they worked in the Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey circus in 1947. Lucien is still alive today at 100 no more in the show of course !! Could you please find out a video of their show. We want to share this good memories with him. A description of their act:
    "THE IDALYS — They say there is never anything new under the sun or the big top, but the Idalys disproves that. A unicycle act and an iron-jaw act are two things but when it is done upside down, that's another. It is more breath taking than the ceiling walk. Not because two performers are involved but when a man rides a unicycle upside down and iron-jaws traps with a girl doing a routine on it, well it's out of this world that's all."
Here are some pictures: http://yesterdaystowns.blogspot.fr/2007/02/snapshots-upsidedown-unicycle- act.html
    I don't know if you sell videos, but maybe you can speak to old aerialist or circus lover. Thank you a lot to read it out. Tell me if you see something recorded. Best regards, Marin Alexis Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4211. Royal Palm Shows, 09 May 2013 - I have an old enlarged photograph that I am trying to find some information on, such as location and general date. It shows the entrance to the venue with the front sign stating "Royal Palm Shows - A Florida Institution... featuring Carver's All Star Varity - Circus - Rodeo - Revue." Other information on the front of the venue includes 'Direct from Steel Pier, Atlantic City', 'Americas Foremost Congrass of Dare Devils', and 'The Greatest Attraction Ever Brought to Florida". Rising over the entrance can be seen the tower that was used for the horse diving spectacle made famous by Doc Carver. I would love to know where the show toured in Florida to try to pinpoint where the photo was taken, as well as the general date. Any information on the hippodrome in Florida would be appreciated. You can contact me directly if desired at solarbearz@gmail.com. Thanks, Bruce Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4210. Sandor Raski, 07 May 2013 - I want to talk with anyone who knew Sandor Raski, the little man who played in Barnum along with Burt Lancaster and who performed with many circuses, including Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. I recently met him and we've become friends. Gary.corsair@thevillagesmedia.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4209. Frank White, 05 May 2013 - Looking for information about Frank White, a circus lion tamer who was mauled to death at a show in Olive Hill, Kentucky April 1915. Hack Wilson fan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2013 - Of great interest to your inquiry is the book by Joanne Joys entitled "Wild Animal Trainer in America" that covered many a trainer and show. Her year by year chart in the back of the book offers no information on Frank White and his name doesn't come up in the index either.
        According to the routes we have listed in our Virtual Library, the Sparks Circus played in Grafton, W.Va. on that day. That's the only listing I found even close. So, the show you are looking for is apparently not in our offerings at this time. You'll need to look at that local newspaper for a few days before the tragic occurance to see the ads for what circus is coming to town. Once you know the show title, you can look more at the route books and programs of the show.
        The Billboard magazine was the entertainment journal of the day and should be gone through for further findings. You can find some of the Billboards on fultonhistory.com It has a search engine with different settings. I have found better luck using the boolean setting.
        You might consider contacting the Circus World Museum Research Library in baraboo, Wisconsin. They have what they call the "Yellow Tickets" which are simply index cards with notes on where information can be found about a subject, in this case, Frank White.
        There are a couple websites that carry old newspapers with newspaperARCHIVE.com being the most sought after one. There is a search engine there as well which will allow you to sort out which year, First name, last name, keywords, etc. You may also find some success along the lines of genealogy research such as Ancestry.com. Good Luck. Bob Cline

    Reply: 07 May 2013 - Thank you. Found a very brief mention in the Billboard. It says the trainer worked with the Sun Brother's Circus, if I'm reading that right. Hack Wilson fan

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4208. Charles Cohen, 03 May 2013 - My uncle, Charles/Charlie Cohen supposedly ran away and joined a circus or traveling show around 1910. He supposedly purchased a traveling show or circus at some point in time - no business name available. But the name, Setwin Wilson Circus was mentioned. Did anyone ever hear of the Setwin Wilson Circus or traveling show?
    On his WWI registration card (1917-1918) he indicated that his business was "Amusement Games" and that he was always traveling with a traveling show - "World of___________". He registered for the draft in Lowell, Massachusetts, but listed his permanent address as Brooklyn, NY.
    On the 1940 Census for Petersburg City, Virginia he listed his business as "concessionaire" for a show, but didn't indicate the show's name. I see that many individuals are listed on the same index with information indicating that they worked as concessionaires, illusionists, etc. at a show (no name) that I assume was in the general area.
    Does anyone have any information about Charles/Charlie Cohen or about the names of circuses/traveling shows in the above mentioned time frames and locations? Thank you. Marilyn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 May 2013 - The names of the Carnivals you are searching for are Cetlin and Wilson and then probably World of Mirth. Cetlin and Wilson wintered in Petersburg, VA for many years. Bob Goldsack authored a fine book on the Cetlin and Wilson Shows while I authored an extensive history of the Cetlin and Wilson Shows that was published in the Carnival Midway. I don't own a copy of Bob's book and his name wasn't in my research for my article. There is a Showman's Museum in Gibsonton, FL that may or may not be of any help but they are only available during the winter when people aren't out on the road.
        The Billboard magazine was the trade journal for Carnivals, circuses, rodeos, amusement parks, skating rinks, music, etc for nearly 80 years. I would highly recommend you talk to your librarian and see where you can locate a set of these on microfilm and borrow them as an interlibrary loan. There was a small article or maybe a couple paragraphs regularly throughout the season of people places and events from each show. With Billboard being published weekly, it is the greatest asset you'll run across other than actual show records which are all gone.
        There is the possibility that his name crops up on one of the genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com. If you found him in the 1940 census, you may also be able to track down his Social Security number which would lead you to a death notice, etc. Good Luck. Bob Cline

    Reply: 10 Jul 2013 - My name is Esther Farrell. I am looking for a Henry Cohen who I am told he came from America. He had a daughter Esther who married a coach builder in Dublin Ireland. They went on to travel in Ireland with Hobby horse’s and fair ground rides. One of their sons, who is my grandfather, had a circus and one of the acts on the bill board was called Henry Cohen. Hope you can help. Regards, Esther

    Reply: 14 Aug 2013 - Do you mean Butch Cohen who was the treasurer on Dailey Bros. in the 1940s? If so, he was well known in the business and had a biography published in Billboard. Fred Pfening

    Reply: 16 Aug 2013 - You can do a search of 1940s-1950s Billboard issues on Google Books. Specify the title as "Billboard" and then use search words or phrases like "Charles Cohen," "Charlie Cohen" and so on. There are entries for him with Cetlin & Wilson in the 1940s. I found mention of the passing of veteran concessionaire "Charles (Cohen) Lawrence" on July 27, 1953 at Sanger’s Home for Chronics, New York, internment at National Showmen’s Association plot, Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, NY. There’s a brief obituary in the August 8, 1953 issue, page 42. Later memorials for him were placed by Shirley Levy Lawrence and Vevian Cohen Lawrence. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4207. Mary Smith, 30 Apr 2013 - I'm trying to find out something about Mary Smith who was Mary Smith, the Amazing Flying Woman. I have an old sign that says she worked for the Keystone Circus. Do you know anything about her or the circus. I would appreciate it very much if you could answer by email. Thanks, Ken Street, kdstreet@woh.rr.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4206. Bell–Harmston Circus, 29 Apr 2013 - Can anyone please tell me what happened to Richard Harmston after William Harmston died in 1935. When did he die? And did he have any other children other than Mary who worked in the circus? Thanks Kate Besley (William's great niece.) You can email me on on.thego@xtra.co.nz Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4205. Flying Waldos, 29 Apr 2013 - Searching for info on an aerialist act called the Flying Waldos. Aka Waldo and Elliott. His real name was William D. Crawford from Beaver Falls, Pa. She (Elliott) died during a performance. I believe this might have been around 1880-1900? He was my g. Grandfather. I have pics of him in garb. Thanks! Lisa Martines(Martineslisa@gmail.com) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4204. Kid Sampson, 27 Apr 2013 - Looking for information regarding a strong man act called Kid Sampson. Last name was Letourneau. I believe he would have been in the circus late late 1800 to early 1900. We can only guess as it was my father in laws grandfather and my father in law was born 1930. There was a poster of him that was discarded by a family member along with his barbells. Any information or picture would be very appreciated. Contact information is sandy_neck@yahoo.com. Thank you, Lisa Letourneau Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4203. William Bond, aerial performer, 25 Apr 2013 - Looking for information of distant grandfather and family who were by family tradition circus aerial performers. Apparently they were involved in an accident involving a death of one of them or a spectator, possibly in Kansas. My gr gr grandfather's name was William Bond, and possibly from England. Thanks for any help. Lea Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4202. Princess Tejana, 24 Apr 2013 - I have a few photos of an aerialist who performed as Princess Tejana. I have been told that she is really a male in drag by the name of Clio Young. Does anybody have any information? George Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Apr 2013 - There was an aerialist who went by Princess Tajana. This was Struppi Hanneford. I don't know if this is the same one you are asking about or not. Bob Cline

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4201. Painted big-top, 23 Apr 2013 - There's something that I have wondered about for years and Fred Pfening III's cover story for the new Bandwagon brought it back to mind. In the early 1960s I worked with a biller on the Beatty-Cole advance named Johnny Fulghum who said that he had seen one of the few 1950 Cole Bros under-canvas dates and that the big top had been "painted." I have never before or since heard of a circus tent being painted. Does anyone out there have any idea what Johnny was talking about? Thanks, Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Apr 2013 - I searched for an exacting meaning of “paint” in association with big top, but nothing was revealed in various resources. Let me provide some thoughts that might serve as a direction for understanding the term.
        I doubt that Fulghum literally meant that the top canvas had been “painted,” in the sense of an application of a protective liquid that dried in place. While sideshow banners were painted with special techniques, and retained relative flexibility, I’ve not read of similar applications to top canvases other than marquee lettering, designs around pole penetrations and along sidewall pieces.
        Tent canvases were dyed in many instances, some with solid single color, but also in stripes and other designs. The most grandiose examples are tops that were made with flag designs incorporated into them, back in the mid-19th century. It is possible that some of these decorative treatments may have been accomplished with paint. Paints underwent significant development and application broadening in the 20th century. You might find the article “Cash in on Colors” in “Billboard,” April 11, 1953, pages 56-59 to be of interest. It can be accessed online in Google Books and elsewhere.
        Tops were also waterproofed with a variety of treatments, often a heated mixture Paraffin cut with gasoline (or equal) before more modern chemical treatments were widely used. This was more of a “hot mopping” technique, as opposed to painting per se.
        Painting could also refer to canvas top hardware, such as poles, rigging, seating, ring curbs and so on, all of which were given decorative treatment. Conceivably an entirely new look, as when Forepaugh-Sells 1910-1911 painted the interior fixtures yellow and white, in lieu of the traditional red, it may have drawn comment. At least one highly uncomplimentary review of the 1950 Cole show, in Billboard, July 15, 1950, page 36, mentioned the dowdy, unkempt appearance of the outfit, the top that did little to protect the audience from the elements. If Fulghum was aware of this less than stellar debut, he may have noted that the interior appearance if it had been enhanced with the application of paint by the time he saw it.
        Here’s another possibility, strictly a hypothesis. In the past the phrase “paint the town red” was frequently heard. There are disputed versions of the origin of the phrase that you can find online. The color red, in ink, is also associated with financial losses. If you couple the two thoughts, it may be that Fulghum inferred that the Cole 1950 top was garnering a lot of red ink, or being “painted.” I’m not certain that this is at all accurate. Perhaps some show veterans might be familiar with the term as he applied it? Fred Dahlinger, Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 27 Apr 2013 - No, he meant they had painted it. With a brush and paint on the outside. I was hoping someone would have some specific info on the big top used during this period. Dave

    Reply: 28 Apr 2013 - To add a little bit of historic context, in 1950 Arthur Wirtz took his newly purchased Cole Bros Circus on a tour that included race tracks and ballparks, and after some success he began, as Dave mentions, a brief (four week) tour under canvas that began July 6 in Jersey City, NJ. That night’s performance (the first under canvas that season) nearly ended in a disaster because of a powerful storm that started shortly after the evening show began.
        According to Jim McHugh’s review of the performance in the Billboard, the storm was so bad that the old Big Top, which Wirtz acquired in the purchase of the show, was evacuated mid-performance. McHugh says the canvas was so old and worn that it “offered patrons scant protection from the rain which was accompanied by high winds”. He added that when he arrived on the lot he was taken by the “dowdy” appearance of the show and in fact there was only one single piece of new sidewall on the big top, the rest of the canvas had been used during some previous season.
        To Dave (and Johnny Fulghum’s) point, it would seem that perhaps the canvas was actually PAINTED a few days later in order to make it look more presentable during the next few dates. Even though owner Arthur Wirtz announced in mid-July that he had ordered a new Big Top from United States Tent and Awning of Chicago, it was never produced, and on August 5, 1950 in Bloomsburg, PA the Cole Bros Circus, which had been started by Jess Adkins and Zack Terrell, ended its run, the first major tent-circus to shut down mid-season since 1938. – Chris Berry

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