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Message Archive: Messages 4301-4400




4400. Cyril DeForrest, Bessie Meier, 04 Aug 2014 - Hello, my name is Tammy DeForrest Edwards. I'm researching my family history and have come to find that my great grandfather and great grandmother were circus performers. It is known that they were performers in Quebec back in the 1920's. Cyril DeForrest and Bessie Meier, it is also known that they had a baby boy in 1927 at which time Bessie passed away during child birth. I'm trying to find any type of record that they we're performers and possibly and documents for our family. Please feel free to email me with any information at trdeforre@yahoo.com. Thank you for your help, Sincerely, Tammy DeForrest Edwards Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Aug 2014 - There were no hits for Cyril DeForrest in readily accessible show journals, but Bessie Meier was identified and traceable as a high diver from 1897 to 1922. In 1897, Bessie and brother Tommie were at the Ludlow Lagoon, near Cincinnati. [New York Clipper, July 17, 1897, page 319] In 1900, she was billed as the headliner with Thos. J. Q. Meier’s World’s Water Wonders. Her father placed an advertisement in Billboard, extolling her, Elma and Minnie Meier, who were his daughters, along with Master Tommy Meier, a son. Thomas Meier was the proprietor of the Cincinnati Swimming School, 1418 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. [Billboard, 1900] There was a Cincinnati Swimming School as early as 1885, at 23rd and South Vine Streets.
        An advertisement for further Meier family bookings was also found in spring 1901, when Bessie was said to be age 15; Tommie 12, Elma 5 and Minnie 3. It also states the 1900 park engagements that were filled. [New York Clipper, March 16, 1901, page 64] Meier booked his family at amusement parks in 1901; they were at Wildwood Park, Minneapolis in 1901. [Minneapolis Journal, August 19, 1901] In 1902 he booked them on the DeKreko Bros. traveling carnival. [New York Clipper, July 26, 1902, page 473]
        In 1903 it was announced that Bessie had married and given birth to another baby boy swimmer. Meier gave a new address of 1402 Vine Street, Cincinnati. The presentation was “The Diving Children, Famous Meier Family.” [New York Clipper, June 13, 1903, page 384] The fact that she was later billed as Bessie Meier may indicate that she declined to reveal her private life in public bookings, as occurred in the trade with some frequency. In a December 1905 Billboard advertisement to book his swimming family, Thomas Meier stated that he ran it 1882-1902 and before that had been Instructor of Swimming at St. Louis Swimming Schools. He was then, late 1905, located at Summit and Wyandotte in Columbus, Ohio. He was seeking 1906 bookings.
        Bessie may have retired from travel to raise her son for some period of time. Bessie Meier wasn’t found again until she booked with the Polack Bros. Winter Circus, during the winter of 1910-1911. [New York Clipper, January 14, 1911, page 1194] She may have done spot and seasonal bookings, rather than long tours and engagements. Sister Elma Meier did free act diving on the Leon Washburn carnival in 1914-1915. She reportedly did a 100-foot high dive, which at other times was set at 75 feet. [New York Clipper, March 14, 1914, page 24 and May 15, 1915, page 34]
        Bessie did high diving at Dominion Park, Montreal, in 1915. She was presumably the headliner in the presentation “Mermaida and Diving Girls,” the new nickname perhaps explaining the absence of ongoing references to Bessie Meier. [Entries in Variety, July 1915] In 1911, Mermaida was declared to be the only rival to Annette Kellerman, the famous Australian swimmer. [Daily Argus (Mt. Vernon, NY) October 16, 1911] Mermaida was with the Krause Greater Shows, a railroad carnival, in 1914 and was identified as being a member of the famous Meier family of aquatic fame. [Auburn (NY) Citizen, June 30, 1914] Confirmation of her being Bessie Meier is provided by an illustrated advertisement. The dates of 1884-1913 are at the top of the ad (1884 being her birth year), followed by “Originator---Not an Imitator/Mermaida/Champion Lady Diver and Foremost Fancy Swimmer of the World.” “The oldest daughter of the famous Meier family. Her past record is her guarantee.” She was playing vaudeville and could be contacted c/o Billboard or at 49 W. Dodridge Street, Columbus, Ohio, which may have been her residence. [Billboard, November 29, 1913, page 125]
        There is confusion in the matter, owing to an imitator. Another Mermaida was reported as having been in vaudeville, too, which is confirmed by newspaper entries covering 1911-1915, as well as a burlesque company in 1917. This may have been a different girl using the same name, one Bessie Shefler, who managed “The Lady Buccaneers” in burlesque. [New York Clipper, March 13, 1918, page 15] The act was the usual “dunk tank comedy,” where everyone ended up in the water. The two women using the identity “Mermaida” should not be confused.
        The war may have interrupted bookings in the late 1910s, when no more were found. Meier was featured with the J. F. Murphy Shows, a known railroad carnival, by 1921-1922. She would have done her act as a free act, to attract a crowd to the midway, or as part of a swimming and diving back end show. In 1921 she was advertised as: “World's Champion High Diver. She Excells All Others.” [Sampson Democrat (Clinton, NC), October 27, 1921] She remained with J. F. Murphy as a feature for 1922, [Billboard, January 21, 1922, page 97] per: http://fultonhistory.com/Newspaper%2015/Billboard/Billboard%201922/Billboard%201922%20-%201502.pdf Advertisements in 1922 declared her to be the “Diving Venus,” with “Mermaida” also being referenced when it was announced that a large water show would be framed around her. [Billboard, June 10, 1922, page 86] She encountered an unknown health challenge in late 1922, when Murphy advertised for a replacement high diver. [Billboard, September 2, 1922, page 87]
        I suspect that Meier may have continued her bookings with carnivals, amusement parks and fairs after the Murphy engagements. You will need to access ProQuest to facilitate further searching in an expeditious manner. Once you locate her in the years up to her passing in 1927 you will likely find a clue as to the identity of Cyril DeForrest and then be able to research his career, and life. He may also have used a stage name.
        There is a possibility that the birth of Donald Cyril DeForrest (1927-), as related on another genealogy website, could have been announced in Billboard magazine, along with the passing of his mother. If you can gain access to ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive you may be able to find reference to those events. Often obituaries contain career information, as well as naming the next of kin. His birth certificate ought to provide the names of his parents and perhaps other important information. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 22 Aug 2014 - I am also a descendant of Donald Deforrest. Thanks so much for your research findings! This is quite helpful as we were confused by bessie shiflet who also died in 1927. Are you certain they are not the same person? Thanks so much! Jennifer Deforrest

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4399. Ryan Bros., 01 Aug 2014 - Ryan Bros., Matthew J. and William Patrick. Does anyone have information on their careers in the circus? They were acrobats and performers in many circus' from 1872 (age 13) to at least 1893. Daniel Shields Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Aug 2014 - A quick check of the Ryan family name listings in Slout’s “Olympians of the Sawdust Circle,” the biographical dictionary for 19th century North American circus personnel available on this website < http://www.circushistory.org/Olympians/OlympiansR2.htm>, revealed a single entry for the Ryan Bros. act. It doesn’t specify Matthew J. or William Patrick Ryan, but places them on the Transatlantic show in 1879 and Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton in 1881. This is verified elsewhere.
        There was also this entry for Matthew J. under the surname of Ricardo, at < http://www.circushistory.org/History/Bios2.htm >, which provides a bit of insight on his use of the name Ricardo and also two men who were his partners in the subsequent Ryan Brothers act.
        “Matt J. Ricardo (Ryan), well known as an acrobat and gymnast, died at Silver Springs, N.Y., on Nov. 22 [1906], aged forty-seven years. He was well known as one of the Three Original Ryan Bros., Wm., Matt and George. George was killed while leaping with the S. H. Barrett Show, at Effingham, Ill., a number of years ago. Matt, for a number of years, was of the team known as Ricardo and Fitz(?), and a test of his ability as a performer was a continuous engagement of seven years as the feature team with the Robt. Hunting Show. He was a member of the B. P. O. Elks, K. of P. and A. O. H. He is survived by his wife, who is a non-professional; one brother, William, of Utica, N.Y., and five sisters. Interment was at is old home, Tidioute, Pa.” New York Clipper, December 15, 1906, p. 1140
        I would assume that the Three Original Ryan Bros. act had been assembled for 1881 and parted company by 1883. George W. Ryan’s life was lost on the S. H. Barrett circus at Effingham, IL on September 20, 1883, per an entry in Clipper, September 29, 1883, page 457. The mishap happened during a rehearsal , while he attempted to turn a double somersault as he leaped over ten camels and two horses. It was his second injury of the season. He was from Meadville, PA, just 19 years of age; his real surname was Marsh.
        The Ryan Brothers, Matt and George, advertised for a place in the November 20, 1880 issue of the Clipper, page 279. They listed themselves as “Gymnasts and Acrobats,” “The finest Brother Act in America, introducing Double Backward and Double Forward Somersaults. Somersaults on Shoulders and from Back to Shoulders.” They were based in Tidioute, PA.
        The career of Matthew J. Ryan, 1859-1906, is traced in detail in a transcribed biographical entry here: http://www.pagenweb.org/~warren/obits/obits-r.html The original source was “A Great Performer” in the Silver Springs (NY) Signal of November 29, 1906, which is available online at www.newspaperarchive.com. It’s an obituary, published after his passing, but seems to be fairly accurate in most aspects. You are already familiar with it.
        There’s a couple mistakes in the original document, corrected in the entries below. Each of the entries is a query unto itself, given the vagaries of circus titles, proprietorships, silent partners, variants on the above, etc. You will also find variations on the show titles, some of which, like Transatlantic, toured under different proprietorships. I consulted the Sturtevant list for some initial checks, but much more is mandated if you want complete accuracy in Ryan’s career. His brother, who survived him, is named as William therein. He likely provided the basis of the career chronicle for the obituary, likely supplemented by mementoes or a scrapbook kept by the deceased.
        The dual career and show engagements of Matthew and William Ryan are given as:
        1871 [Matthew, when aged 12] public exhibitions;
        1872-1873 Elliott Robinson, 2 seasons [perhaps not a circus, but a stage operation; no Clipper entry for Elliott Robinson; might be Alexander Robinson’s North American circus, out of Utica, NY, but Glenroy, who was with the troupe, doesn’t mention a Ryan as present (in his book http://www.circushistory.org/Glenroy/Glenroy3.htm), nor do Clipper pre-season rosters; the Ryans could have appeared under a stage name, the Alex Robinson show having several acrobatic and tumbling acts; Glenroy lists the Maynard Brothers (Mark and Eugene) as acrobats (listed with Alex Robinson 1872-1877), Sanford Hoegel, acrobat, and Clarence Burton, gymnast (a brother, Tony, is also known); Clipper, April 13, 1872, page 12, lists gymnasts, leapers and tumblers as Burton Brothers (Clarence, Henry and Mark, flying men and dancing globes), Polar Brothers (John, James and Edward, three bars, stilts and hat spinning—no other Clipper listings discovered for the Polar name), and several other singles];
        1874-1876 Thayer & Noyes circus, 3 seasons [an erroneous entry needing more research; Thayer & Noyes toured only 1862-1869; Noyes closed out in fall 1874, and laid low through spring 1877 owing to having had typhoid pneumonia (Clipper, May 1, 1875, page 39 and February 10, 1877, page 368); Thayer wasn’t a proprietor from the failure of Thayer & Noyes in 1869 until 1877];
        1877 John O’Brien circus, 1 season [his “Six Separate Shows Consolidated” title];
        [1878 Ryan Brothers listed in pre-season rosters with Hilliard & Hunting, Clipper, April 6, 1878, page 15; and also with Hamilton & Sergeant’s Great New York Circus, per Clipper, April 13, 1878, page 23];
        1878-1879 Transatlantic circus, 2 seasons [Boyd & Peters Transatlantic in 1879, from Royal Oak, MI; confirmed in Clipper, August 9, 1879, page 159];
        1880 Hilliard & DeMott [title in 1879 and 1880; not Hilliard (not Hilyard) & Hunting, which was 1876-1878];
        Some basic searching in Clipper failed to reveal the name Ryan as a tumbler, acrobat, leaper, etc., between 1872 and 1877, suggesting that the brothers may have used a stage name in that interval. Given that they were minors, there may have been some desire to conceal their real identity.
        William apparently withdrew and Matthew then soloed on:
        1880 James L. Thayer circus, single season, 1880, as a clown [show closed early and was auctioned at Chester, PA on August 26, 1880; acrobats often turned to clowning when they could no longer take the rigors of gymnastics; or it may have been a case that with the retirement of his brother that he lacked a partner];
        1881 Shelby, Pullman & Hamilton circus, one of the “Three Ryans” [see note above, perhaps the first year of a new trio];
        1882 with John L. Fritz [also Fitze?], under the name [Matt/Matthew J.] Ricardo [Fritz was another acrobat, not known as a proprietor; Matthew was likely part of the act organized and booked by Fritz, for which 1890 and 1893-1894 engagements are listed in Slout or elsewhere; see below for possible 1889 entry with Ryan/Ricardo];
        1883 Miles Orton circus, then United States show in San Francisco [latter perhaps non-circus];
        1884 Boston Novelty [non circus, there was a Boston Novelty Co. headed by Murphy and Mack in 1885, which played indoor spaces; acrobats could also work the variety and vaudeville house stages];
        1885 Pullman, Dingess & Co. circus [not Pullman & Dingels];
        1886-1892 Bob [Robert] Hunting circus [Hurlbut & Hunting 1886-1887, Hunting solo owner thereafter; there was a listing for Matt Ricardo, Ricardo and Fitze (sic?) on Hunting 1889 (Clipper, April 20, 1889, page 97); Matt Ricardo alone and also Ricardo & Fitze in 1888 (Clipper, March 10, 1888, page 832 and May 5, 1888, page 7)]. Mathew then retired to the life of a hotel keeper, a trade that had been pursued by other showmen.
        The best continuum of information about the Ryans will be the weekly issues of the New York Clipper. These can be searched online at: http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=p&p=home&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------
        Be sure to use name variations when seeking specific Ryan/Ricardo entries; full names, initials, last name then first name, act names, etc. You might also search the hometown newspapers, or those in the closest cities and county seats. They may have reported periodically about the traveling showmen, whose lives presented such a contrast to those of the local people. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 11 Jan 2016 - Thank you so very much. I have been busy searching other members of my family and just now came back to this page. You have made my day. Now we have more than Irish Tales told by the fire. Thank you, Daniel

    Reply: 29 Mar 2016 - I have images of Matthew & William Ryan. One of Matthew in his performers outfit. Would you like copies? Dan Shields

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4398. Evelyn Currie Christie, 31 Jul 2014 - Hamid-Morton 1960 performer Evelyn Currie Christie, big cats. Does anyone know if she is still living and if so where she resides? Would love to re-connect with her. Esther Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4397. Robertson's circus, 28 Jul 2014 - I'm searching for information on a circus my great-grandmother's family owned. Their name was Robertson. I did see a listing that mentioned Robertson's circus in the 1800s. Do you know where I could find more information on this circus and it's owners? Thank you, Debra Question. Name, email address. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4396. Hairdresser, August Glaudell, 23 Jul 2014 - 37 Bowery, New York, 1842. I have a (possible) relative that I am researching, who was a hairdresser at this address/date (same year PT Barnum was there). I was wondering if anyone would know if this location had regular barber shops, too, or if he would have been a hairdresser for the menagerie or circus there? He later becase a barber, and ended up in St. Louis in 1873 (coincidentally, the circus was there that year) and ended up in Piedmont in 1880 (another coincidence that the Cooper & Bailey circus ended there in 1879). Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. His name was August Glaudell, b. 1820. If you are on Ancestry.com, here is what I have on him so far. http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/144226/person/-591513233 Thanks, Brent Price Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4395. Baker Brothers, 22 Jul 2014 - I am looking for information on an English acrobatic family, the Baker Brothers. A acrobatic/hat spinner act. I believe they were in Billy Smarts Circus around 1920s to mid 1930s. brmcondo@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jul 2014 - The only Baker Brothers I know were primarily equestrians (not acrobatic/hat spinner act) so I'm not sure if this will be helpful. There is information on this website at 1392. Baker Brothers, 23 June, 200, there is also an obituary for Billy Baker at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-billy-baker-1489375.html. Billy Smarts Circus didn't start until 1946, I think you probably mean Bertram Mills Circus in the 1920s? jim@stockley.co.za

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4394. Kool Aid Circus, 15 Jul 2014 - I was wondering (hoping) you might have any more information on the Kool-Aid Circus. I'm surprised I can't really find anything considering the fact that it had at three circus icons performing in the show (Faye Alexander, his wife with their "Al's Lemon-zine" tramp car act and of course the show's producer Eddie "Hugo"Zachini and his human cannon ball act). I understand he had perhaps four units running at once. But I am most interested in the shows that played the Iowa State Fair. Phil "Pappy" Granger and Gary "Maxo" Maxamina were two of the clowns as were three little people named "Gizmo", "Dinky" and "Petey" All of whom were from Chicago, Il with the exception of "Petey." If you could direct me to any stories, reviews, video footage, photos, etc. I would be very grateful.
    One of the reasons for inquiring about this info is that I became Petey the clown at about age 8 when Gizmo's son was fired while the show was on the road. My parents were concession vendors who had become friendly with the fellas from clown alley. They were in a spot for another little person, which became ME. I performed with them for two summers in the mid west, mostly got wired with pyrotechnics, set on fire, stuffed into all sorts of contraptions , and along the way learned some real craft, i.e. juggeling, unicycle riding, chin balancing etc. I continued this into my teenage years after my Kool Aid circus days then kinda forgot about it. I'm in my forties now and my wife came across some photos I had tucked away some where. When I told her what they were she was so amazed that she demanded that I write about this experience and share some of the stories that she seemed unable to get enough of. But if or until that ever happens she thought that I should at least post what little I personally had. i.e. photos, programs, posters on line. Well, low and behold I get an email from a relative of Phil "Pappy" Granger. He tells me that all of his memorabilia was lost in a fire that destroyed his home, (His son actually wrote me and explained that Pappy doesn't use the internet (or computers a all for that matter) but that he had printed the few photos, I posted, for Pappy to see.) He asked his son to get my phone number and after ALL these years he actually called me. He was really hoping I had more memorabilia that he could pass along to his children and grandchildren and if not, if i'd try to help him find some. Well, this is me trying to find some. Thanks for listening and I would appreciate any help possible. Peter Brafford Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Jul 2014 - This may or may not help you much but there is a Kool Aid Circus program up for auction on eBay right now. The item number is 261533781613. The program was for the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, MO. It doesn't say what year it is from. Bob Cline

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4393. Lottie & Daisy Belmont, 14 Jul 2014 - Is there a record of the real names of circus perfomers somewhere? I am researching Lottie Belmont and Daisy Belmont, who are supposed to be my Aunt and cousin. I believe that Lottie's birth name was Jemima or Juliana Patrick. Lottie was a trapeze artist in the late 1800s. Thank you for any direction you can give me. Penny Palmer, Olympia WA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Jul 2014 - There are entries for various Belmont family members in Slout’s “Olympians,” which is on this website: http://www.circushistory.org/Olympians/OlympiansB1.htm. Slout has Daisy (1870-1896), Lottie and Charles as siblings. Unfortunately, the cameo biographies don’t address any Belmont birth names per se. The entries also appear to be in error.
        Daisy Belmont is described as the daughter of Charles and Lotta (aka Lottie/Lotine/etc.) Belmont in an extended and illustrated biography of William Showles by Dan Draper in the CHS journal, Bandwagon, Jan-Feb 2001, pages 19-23. It can be purchased as a back issue. Aunt and cousin could, therefore be a correct relationship.
        There is additional information, references that must be checked elsewhere, in Dan Draper’s extensive notations about equestrians: http://www.ringlingcircus.org/equestrian/ The last name “Belmont” and variants thereon yielded 167 hits. These are largely employment citations, but an obituary for Daisy is noted (New York Clipper, February 8, 1896, page 777). She died January 22, 1896, at the home of her mother, given as Chicago, and was interred in Hinsdale, a suburb, and perhaps the actual location of her mother’s residence. The only name given for her other than Belmont was “Showles,” which was the name of her husband, William “Billy” Showles (1857-1924). No other name other than Belmont came up in any search. It bought to be possible to locate her death certificate, which ought to give her birth name.
        Draper reported the Showles-Belmont marriage, his third to an equestrienne, as taking place on October 8, 1889, after a performance of the Belmont Elite Circus. The location was Chicago; the circus had been playing the outskirts of the city, organized as a ten cent show. The event, which didn’t come up via key word searching, is in the Clipper, October 19, 1889, page 541, column 4, “Under the White Tents.” You might search for their marriage certificate, which ought to give her birth name. No other vital statistics are provided for Daisy’s parents. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4392. Caroline Barry, 12 Jul 2014 - I am trying to find a newspaper or other contemporaneous account of a trapeze accident around the turn of the century in which my great-great-grandmother, Caroline (Jarvis) Barry, was killed, and where her husband John C. Barry (see post #3773) lost an eye. The incident would have happened sometime between 1893 and 1910. I'm not sure where the incident took place or which show they were affiliated with at the time but it may have been Dieffenbach, J. E. Henry, or the Sun Bros shows. Would anyone have any insight on where or how best to look for this information? The NY Clipper and Billboard appear to be available for those dates but don't seem to be searchable. Thanks very much for your time and assistance! Greg Barry Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Jul 2014 - Route books were a good source of information when it came to daily events on a show. You would want to contact either the Circus World Museum research Library in Baraboo, WI. or the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL to see what they might have in their collections. The Circus World collection has what they call the "Yellow tickets" which are index cards with bits of information about a person, circus, etc. that indicates where the information can be found about that name in their collection.
        The Billboard and the NY Clipper are both entertainment sources of this period but the Billboard didn't begin until 1894 and very little circus information was offerred in the first several years. You would want to at least try searching the New York papers collection at http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html I use the Boolean search. try searching the name (s) in different formats such as John Doe, Caroline doe, Mr and Mrs. John Doe, etc. Billboard is included in this website. You can also search the New York Clipper online by going to http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/ This is very easy to search and will occupy your time for many days to come. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4391. Matlocks, 07 Jul 2014 - I'm looking to track down some old relatives that worked for the circus between 1900 and 1920 or even later than that. They worked at B and B and also in Cuba and the islands for a guy named Domingo Gonzales. They were hi wire walkers. My aunt was Anna Mary Moore/ Matlock. Her husband was (William) Marvin Matlock. They may have been under totally differnet names to work. If you can give me any info at all I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks so much, Holly Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4390. Wayne Boettcher, 07 Jul 2014 - I am looking for Wayne Boettcher. He was w/ Foley and Burke at 1974 or 75 county fair in San Mateo, Calif. He worked the fun house, and yes it was fun. Andi Leeka Ward Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Jul 2014 - The principals of Foley & Burk, Lloyd and Mary Lou Hilligoss, were tragically killed in an automobile accident on December 21, 2001. Whether their descendants have maintained an archive of their business records is unknown. Their names were given in an online obituary as: Greg Hilligoss of San Jose, Stephanie Henon and her husband, Ron, of Sebastopol, Robert Hilligoss of Santa Rosa, and Tom Hilligoss and his wife, Kate, of Redwood City; a sister, Charlotte Reynolds of Long Beach; and eight grandchildren.
        You might try contacting the Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association, to determine if any of their members have knowledge of Wayne Boettcher. One online person database yielded a Wayne Boettcher in Ontario, CA, but whether he’s the person you seek would only be confirmed by a contact.
        Given that your knowledge is now nearly 40 years old, the chance exists that he may have passed on. A quick check of LDS death records for 1974-2014 deaths for “Wayne Boettcher” yielded over 8000 hits for California alone. You may need to enlist more professional search services in locating a “lost” person from decades ago, but hopefully you’ll get a lucky break. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL.

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4389. Harry Dale, 04 Jul 2014 - Hi can anyone tell me if they know anything or a photo of Harry Dale who was a part of Wirth circus and died working for the circus in 1909. kellych12 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4388. Internment Camps WWII, 30 Jun 2014 - I have been seeking information about "Entertainment" in the Japanese Internment Camps during WWII. I am unable to find any. I recall entertaining at many US Military Camps where prisoner's of war were in the audience. On occasion I was even served dinner by some, and we purchased apples along the apple orchards in Kansas where some worked. Is it possible that there was no form of cultural entrainment provided for the interned Japanese? It's probably just my lack of computer research expertise. I would appreciate any information. Billie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Jul 2014 - Do a Google Books advanced search with the exact phrase “internment camp” and confine the search to the title “Billboard.” That will provide WWII coverage in the best of outdoor trade journals. Nothing as far as entertainment is noted, but there are some interesting entries. One was from an entertainer of Japanese heritage, who wrote about his activity. You might also do the same in Variety, if you can access the ProQuest database for entertainment journals. Memoirs by internees will likely prove to be the best testimony to the presence or lack of entertainment, recreation, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4387. Purchase family, 27 Jun 2014 - Do you know if the Purchase family owned a circus and sold it in the early 1900's. Regards, Graham Masters Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Jul 2014 - Are you asking about the English family of Andrew Purchase? John Turner's Victorian Arena says: "PURCHASE, Andrew. (2). Menagerist. Born 1837, the son of Andrew Purchase, senior. Not a vast concern, but in 1899 had a good collection of animals, 5 or 6 cages, with 3 cages of waxworks. In 1908, his lion tamer Marco, a coloured man, was attacked at Purchase's menagerie. Partner in Purchase Brothers' Circus and Menagerie, which altogether comprised twenty wagons, which travelled in fourteen different countries, eight years abroad, before the Great War. Bob Gandey started out with them. Died 11th August 1909, aged 74 years, in Brighton. Buried Brockley Cemetery, London. Retired but was with the menagerie for a time during the summer. Son Andrew was in partnership with his father, and continued the menagerie."
        Andrew's son, (Captain Tom Purchase) was a famous lion trainer who died in 1932 following a bad mauling by a lion. Capt.Tom's daughter, Rosie Purchase, was married to my Uncle Jimmy Chipperfield (Rosie & Jimmy were the parents of Mary Chipperfield). Does any of this help? I have quite a lot of information on the Purchase family if you need more? jim@stockley.co.za

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4386. Laura Petrello, 25 Jun 2014 - I just wanted to let you know of the passing of Laura May McKenzie Petrello, 89 passed away June 17, 2014 in Miami, Florida. A Visitation will take place on Tuesday, 6/24/2014 from 7-9PM, at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545 South Dixie Highway, Pinecrest, Florida 33156, (305) 667-2518. Burial will be 11:00AM, Wednesday, June 14, 2014 at Southern Memorial Park, 15000 West Dixie Highway, Miami, Florida 33181. Laura May will be laid to rest next to her Husband Mike Petrello in the “Showman’ s Rest” Section of the Cemetery. Craig Rogowski, Funeral Director, Stanfill Funeral Home Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4385. Mamie Ward, 24 Jun 2014 - I am looking for more information on Mamie Ward. I'm hoping to find out whether I am related to her or not. My family records show that she is Mamie O'Hara, but we know that she was probably born around 1860-1865 and was in the Colorado area about 1880. I'm not sure if she possibly changed her name from O'Hara to Ward or if she got married. Family stories say that she was either involved in the circus, vaudeville or burlesque, some type of an entertainer. I've seen pictures of Mamie Ward with the Sells Floto Circus group and was just hoping to gather more information about her (birthdate, death date, married, what she did in the circus, where she's from - anything). We show that she had an illegitimate son about 1880 in the Colorado area and gave him up for adoption. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! callmestacy@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - The Flying Wards are extensively covered in an article by Steve Gossard in the CHS journal, Bandwagon, November-December 1986. A back issue copy can be purchased from the society. A member of the Ward troupe, Mayme [not Mamie] Ward was born Mayme Fay Harvey at Oshkosh, Wisconsin on November 24, 1894. She was adopted by a cousin into the Hines family. She passed away in 1973. Your Mamie Ward is an entirely different person. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4384. Clyde Beatty circus, 23 Jun 2014 - I am looking for a way to get copies of the Los Angeles Times, with a story and pictures of the march of dimes parade featuring the Clyde Beatty circus. It's was 1950. We do have one very old copy so I can get exact date & page number. My grandmother was in the parade riding the front elephant :) and we recently lost her and found these pictures and want to know if there is any possible way of getting picture ect of this parade? I would also love any information on this circus that I can get! Thank you for any information and or any suggestions as to where I can obtain anything regarding "the Clyde Beaty circus"! 1950-51. My email is rorykandee@aol. Thank you for your time. Kandee Kirkpatrick Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4383. David W. Sorg, 23 Jun 2014 - I am looking for information about David W. Sorg who worked for Johnny J. Jones Exposition in the early 1900s. I believe he was head of the electrical department and had served in the army for awhile. Brdoaks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Jul 2014 - The business records of the Johnny J. Jones Exposition, a prominent railroad carnival, are not known to have survived. The best resources for finding references to David W. Sorg are the roster and news entries in the weekly trade magazines “New York Clipper” and “Billboard.” Look at some other responses on these pages for where and how to locate these journals online. Be sure you also check for any aliases and nicknames that he may have utilized in his life; David Sorg seems to be the most common variant in print. Also check “Sorg, David.”
        His obituary is given below; you might eventually find a trade journal reference to his marriage. Most trade journal entries are about employment, visits with other showmen, or to home, etc.
        Over a dozen hits came up for David Sorg. An immediate hit occurred in Clipper, February 21, 1917, page 14, listing him as the show electrician. http://fultonhistory.com/Process%20small/Newspapers/New%20York%20NY%20Clipper%201853%20-%201924/New%20York%20NY%20Clipper%201917-1918.pdf/New%20York%20NY%20Clipper%201917-1918%20-%200079.pdf He may have been responsible for the show’s light plant(s) and for the cabling that delivered the “juice” to rides, shows and joints on the midway. It was one of the more technically demanding positions on the carnival.
        illboard, May 2, 1942, page 30, listed David Sorg as the show’s chief electrician. http://books.google.com/books?id=LwwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT2&lpg=PT2&dq=dave+sorg+jones+exposition&source=bl&ots=zOsu4VbV2L&sig=5zjWvxOZXmLOpOWX5BFUv-EeksI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8ey7U5iMGIWgyAS20oD4DA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=dave%20sorg%20jones%20exposition&f=false
        Perhaps he was a long-term Jones employee, across changes in ownership?
        The first readily found entry was dated 1908 [name in letters list, Billboard, might be him] or for sure in 1914 as the electrician on JJJ, and the last 1946, but they may continue later. The references him with JJJ in many seasons; Rubin & Cherry in 1921 and Brown & Dyer in 1922. One mentions service in Uncle Sam’s army in 1919. He could have joined out at age 22 and was still with it 40 years later, other than military service.
        He died, age 63 from a stroke, at De Land, FL, was reported in Billboard, January 15, 1949, page 49. That would yield a birth year of c.1886. He was survived by his widow, Minnie. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, De Land. His last two seasons were with Penn Premier, a motorized carnival. Here is his Billboard obituary: http://books.google.com/books?id=8BYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=david+sorg+jones+exposition&source=bl&ots=gHneyYwXri&sig=u-np_ICFMZotIhw9YteKleHCL_A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nu-7U43mJYSUyASP_YKwDg&ved=0CBwQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=david%20sorg%20jones%20exposition&f=false
        His FL death certificate may give his city and state of birth. That would be a community to search for city directory and other entries. Jones wintered in Orlando, De Land and elsewhere and you might examine resources in those communities.
        Bob Goldsack published a book on the JJJ operation and there’s also a website on Jones; there’s also a book on Rubin & Cherry by Chris Audibert. You might get lucky and find a photo of Sorg. There are also photos of Penn Premier, but Brown & Dyer items are hard to locate.
        Try doing some simple Google searching, then get more detailed. If you pursue these resources, as well as genealogical, military, local and vital records research, you should be able to develop a substantial dossier of information about the gentleman. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4382. Gilberts circus, 18 Jun 2014 - I am looking for info on Gilberts circus. John Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - A better definition of your specific interest would facilitate composing a defined response. There were two American circuses that utilized the name Gilbert: Gilbert’s Menagerie, Circus and Museum, 1863-1865, F. Gilbert, proprietor (per Robert L. Parkinson); and Gilbert Bros., 1943, Harry Saltzman, proprietor. The latter is covered in an article by Fred D. Pfening Jr. in the CHS journal, Bandwagon, July-August 1971, a copy of which can be purchased as a back issue. There was a “Gilberts” circus in England, c1900, about which British circus historians may be conversant. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4381. Human cannonball, 16 Jun 2014 - I'm from a Circus in Brazil. Please, could you help me to find a company or someone that could manufacture a human cannonball? Thank you very much, Alan Fabre Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - Contact Elvin Bale, who has been associated with the Cole Bros. Circus as Vice-President of Operations. Their website is: http://www.gotothecircus.com/ He is a former human cannonball and also had a cannon fabricated that remains in daily use on the Cole show. The investment is substantial and the ever-present dangers of the work are not to be under-estimated. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 30 Jul 2014 - Or try Brian Miser, Peru, Indiana, and on Facebook. He seems to make a new cannon every couple of years. He and his wife Tina we're on the running show for a number of years but he now does other engagements. He is built their relations on the cannon such as the human arrow, etc. Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

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4380. Chipperfield circus 1963, 16 Jun 2014 - I am interesting in tracking anyone who worked with Chipperfields circus in early 1963? A relation of mine named Diane Noble worked with the circus looking after the Arab horses. Would be great to get any information. Sally Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jun 2014 - I was only a small boy on Chipperfields in 1963 but I remember a 'Dianne' who used to help my Uncle John L Chipperfield and cousin Sally Chipperfield with the performing poodles and with the camels. I don't recall her helping with horses and neither does my elder sister Jane, who was being groomed (pun intended) to take over the horse department at that time? I have sent a message to Sally Chipperfield hoping for her recollections. What sort of information are you seeking? very best, jim@stockley.co.za. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Circus-Fairground-Art/1459386264294299 - More than 800 beautiful paintings depicting circus over the past two centuries, please visit.

    Reply: 21 Aug 2014 - I remember Diane! But to answer your question get in touch with Doreen Duggan she is on Facebook. Another person who might remember her is Wendy Christian mother of Tod Christian circus Tyanna. Wish you all the best in your venture, Koffy (retired)

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4379. RBBB poster, 15 Jun 2014 - I have an RBB&B poster from "Sunday July 29," showing the circus to be playing "Lincoln." Checking the circus routes, going back to the mid-1930s, I couldn't find a Sunday, July 29 where the show was in "Lincoln." However, in 1956, the year the show folded its big top for the last time on July 16th, I find that July 29th did fall on a Sunday. Could my poster be advertising a show that never happened? I can't check this on the 1956 route card, because it ends on July 16th. Does anyone know if Ringling was scheduled to play "Lincoln" in 1956? Thanks! - Rick Whelan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - Poster experts might be able to provide some date direction if you describe the pictorial content of the piece to them, and provide dimensional data. The possible years for a Sunday, July 29 engagement would be: 1923, 1928, 1934, 1945, 1951, 1956, 1962, 1973, 1979, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2007 and 2012. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 Jul 2014 - The last Route Card issued for the 1956 Season was #4. Unfortunately it ends on July 22, even though the show stopped touring on July 16. The cities that appear on that Route Card after Pittsburgh are Moundsville, West Virginia; July 17, Zanesville, Ohio on July 18, Columbus Ohio; July 19, Springfield, Ohio on July 20, Dayton, Ohio; July 21 and finally Middletown, Ohio on July 22. As Mr. Dahlinger suggests, if it is a pictorial poster (not a date sheet) I could tell you if it is for 1956 just by knowing what the image is. If it is a "Date Sheet" (Red, White and Blue lettering with ONLY the town and date on the poster) it will have the name "Neal Walters Poster Corp" at the bottom of the poster. That was the firm that was printing Date Sheets for Ringling-Barnum in 1956. Both horizontal and vertical "Date Sheets" for 1956 use this format: "Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey" will be at the top in white block letters on a blue background. Immediately below the title you will see the word "AFTERNOON AND NIGHT COMPLETE IN ALL ITS VAST IMMENSITY" That will be in blue letters with a blue line underneath. Below that blue line will be the name of the city and showground in red letters. Another blue line will then separate the location information from the date, which will also be in red. Again the key to whether this is a 1956 date sheet is if the "Neal Walters Poster Corp" is printed at the bottom of the poster in small letters. I would be interested to hear what you have found based on this information. Chris Berry, email: circusposters@gmail.com

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4378. Barnum and Bailey, 14 Jun 2014 - There is a location in NW fl called Floridale or Harold where Barnum & Bailey wanted to build their winter home in Santa Rosa county. They poured curbs, which remain out in the woods there, to this day. There was a hotel, restaurant, and bus terminal called Floridale tower. All these were torn down and I cannot find pictures or history regarding this. Would really love to see pictures and know more. Santa Rosa County couldn't come to acceptable agreement with the circus, so they chose Sarasota, FL. Thank you for seeing what you can find. I have searched & searched in vain. Look forward to hearing from you. Bobbie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Jun 2014 - The Floridale story doesn’t involve Barnum & Bailey or the Ringling show, but Richard T. Ringling, the son of one of the five original brothers that founded the circus in 1884, Alf T. Ringling. It involved a private real estate venture, as per this discussion: http://nwflibrary.blogs.nwfdailynews.com/10066/floridale-florida/   This would have been in the timeframe when Florida land boomed and then went bust. Further searching in local period newspapers and archives, and state holdings, would likely provide more details on the venture, and perhaps images.
        Barnum & Bailey never indicated a desire to relocate from Bridgeport, Connecticut, which became their quarters in the early 1880s; they remained there until the consolidation with Ringling Bros. for the 1919 tour. John Ringling’s focus in Florida was always Sarasota, where he acquired property starting in 1911. The Haag Bros. circus was quartered in Marianna, FL in the 1930s and other shows also wintered in Florida by the 1880s and 1890s. It really became a big time haven for show winter operations with the 1927 relocation by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to Sarasota. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4377. Madison Square Garden, 09 Jun 2014 - I was wondering if anyone knew where the performers stayed while a circus was playing Madison Square Garden until 1925. Since MSG was rebuilt as an indoor arena in 1890, did circuses playing there in 1915-1920 have performers board in hotels for the month Ringling's 1919 route book says it showed there, or did they sleep in their usual train cars? Thank you so much! Chloe Kayne Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - The Barnum & Bailey circus, which wintered in nearby Bridgeport, CT (and the successor RBBB 1919-onwards to 1927), typically sent only what was necessary to New York City to stage the indoor Madison Square Garden arrangement; people, animals and properties for the ring show, and the menagerie. That meant that the “under canvas” tour equipment didn’t leave quarters until the show went into big top operational mode, in Brooklyn. This would have included the extensive physical plant of the canvas city and probably the show sleepers, as well as the bulk of the stock and flat cars, the baggage stock and other wagons, and the majority of the workingmen.
        Train consists for the time are rare, train consists for the Garden train(s) being unknown, at least to me, so it’s hard to gain an answer from that perspective. You might search local newspaper coverage, circus performer memoirs and other period documentation for a more authoritative answer, or at least circumstantial evidence of hotel occupancy. I suspect one or more references mention residing in hotels either adjacent to the Garden, or that were favored by show folks through the years.
        You might look at the location of the Garden vis a vis the position of the railroad yards in which the show sleepers would have been parked. It may have been a long distance trip between the two, making hotel accommodations more attractive. Show sleepers certainly lacked air conditioning, and although some cars may have been built with heating capacity, providing heat during the late winter months at a freight car siding may have been awkward at best. Employees would have been very uncomfortable in unheated cars. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 Jul 2014 - I neglected to include the side show as part of the Garden presentation. My apologies. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4376. History, rope and wire walking, 05 Jun 2014 - I am in the process of writing a book on rigging wires, and I want to include a brief history of wire walking in this book (part of the Introduction to Rigging series of textbooks). The problem I have is that I can find very little on the history! Anyone have any resources that might help me? Any experts on this history? Steven Santos, Director, Simply Circus Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Jun 2014 - Basic reference texts in English on circus performance arts include: Antony Hippisley Coxe, “A Seat at the Circus” (1951/1980); George Speaight, “A History of the Circus” (1980); and Stuart Thayer, “The Performers” (2005). Each includes some information. You might search under “funambulism” for early history.
        Rigging for rope and wire walking is a subset of the field of performance properties, providing the means by which acts were accomplished by securing apparatus in an open air ring, inside a structure, under a canvas top or in unique spaces. Each venue presented different challenges in terms of access, anchorage, support, erection, adjustment, etc. It was necessary to devise rigging for any act above the ground, and for some on the ground. Examples of the former include rope and wire walking, bar acts, trapeze and diving acts. The latter could cover perch acts and wheels of various types. Training and safety apparatus is also part of the discussion; consider the Stokes mechanic for the training of riders, and the rigging for flyers. Rigging, as a topic, is seldom covered in the literature, as you have discovered. I recall one recently reprinted article about a maker of safety nets: A. Morton Smith, “The Man Who Builds the Flying Trapeze,” “Popular Science Monthly,” October 1935, reprinted in CHS “Bandwagon,” July-Aug 2011, pp. 13-15 [which can be purchased as a back issue]. Searching of Google Books, digitized newspapers and other repositories may reveal additional pieces.
        Tradesmen and craftsmen are reluctant to disclose trade secrets, so it’s often via subsequent accident investigations that the actual technology employed is eventually revealed. Civil and criminal trial transcripts can be a rich source of insights; infrequently they are summarized in the popular press. Popular science and technology journals (“Scientific American,” “Popular Mechanics,” etc.) and a few newspapers, like the “New York Sun,” infrequently published articles on circus topics that can provide special insights. The Sun is particularly good and is available online with key word searching at a Library of Congress site, “Chronicling America.”
        When any performance apparatus fails, the “rigging” immediately becomes under intense scrutiny, as recent incidents have shown. It’s highly unusual to see a rope or wire break in use. The manufactured hardware, fasteners, clips, tensioners, eyelets, swivels, etc., used with the basic support apparatus are often the root cause, owing to fatigue limits being reached and exceeded, as in the case of Lillian Leitzel’s fall (not “crystallization”). Inherent metallurgical defects that are undetected can also be an initiator of failure. One recently deceased maker of performance properties, Jake Conover, told me that he had to furnish apparatus that could be repaired with parts from the local hardware store. At the other end of the spectrum, some high end productions use NASA specifications for hardware, yet, they, too, have experienced unfortunate failures.
        Rope walks are an ancient form of technology. Wire wasn’t available until foundry and draw benches were developed. Each material caused different forms of associated apparatus to be devised for its implementation. Low or high elevation, angle of inclination, length and whether taut or slack, weather or other performance conditions were also factors in the specific development of the rigging. The type of performance, walking, dancing, vehicle riding, etc., as well as the total weight imposed also must be considered.
        Here’s a tertiary and illustrated summary of rope manufacture that looks interesting, which also suggests transfer of the technology to North America: http://www.neropes.com/resources/history_of_rope.pdf. Wire drawing via dies came about by 1100, but control of the chemistry, alloying and hardness were later developments. Here’s a piece about wire for musical instruments, but similar techniques applied:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=sE1mk8ed1dkC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=wire+drawing+history&source=bl&ots=2Pnq6dWaiK&sig=5FOnhJjA-XbXtLnma67rKjp8GPw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=0G6QU9PKJ8etyASHxYGQAQ&ved=0CCcQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=wire%20drawing%20history&f=false
    Wire rope is a different development, a sort of combination of the two technologies. Here’s a reference: http://www.fastlift.co.za/pdf/CASAR%20-%20Short%20history%20of%20wire%20ropes.pdf
        For those seeking insight on contemporary rigging, this paper presents a cogent discussion: http://community.simplycircus.com/pdf/Airspace_Acrobatics_Circus_rigging_standard_v2.pdf. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Jun 2014 - I can only help you with anecdotal history. My great grandfather, Charles Britland, ran away to sea at the age of 9 (about 1853) in the last decades of sail. By ten years later, 1864, he was sailing in the new steamers. An injury to his hand ended his days as a sailor and, influenced by Blondin, he decided to train dogs to walk a tightrope. He preformed in Britain as "Professor Gordon," later marrying Isabella Brown, who performed with dogs and monkeys [and possibly an orangutang??] as Belle Hathaway. The children were always part of the act, and learned at an early age how to rig. Their oldest daughter, Isabella Britland Cristie, was apprenticed to an Italian circus, performed as "La Belle Onra" on the trapeze and other arial acts on the continent, and in 1917 moved to the Wirth Circus in Australia. One son, Archibald "Archie," supported himself by moving pianos in New York City - which required quite a bit of talent with rigging. I guess my point is that rigging for the circus probably goes back to rigging for ships, as in the contingent of Roman sailors who were required to operate the shade "sails" over the Coliseum in Rome. So finding historical information could be difficult. Jane

    Reply: 30 Jul 2014 - In the back of his seminal book, "Circus Techniques," Hovey Burgess includes an appendix about circus rigging (later editions of this book included a more extensive appendix), probably the only place this has been covered except in a few privately circulated documents (as in the case of flying trapeze). Rigging for specific acts is such a specialized skill that it is generally learned within the circus business itself. There is, however, an interesting book titled "The Tightrope Walker" by Hermine Demoriane (London, 1989), perhaps more a work of reflections by the balancing artist herself yet illustrated with a variety of early prints. The subject is a fertile field for exploration. Richard Flint, Baltimore

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4375. Rose Gold, 05 Jun 2014 - I wonder if you have any information regarding a trapeze artist called Rose Gold? I saw her performing when I was a small child, somewhere in England in the early 1950s. Many thanks, Marilyn Aslani Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Jun 2014 - There is lots of info for you in the archive of this board at #584. Rose Gold, trapeze, 25 April, 2005 and at #1823. Rose Gold, trapeze, 03 April, 2007 - jim@stockley.co.za

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4374. G A Warthan Shows, Cincinnati, 02 Jun 2014 - I am trying to find out about this business, haven't found anything after long and varied searches. It may have a different trade name and this is a business name, based in Ohio. I have a grand-uncle who was a mechanic and worked for this circus/sideshow/carnival (we are guessing!) before and after WW1. He traveled far and wide with this group (according to his paper trail), so we assume it was a circus. His name was Carl Alanson Clements, born in Alvo, NB, lived in Stanley SD and eventually settled down in Kelso, WA in the early 1920's. Any info about the company or Carl would be greatly appreciated, you can contact me at jayclements@ymail.com. Thank you so much! Jay Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Jun 2014 - Try looking under C. A. Wortham Shows. Dave

    Reply: 03 Jun 2014 - Your searching will yield immediate results if you adjust the spelling to C. A. Wortham. Clarence A. Wortham, known as the “Little Giant,” was one of the dominant men in the second and third decades of the railroad carnival trade, 1910s-1920s. The show had a route of engagements that typically changed on a weekly, and not a daily basis. A simple Google search will yield many references to Wortham and his show operations. On this message board, see previous posts 1288 and 2267.
        Unfortunately, there’s no current knowledge of any of the show’s business records, including employment data. They were presumably destroyed years ago, after Wortham’s premature death and the liquidation and sale of the shows to others. The best continuums of knowledge about Wortham operations will be the weekly issues of the trade journals Billboard [online at Google Books, ProQuest Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, Fulton History] and New York Clipper [via Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection, Fulton History]. All of the sources provide key word searching. Local newspapers will also have content on the public aspects of the Wortham Shows activities. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 04 Jun 2014 - Don't know about G.A. Warthan, but the C. (Charles) A. Worthan Show was a dramatic tent show in the early 1900s. Information about him at the Theatre Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Have a list of some of his people, and a Clements is not listed. Worthan was from Iowa, later Oklahoma.
        Carl Clements, with the rest of the Worthan Carnival, is listed in the ElCentro City, Imperial County, CA 1920 census on Ancestry. Also draft registration 1917. There are some newspaper ads on Ancestry, but of course they don't mention Clements. I have no connection, just curious. Billie

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4373. Baby Mistin, 31 May 2014 - OK guys, I watched the old Colgate Palmolive Hour with Baby Mistin and was astounded at what he could do. I had to find out what happened to him. It was a long search but here: http://www.huisvanalijn.be/product/xylofoonspeler-roland-d-avell-baby-mistin. Tom Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Jun 2014 - A friend sent me your Mistin material. Another friend and I have done a lot of research and found he is alive and lives in Belgium. For years I thought he and Ralph Heid were one and the same, but they are not. What he did after Ringling except for a few days we do not know. Heid had a great career and you would have sworn he was Mistin. Need any more info please let me know. Bob Good

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4372. RBBB poster, 31 May 2014 - I just came across some things and one is a Original Vintage 1950s Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Circus Poster Red Background Leopard 28 x 52 litho poster size. I would like to get some info on it. Tx, Michael Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jun 2014 - This particular poster is a two-sheet that was printed by Murray Poster of New York in the early 1960s. This poster design has a long history as the snarling leopard head artwork was first used on a Ringling Barnum litho in 1941, and was executed by George Howe from the Norman Bel Geddes Studios. Bel Geddes was instrumental in a huge makeover of the circus in 1941, and several new litho designs were a part of the project. The Bel Geddes design has a green background and was used with some variation in lettering through the 1940s. In 1954 the image was reworked by the Strobridge Litho Company of Cincinnati. This poster - also with a green background is vertical in the half-sheet and one-sheet size - horizontal in the "wall work" that was posted on the sides of barns and billboards. In the 1960s several classic Ringling poster designs including this one, were reworked by Murray Poster. For example, the Lawson Woods "Monkey Circus" horizontal bill was printed with a yellow "Greatest Show on Earth" logo added and the Lou Jacobs "See You at the Greatest Show on Earth" one sheet was reproduced with a less than realistic treatment of his makeup - the most prominent part of the reworked Maxwell Coplan photo being Jacobs' exaggerated red nose. In the case of the Leopard poster, the background was changed from green to red and it was produced as small as a window card and as large as a billboard. The poster which you are mentioning is a two-sheet which would have had a one-sheet date posted at the bottom (or top) on a three-sheet billing stand (usually on commuter train platforms in east coast cities). The poster background was changed back to green about 1969 and that version was used by RIngling-Barnum into the early 1970s. Considering the fact that the "Leopard Head" litho was used from 1941 until the early 1970s, it was indisputably used to advertise The Greatest Show on Earth for more seasons than any other single poster. While not scarce it is still highly collectible. Chris Berry circusposters@gmail.com

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4371. Zeiger shows 1938, 28 May 2014 - I have a post card from my uncle Zack Hargis who was traveling with C. F. Zeiger shows in 1938. The post card is from Mexico, while they were there. Postcard is photo of Mexico / USA border At Sonora, Mexico "wet" - the border is s short yard fence - Nogales, Arizona "Dry". It is dated - March 19, 1938. Up Popped the Devil. I am Traveling with C.F. Zeiger, United Show, in Mexico now will head for the north soon and swing back with this summer wind up in Phoenix, Arizona in Nov. don't know if I will hit Denver this summer or not, but we may. Will let you hear from me B.4. long I am fine hope all is well - Zack. Wondering if you may have any history about this tour in 1938 or possibly photos of people who were employed during that time. Thank you, Kelly Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 May 2014 - The C. F. Zeiger outfit was a motorized carnival, traveling by road and doing weekly stands in communities along a contracted route of communities. They could have played “still dates” (meaning no sponsor), furnished the midway at street and agricultural fairs, etc. McKennon’s carnival inventory, in the back of Vol. II of his “Pictorial History of the American Carnival,” sets forth the years of operation as 1923-1947.
        I don’t recall seeing any recent writing about the enterprise or principals. The best means to acquire knowledge will be to pursue entries in the weekly trade journal “Billboard.” You can access later 1940s issues directly online, via a Google Books advanced search. The earlier years can be accessed via ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, to which you can perhaps purchase access, or utilize at a larger library. Both provide key word search capability. If Zeiger was active pre-1923 in the trade, you could also check directly for him in issues of the “New York Clipper,” which is available online with key word searching at Illinois Digitized Newspaper Collections. There are also various trade journals accessible at the Fulton History website.
        Simple Google searches for “C. F. Zeiger” + shows yielded a number of 1940s hits, a 1935 photograph, etc. It’s a way to get started until you have specific access to 1938 issues. Your uncle may have traveled with other shows and you might search for him in a similar manner. Generally, it will be difficult to find photographs of the show, but at least one exists. Once you establish the community(ies) in which the show wintered, you might visit or contact local repositories for information about the owner(s) and activities. Digitized newspapers along their routes, which were published in Billboard, may also provide insights. There are also entries in lesser known publications including “Greater Show World,” “Big Eli News,” and so on. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 26 Jun 2014 - I want to express my gratitude for their taking the time to write out all the information so that I will have more options in my search for my Great Uncle. I also discovered that he was a member of the Pacific Coast Showmen's Association and I have a business card he used Zack (Ozark Red) Hargis. I do not know if the name Ozark Red may be more familiar to anyone, but it has not produced any Hits in my search efforts, yet, anyway. Again Thank you for the time you took in answering my reply and I am grateful for the leads that were shared. Kelly

    Reply: 08 Jul 2014 - The Pacific Coast Showmen’s Association still exists today. You might try and contact them concerning their archival holdings. They published an annual or two, which included pages and content by subscription. A copy of the initial volume is in the Circus World Museum library. A Google search states they have a Facebook page. The contact information is given elsewhere as: Pacific Coast Showmen Association, 305 North Central Avenue, Upland, CA 91786, Tele (909) 920-0981. Use “Ozark Red” in your Billboard and Clipper searches, it may have been used in the trade, part of show identification or advertising, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4370. Holland Brothers Circus, 26 May 2014 - I’ve been told that my great grandfather was an acrobat with the Holland Brothers Circus in the US in the nineteenth century. He went by the name of Francis (or Frank) Holland, although I am not certain that he was actually a member of the Holland family. I believe that his real surname might have been McHugh. Is there any information available about the Holland Brothers Circus? About the Holland family? Or about anyone who performed with them? Thank you. Kit Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 27 2014 - When the name Holland comes up in American circus history, the top of mind response is the Delavan family of that name. They performed in and also owned shows based in that Wisconsin community. The Delavan grouping does not include a member named Francis or Frank, or Hugh or McHugh.
        There was also a troupe of performers named Holland Brothers that performed on the vaudeville and variety stage, and perhaps the circus, based in Des Moines, Iowa. They were active c1872-c1882 and have been the subject of inquiry before; see CHS message postings 394 and 3694, both of which lack responses. There seems to be some ambiguity in specific name knowledge. That may arise from the fact that not all members of the “duo” were actually named Holland. There were also a variety of members of the act. This may have been the act that involved Francis Hugh “Frank” Holland [McHugh?], but there’s no specific reference to him per se in the period literature.
        Trade references to the Holland Brothers start by 1872. They performed on an elevated, offset double trapeze, situated at a substantial height above the stage or ground (estimated at fifteen to twenty feet in 1876), and also did a horizontal bar act. A comedic “triple aerial bar” act, with hat spinning, was mentioned in 1875. They did not do double or triple somersaults, but did have a very accomplished and daring act they’d perfected at their Des Moines base of operations.
        Joseph Paul was a member of the Holland Brothers in the late 1870s, taking the stage name Paul Holland. He performed with his wife, who was billed as Mlle. Violetta, and a gentleman known publicly as Billy Holland. He may have had claim to the actual name of Holland. The act was billed as “Mlle. Violetta and the Holland Brothers.” Among their engagements was a stint at Col. Sinn’s New Park Theatre, Brooklyn, in February 1876. On February 24, while presenting their triple bar act, they incurred a failure of their apparatus, in which the lower bar on which Paul was seated “swung away,” precipitating both Paul and Billy to the stage, critically injuring them. The heavier Paul fell upon the lighter Billy, who took the brunt of the impact. Billy Holland was injured to the extent that he was compelled to retire, “crippled for life.” Mlle. Violetta was situated on the top bar during the incident and never lost her composure. The local accident account termed the two men “brothers.” The local newspaper published an extended editorial about the presentation of high risk acts the following day, taking both thrill-seeking audiences and stage managers satisfying them to task. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 25, 1876.] Reportedly the act was presented vin violation of the law, which called for the placement of a net under the performers. [Clipper, March 4, 1876, page 391.] References to the act are inconsistent.
        The act was carried on by Paul, continued as Holland Brothers, along with another “boy” from Des Moines, name not given. In 1878 their location was given as 220 West Walnut Street. The identity of the replacement youth has not been determined. Conceivably he may be the man you’re seeking. [Clipper, September 7, 1878, page 187.] Violetta and the Holland Brothers were mentioned several times in 1881. They may have served part of the 1872, 1879 and 1881 tours with the John Robinson tour, but that’s not confirmed. [Clipper, April 13, 1872, page 12; December 27, 1879, page 315; July 9, 1881, pages 258 and 259.] Paul was recovering from an unnamed ailment in late 1882, but noted as having liver disease. He was then seeking his son, Charley, who’d left their Des Moines home, the address of which was 69(?)9 Second Street. [New York Clipper, December 23, 1882, page 634.] Paul eventually succumbed at the home of his mother in Des Moines on January 19, 1884. [Clipper, February 2, 1884, page 783.] The local Des Moines newspapers may have further coverage of the 1876 accident as well as an obituary for Joseph Paul, aka Paul Holland. I would also recommend pursuing research in local city directories, census records, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Nov 2015 - I have info on the Holland brothers, if you are interested still. Charles McCoy, charlmac37@gmail.com CHARLES MCCOY

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4369. Elephant Cindy, 23 May 2014 - My Name is Sean Browne Castlerea and I am looking for information when Cindy died. He died in Athenry and is buried in Castlerea. We have the spot marked and I intend to erect a headstone over Cindy but we need a date to put on Cindy's headstone. Below is an article that appeared this week in our local paper.
    Cindy Grave Marked. (May 16 in Demesne Castlerea, Co. Roscommon.) We have arranged that cindy's Grave will be marked at 5 O'Clock this evening, we must remember that he died 47 years ago, this is a very historical occassion, not every town has an Elephant buried in it, you are welcome to come along. It is a great opportunity to meet Michael Raftery the man who buried Cindy he will tell you the story of that infamous day. This is a very famous picture of Cindy the Elephant coming out Mannions Bar in Castlerea in 1963. Patsy Glynn was coming from a wedding when this photo opportunity came his way. Then Cindy died in Athenry and Castlerea was the chosen place of burial. It was only to day that Michael Raftery marked the spot of burial in 1967. It was Michael who got the job of burying Cindy. He worked for John Waldron at the time. The other picture shows Austin Waldron grandson of John Waldron at the grave.The place is going to be marked with a plaque and the grave marked soon. Cindy belonged to Fossetts Circus. He was talked about for years afterwards. Anthony Cahill from Castlerea Town Trust gave us his blessing. The other picture shows Andy Malone my neighbour who came to witness and verify the grave of Cindy. Thanks Andy. [Message Board does not include photos included with messages.] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4368. Richard Reynolds, 22 May 2014 - My grandfather Richard Reynolds states on a document he was showman in the circus maybe the 1930’s. He was from Norfolk but may also lived in London. He was also known as Rex. Regards, Sylvia Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4367. Barbara Seal, 21 May 2014 - Looking for information concerning Ringling Bros. Circus performing in Minnesota 1970 when a female performer Barbara Seal with the Flying Braytons fell due to an equipment failure. Also any documents/photos showing Barbara Seal performing with the Flying Braytons (1969-1970). Thanks, Chuck Vasek Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4366. La Petite Ethel, 20 May 2014 - We are looking for any pictures or flyers for our Grandmother/Great Grandmother Ethel May Harvey. Her stage name was 'La Petite Ethel'. She was a contortionist and trapeze artist from about 1895 to 1912. She toured with Bernard's Circus to Hawaii in 1901. She was married to Russell Packer, who looked after the horses and was a 'bounding Jockey'. She may also have been with 'McMahon's' and 'Wirth's' circuses in Australia and New Zealand. She lost her mother at an early age and was fostered by her Aunt and Uncle who were in the circus and may have gone by with the name Ethel Bernard or Gooseman before she married. All momentos were lost in a fire so we are hoping that someone may have something. Email: crimson@aapt.net.au. Regards, John Crimson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jun 2014 - I could help you with your enquiry but this site cannot accept photos. Your email address comes up as invalid. Sorry. John Sullivan

    Reply: 23 Jun 2014 - John Sullivan: Did you just copy the address as given? If so you may have forgotten to take the period at the and off. It should be crimson@aapt.net.au not crimson@aapt.net.au. Dave

    Reply: 23 Jun 2014 - Thank you John Sullivan for your reply. Try crimson@aapt.net.au without the period after 'au'. Looking forward to hearing from you. I also mean't 'Herbert Russell Packer' in my original post. Regards, John Crimson

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4365. Sarah Smith, Burnell Raphael, 16 May 2014 - Requesting any information on Sarah Smith & Burnell Raphael. (my Grandparents). Sarah apparently joined the circus as her father was not able to look after 2 children after their mother died and still work, story has it the she joined the circus while it was in town in the Maronoa District in Queensland. Sarah going by her marriage certificate was a dancer. Burnell's brother Joseph Andrew Rowe Raphael was also in the circus as a trapezist, amoung the family performers were also Emmaletta Selina Raphael, Catherine Isabella Raphael, I am also curious on when exactly the profound bareback rider Gambor Raphael who was part of Rowes Circus actually started his career in the circus, if I am correct he was a child himself when he had joined. Where was he when he had joined. Any photos that maybe available I would also appreciate seeing. I have a photo of Gambor and 3 of his children from Mark St.Leon, if there is anything else out there somewhere I would so much love to see them. Did any of the family continue in the circus after the death of Gambor in Surry Hills NSW under the name of Rafael Gamboa. Regards Delveen Raphael Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4364. Marianne Crosby, 16 May 2014 - I know that Mathew Buckley married my 3rd grt Grandmother Marianne Crosby in St. Mary’s Chapel, Lambeth, Surrey, England, 11 October 1825. She was a young equestrienne. Do you have any more information about her prior to, and whilst working with Mathew? I do have a contact in Wisconsin, who has provided me with her life / children / death details AFTER they arrived in the States. I would be extremely interested in any more information that you could garnish. Sincerely, Diane Andrews Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4363. Richard Lingard, 14 May 2014 - I'm looking for information regarding my great grandfather, Richard Lingard. He is from Ellis Island and have heard that he was in a circus for a period of time, catching on the trapeze, or an acrobat. I would really love to see a picture if one turns up or get information. He is originally from England, came to Ellis Island in the 1920s on the Celtic ship. Ledonna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4362. Hairless cow sideshow, 14 May 2014 - My Great Uncle Theopolus from Culman, Alabama, had a hairless cow sideshow in the 1930s and 40s. I would love to find info or photos. I'm not sure of his last name, possibly Wells, Moore, or Mann. Thanks, Dee Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4361. W. W. Cole 100 sheet, 14 May 2014 - I’m looking for more information on the famous 100-sheet poster printed by Strobridge for the W.W. Cole show in the early 1880s. I presume no copies still exist? Does anyone know where the small photo of the poster in the Fred Pfening article in Bandwagon comes from? Is there any more information anywhere about where the poster was put up, or any descriptions of people’s reactions to it? Many thanks. Jessica, London UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 16 2014 - Most of what is known about the 100-sheet W. W. Cole poster is included or referenced in the essay titled “The Strobridge Lithographing Company” pages 20-27 in Kristin L. Spangenberg and Deborah W. Walk, eds., “The Amazing American Circus Poster,” 2011, the catalogue to the recent 2011-2012 exhibition of Strobridge lithographs.
        There is a well-known description from the March 10, 1883 issue of the “New York Clipper,” which you can access online in the digitized newspapers at the Illinois Digitized Newspaper Collections. There is also an extended description in the “Cincinnati Commercial Tribune” of March 22, 1883 in the catalogue. Other newspapers may have commented on the piece because it was so unusually large; however, local reporters may not have realized its unique status because large outdoor stands, probably with more than 100 sheets of paper, had already been erected by circus lithographers.
        The Cole poster is a montage that combines, with artistic license, various aspects of the circus menagerie and performance in the pavilion. The scenes shown together never took place simultaneously. Additional posters were placed outward from the 100-sheet assembly, creating an even larger presentation. No portion of the Cole piece is known to exist today. The only known print of the photograph documenting the actual existence of the poster was taken from a photograph of an example identified for the date at Cherokee, Iowa on July 31, 1883. It is in the Howard C. Tibbals collection and is reproduced in the book on page 23.
        The Louis E. Cooke memoir, available on the CHS website, includes a representation of his involvement with the piece: http://www.circushistory.org/Cooke/Cooke22.htm. Harry A. Ogden, who did the actual design, provided some insight on the work in a letter quoted in an article by Fred D. Pfening Jr. that can be found here: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1973Nov.htm
        At least one other 100-sheet lithograph was designed and actually printed by Enquirer, for the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West of 1899. 80 of the 100 sheets comprising it survive at the Circus World Museum library. Also preserved are the small wooden design blocks that reveal the entire 100-sheet design. These can be seen in the book by Thomas P. Parkinson and Charles P. Fox, “Billers, Banners and Bombast,” color plates 8 and 9. The library files also include a photograph of the entire remaining sheets temporarily erected upon a special wall erected for the purpose. The BBWW piece is four 24-sheet scenes butted together, a somewhat different concept than the 1883 Cole piece. Both had descriptive narrative panels at the ends of the 100-sheets of pictorial paper. A 128-sheet poster was proposed for the Adam Forepaugh circus of 1887, but is not known to have been completed and printed. Information about it is in footnote 26 on page 27 of the catalogue. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4360. Thomas Pool, 14 May 2014 - Kotar and Gessler in their book, "The Rise of the American Circus," cast doubt on the 18th century trick rider Thomas Pool's claim to being an American. They claim that Pool performed for ten years from 1774 to 1784 in Sainte Domingue, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. There are Pool advertisements for those places in 1774 and 1784, but nothing in between. I believe that he was an American and that he was not in the islands after 1774 until he appeared again in 1784. Does anyone know of any other documentation that would place Pool in the islands in the intervening years? Thanks. Judith Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4359. Frank Large, 14 May 2014 - My great grandad joined the J Robinson circus around the 20s and was a fiddler. He signed on out of Ironton, Ohio. He died on the road and we don't know where he is buried or anything. His name was Frank Large. How could I find him? Thank you! Victoria Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4358. Ringling Bros. early 1900s, 14 May 2014 - I am hoping you might be able to help me. I am trying to find out when the Ringling Bros. Circus might have come into my area in the early 1900’s. The reason for my investigation is this. I am an avid metal detectorist. At a home built in the 1890’s, I recently found a novelty ring sold by George Auger, The Cardiff Giant. From what I have been able to find out, he traveled with Ringling Bros. from around 1904 till maybe 1910, I’ve not been able to find that information. The real question I have is how close did the circus come to my sleepy little home town? I live in Bryson City NC. I just can’t imagine that big of a circus coming here back in those days. From what I have read, the ring had to be bought from George Auger himself so someone had to actually be at the circus. Do you have any information of the stops or travel schedule for Ringling Bros. for the early 1900’s? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Andy Turbyfill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 16 2014 - To purchase a ring from a giant on the Ringling Bros, Circus between 1904 and 1910 the closest lot location to Bryson City, North Carolina would be in Ashville, North Carolina on October 12, 1908 or October 17, 1910. Search the CHS website for other dates in Knoxville, Johnson City between 1904 and 1910. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: May 24 2014 - George Auger was with Barnum & Bailey, not Ringling Bros., at least in the seasons of 1904 to 1907 and 1917-1918. He then toured with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows 1919-1922. Routes for Barnum & Bailey and RBBB can be found on this website, in the virtual library. See: http://www.circushistory.org/Routes/Route.htm. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4357. Circo Americano, 01 May 2014 - I am attempting to write an article on Circo Americano which toured South America in 1940-50s. I would be grateful to anyone who can give me any stories or history on: Emil Schweyer, James B. (Jimmy) Harrington, Jerome & Janis Wilson, Dorothy & Willy Storey, Billy (Evans) & Renee Pape, Albert and Judy Storey or any others inc. Fay Alexander at the time he toured with them. jeanshields@yahoo.co.uk from London, UK. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 15 2014 - The Gran Circo Americano had a permanent address of 2028 Benefit Street New Orleans, La. on January 10, 1951. A letter was written on that date to the U.S. Tent and Awning Company by the director Jerome Wilson noted that "Mr. Giustino Loyal was at present with Circus Atayde in Mexico City". In addition it requests that the tent company forward his new tent to San Juan Purto Rico. The Gran Circus Ameicano changed their address to 162 E. Oakridge Park, New Orleans, La and their letterhead noted Jerome Wilson was the Director and James B. Harrington General Manager. A letter dated March 9, 1954 to the United States Tent and Awning Company noted that "last year we bought a 120 with a 40 middle and used it here in Purto Rico. We used it only ten weeks and stored it here until last week." The letter also noted that they would be in San Juan until the 22nd of March and Jerome Wilson could be reached at the Olimpo Court Apts, Santurce, Purto Rico. On October 25, 1954 James Harrington wrote the Tent & Awning Company that he had 'just arrived in New Orleans last week to confer with my partner Mr. Wilson regards the 1955 season...after discarding plans for an extended tour which would have required new canvas throughout, we have decided to confine our tour to Purto Rico only, again this coming season." Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection
        Your best bet is to search Google Books and use the search terms 'Billboard' and 'Circo Americano'. A number of articles from the late 1940s & 50s show up about the circus playing in South America. A few pieces of correspondence list the show as Gran Circo Americano, 2028 Benefit Street, New Orleans, La. and Jerome C. Wilson, Director and Secretary, Janis K. Wilson. A January 10, 1951 letter notes that the show was owned by Giustine Loyal and he was at that time with Circo Atayde in Mexico City. He was having a new tent shipped from New Orleans to San Juan Puerto Rico. A letter March 9, 1954 lists the permanent address as 162 E. Oakridge Park, New Orleans, La. U.S.A. Jerome O. Wilson, Director with James B. Harrington, General Manager. The letter references the purchase of a 120 foot round with a 40 foot middle tent that was used in Puerto Rico last year. The show only used it ten weeks and then stored it. It was set up the prior week but was problems and Mr. Wilson requested that someone from the United States Tent and Awning Company in Chicago, Illinois come to have a look at it. The show was to be in San Juan until March 22. On October 25, 1954 Mr. Harrington notes that he arrived in New Orleans to confer with his partner Mr. Wilson in regards to the 1955 season. They discarded plans for an extended tour and decided to confine their tour to Puerto Rico only, again this coming season. John Polacsek

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4356. August Cote, 01 May 2014 - My grandfather, August Arthur Cote, ran away from home (so the story goes) when he was 17 years old and joined the Ringling Brothers Circus. This would have been in 1906. Do you have act archives that confirm this? We know the act under the name of Scanlon Denno Scanlon also played the circus. We lost the circus playbill (a handsome leather bound volume) with pictures of all the acts when the house burnt to the ground! Would your archives show anything on these names? Thank you, Claire Bjelland Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4355. Mangan Bros. Circus, 25 Apr 2014 - Wondering if anyone heard of Mangan Brothers Circus – 1898–1900. Bailey & Madison, Bailey & Austin. Had relative George Stuckey who was an acrobat? Any info is appreciated, thanks. Anne from Orlando Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4354. Dwight Nifong, 23 Apr 2014 - I am trying to find info on my ancestor Dwight Nifong. He was a lion tamer in the Cole Circus in the 40s. I am wanting any info or picts. of him & the lions. Billboards any copies of anything you have. Jan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: Apr 25 2014 - The name of Dwight Nifong doesn't sound familiar. I have followed many of the wild animal trainers careers over the years as a wild animal trainer myself and as a circus historian. Joanne Joys authored a wonderfully comprehensive book entitled the Wild Animal Trainer in America back in 1983. She didn't include this name in her book either. That leads me to believe that perhaps this person simply worked with the animals rather than training the animals. I don't have any of the Cole Bros. Circus route books but you could simply contact the Circus World Museum's Research Library in Baraboo, WI. and ask if they have any references in their "Yellow Cards." These are note cards with a name and their references as to where this name appears throughout their collection. Best wishes, Bob Cline

    Reply: Apr 28 2014 - Thank you for replying. Dwight Nifong a lion tamer in the Coleman Circus. His nickname was Dee. When he got bit by the lion on his leg another tamer Arky had to take his place for a few days. Dwight is deceased but I just want a pict. of him with the lions. Jan

    Reply: Apr 29 2014 - E. E. Coleman was a Dayton, Ohio theater operator who operated a circus, intermittently, as early as 1929 and into the 1930s. Nifong may have been with one of his ventures; however, given a possible birth year of circa 1917 he would have probably been too young to do so - and in the wrong locale. I think the title involved was probably Cole Bros., 1947, as noted below.
        The first mention of a Dee Nifong is in 1942, when he and Lester Stare, San Francisco and Sacramento, were to head east for the opening of the Just for Fun show. Nifong had been doing defense work. [Billboard, January 31, 1942, page 33] In 1943 he was identified as having been with Lester Stores Shows. [Billboard, June 5, 1943, page 31] Dwight “Dee” Nifong joined the U. S. Navy on August 27, 1942, per an entry in Billboard magazine [October 17, 1942, page 33]. He was said to have been with two well-known carnivals, Beckman & Gerety and Cetlin & Wilson. He went to the South Pacific and may have been wounded as Billboard [December 4, 1943, page 35] noted he was in the U. S. Naval hospital in Long Beach, CA, after ten months duty. By spring 1946 he was released and planned to book onto a small western circus. He was residing in Fresno, CA. [Billboard, March 23, 1946, page 77] He did fair and park dates through 1946 before returning home to Los Angeles. [Billboard, November 30, 1946, page 62]
        In late 1946 and early 1947 Nifong, then resident in Los Angeles, advertised for bookings for his “blind man” hanging act, “The Leap of Death.” [Billboard, December 28, 1946, page 72 and January 14, 1947, page 78] Presumably he placed a bag over his head before leaping from an elevated platform with a noose around his neck. It was an act that had been performed previously by others, sometimes with tragic results. The Great Peters was one example.
        Nifong was hired to join the Cole Bros. circus, where he worked a fighting lion act in the side show. Typically this presentation was a single lion, usually advertised as “untamable,” shown in a smaller enclosure than a steel arena. Some of the early untamable lions were called “Wallace,” and the name was used frequently thereafter. The intent was to make a loud showing, with much snarling and threatening activity by the lion against the presenter. [Billboard, June 7, 1947] At Erie, PA on June 16, 1947, Nifong slipped and was bitten by the fighting lion. That may have been the time when elephant superintendent Arky Scott came to his aid. [Billboard, June 28, 1947, page 73; Bandwagon, July-Aug 1979, pp10-11] The incident is recalled at the following link, where it was noted that Scott filled in for him for a few days: http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2009/02/honest-bill-show-1915-1.html
        Nifong was listed as being with Dailey Bros. in 1948. [Billboard, November 29, 1948, page 60]. Early in 1949 he was looking for bookings for a side show fighting lion act, as well as his hanging act, from his base in Shreveport, LA. [Billboard, February 12, 1949, page 82] His age was given as 32 in 1949, when he went on with the show despite an arm and shoulder injury after being attacked by a lion at El Dorado, AR. The wound required 12 stitches to close. He was rescued from the situation by elephant man John Ragsdale. [Blytheville, AR Courier-News, April 14, 1949.] He has been reported as presenting the Wallace untamable lion act in the King Bros. side show in 1949. [Bandwagon, March-April 2011, page 35] Originally he planned to present his act on a carnival in 1950, but in Capt. Dee Nifong spent the 1950 tour with Dailey Bros., a railroad circus, and was wintering in Red Bluff, CA. [Billboard, January 7, 1950, page 55 and December 30, 1950, page 33] He was also injured that season by a lion, receiving lacerations on his left hand, arm and right leg. It was said that he’d switched from aerial performance work to lion training five years earlier. [Abilene Reporter-News, April 23, 1950]
        It may be quite difficult to locate a photograph of Capt. Dwight “Dee” Nifong given that most of his appearances were under the big top and in the side show, where little photography was accomplished owing to poor lighting. I would recommend contacting the various circus repositories and making a specific request about him. He might be found in general photographs of the troupes noted above, by title and season. Perhaps someone reading this response will review their holdings for the desired photograph. Perhaps you can post some other information relative to his life after he left the business? Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: Apr 30 2014 - Dwight Nifong nickname was “Dee. “He was one of the Lion Tamers in Coleman Bro.s Circus. In a recent Bandwagon magazine Pg. 10 lists him as being in the circus 1947. Pg 11 tells of his encounter with one of the lions at Erie, Penn. News paper article April, 1950, Abilene, TX shows him mauled by another lion. He is a decendant of mine, 2nd cousin & I am trying to find a pict. of him with the lions. Another lion Tamer called “ Arky “also in Coleman Circus had to take his place for a few days until he healed. This is the proof I have with him being in the Coleman Circus late fortys & early 50tys. I would also like to know how long he was in the circus & any info I can find of his circus yrs. Does anyone remember him?
        Thank you, Fred Dahlinger, curator of Circus history for giving me info. on Capt. Dwight “Dee” Nifong. I can give some update on what happen to Dwight after his circus days. He worked in a nursing home for 22 yrs. in High Point, NC. He never married nor had children. I knew he served in Military in WWII. I had met him before yrs. ago, back when I lived at my grdmt. house where he was visiting her. Jan

    Reply: May 03 2014 - Coleman operated a circus under the M. L. Clark & Sons Circus title, and not his own name, in 1943, and again 1945-1946, but there are no hits placing Nifong with those operations. The Clark outfit was also announced as enlarged for 1944, with optimistic announced plans to go out in 1947, 1951 and 1952, but never left quarters in any of those years. There was a confirming report in 1954 that the Coleman show last rolled out in 1945 [Billboard, December 18, 1954]. It’s pretty clear from the references provided above that Nifong was with the 1947 Cole Bros. Circus. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: May 15 2014 - Thankyou for your help Fred D curator of circus history. It told me a lot that I didn’t know anout Dwight “Dee” Nifong. Jan

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4353. Gainesville Community Circus, 17 Apr 2014 - Looking for Gainesville Community Circus posters! My mother and father-in-law were performers for many years. Also, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were small children and performed with their parents, walking on large ball and riding baby elephant! Would love to get one for my husband to have! Gayla Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4352. Charles Myrtle Collins, 17 Apr 2014 - Looking for information on the above mentioned Charlse Myrtle Collins. He was born in the usa abt 1876, but where? It is rumoured that he came to the UK and Wales in particular with a circus, so looking for any details of this. It would have been before 1901 as he is in Wales then. Thanks in anticipation. Mike Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4351. Claude Loftus, 15 Apr 2014 - I am looking for information about my great uncle, Claude "Speedy" Loftus. He was from LA Junta, Colorado, served in WW1, and then joined a circus. I was told he rode a motorcycle with a lion chasing him. I know that circus went through Amarillo, Texas in the late 1930's. Thank you much. Greta Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: Apr 20 Apr 2014 - Claude “Speedy” Loftus would have been a motordrome, “drome,” or silo motorcycle rider with a traveling carnival. These initially became popular about 1915, when showman Frank Hatch put a number of them on tour. Al Stencell’s book about carnival band end shows, “Seeing is Believing” is a starting resource on the topic. Your great uncle probably rode a motorcycle during his military service. Veterans formed riding clubs and undertook other activities to continue that formative and influential experience, which captured some of their past.
        There were no hits for Speedy Loftus, using different word combinations, in the Google Books advanced search through available issues of “Billboard,” early 1940s-1950s. You can search the microfilmed issues of “Billboard” in the post-WWI era, which, for now, is the only alternative for the 1920s and 1930s. They’re possibly obtainable via interlibrary loan, so see your librarian.
        You can do a Google search through the CHS message board postings of the past and find relevant entries for other riders and the lore surrounding them. Quite a few of the riders were nicknamed “Speedy,” a common one in the era of ever faster internal combustion vehicles, which gave people independence. A few drome operations featured lions, which rode in a side car.
        Speedy Loftus, along with riders I. T. Watkins, Alice Lowell and Cyclone Feliz, was with the Watkins Wall of Death on the Clarence A. Wortham’s World’s Best Shows, a carnival per “New York Clipper,” August 24, 1923 [Illinois Digital Newspapers]. In 1925, Speedy Loftus was a rider in the drome on the Lackman & Carson Exposition Shows, the former Con T. Kennedy Shows, which were bought from the government. The drome belonged to Capt. Hartley and also included Bobb[ie?] Loftus and Grace Hicks as riders. This was in “Variety,” July 1, 1925. The “Corsicana (TX) Daily Sun,” March 19, 1927, carried a piece about the George Loos Shows, a carnival, which listed Speedy Loftus as a featured drome rider, along with Del Couch and Miss Bobbie Loftus. In 1936 he was with the Hennies Bros. Shows, per the “LaCrosse (WI)Tribune and Leader,” June 17, 1936.
        Further research through troupe listings would likely fill in other employment engagements between the two wars.
        There were hits for his name, for letters, in “Billboard” into the 1940s, likely when he was retired from the traveling shows. You may find additional hits for him in www.newspaperarchive.com and perhaps in other digitized newspapers. Here is one web page that can guide you to many such newspapers: http://guides.library.upenn.edu/historicalnewspapersonline. There was also a “speedy Loftus,” a baseball player, in 1925. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4350. Circus boat sunk, 05 Apr 2014 - I’m looking for the names of a Circus and a Boat which left Germany (en route to North America) sometime around 1907 (an estimated year). The boat sank soon after leaving port, and all aboard died. The name of the Port would be extremely helpful too. The story was passed along regarding my grandfather, via my grandmother. He survived because he missed the boat. Amy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4349. Cannonball act, 04 Apr 2014 - I am hoping someone can provide some answer for me. In the sixties when I was a small child my dad took my brother and I to what I remember to be the circus which had a human cannonball act. It may have been a Barnum & Bailey Circus or a Shriner’s, not sure too young, in either Jacksonville, Florida or Maryland. There was an accident the woman went out first and landed in the net then bounced up in the air as the second person flew right into her. They both appeared lifeless as the crew quickly took the net down with the both. We were asked to quietly get up and leave the arena. I believe she may have died and he was paralyzed. I can not find any information about this accident. Does anyone know about this? My brother and I both have very vivid memories and want to have more clarity of this terrible accident. Delores Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: Apr 05 Mar 2014 - The accident you describe happened in Jacksonville during a performance of Ringling Bros.-Barnum and Bailey on February 4, 1970, when Emanuel Zacchini, Jr flew into his wife Linda. The accident was attributed to the net being too taught, causing Linda to bounce into Emanuel's path. Both were severely injured but neither died as a result of the collision. - Dave
    See this newspaper article: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1964&dat=19700206&id=-38yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GLYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2959,2169414

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4348. Circus in Schools, 25 Mar 2014 - My name is Lindsey and I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I am conducting research on the engagement and well being potential of ‘Circus in Schools’ programs. I’m looking for vaguely academic style resources (articles, books etc), either modern or historical, about the circus or circus performers. In particular, resources on how the circus environment benefits performers (eg. through a sense of belonging and group solidarity etc) would be helpful. Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Lindsey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4347. Best wishes, 22 Mar 2014 - My prayers and best wishes to all circus traveling shows for this season 2014. For Safe travels, good health and the bringing enjoyment to Children of All ages under the Big Top and in building. May the History of the circus continue to grow as we cherish its long history of bringing enjoyment to Children of all ages for over a hundred years in the United States and in Europe and other parts of the world. Bro. J. Francis Dolphin, M.M. Maryknoll missionary in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4346. Hal Urback, 21 Mar 2014 - Does anyone know of a dancer with one leg working at the Hunt Bros circus mid 1940. Name Hal Urback? Romona Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Mar 2014 - See query 4340.

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4345. Norman F. Wilcox, 17 Mar 2014 - I am trying to find information about my grandfather Norman F. Wilcox. I was told that he worked the traveling OC Buck shows in the New York and Florida areas. I am not sure what type of work he did there, but have a feeling he was perhaps a ride operator. Any information you have would be helpful. Thank You, Angela Baldwin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Mar 2014 - I have never been able to establish the existence of any surviving business records of the O. C. Buck Shows, or the personal papers of the principals, father and son Oscar Buck. They would document your grandfather’s employment - perhaps. Traveling show records about employment can be very sketchy, until the arrival of Social Security in the late 1930s. Some employees were paid weekly in cash and there was no record maintained of their personal identity.
        The best means to locate information about your grandfather would be to do advanced key word searches in Google Books, restricting them to issues of Billboard [enter in title block]. Then use variations on his name, or search for coverage of the show, etc. I did some initial searching and didn’t have luck, which isn’t uncommon. You may have to get inventive in your searching, especially if he went by a nickname, etc. The Buck operation was a traveling carnival, so you’ll want to look through the news columns on that industry. The Billboard coverage on Google Books starts in the mid-1940s; you’ll have to look for microfilm if his show travels predated that time.
        Establishing the precise years he may have been on tour can help to limit the search period. Verify his location and employment through Social Security records, military service, local city directories where he resided, census records [up to 1940 now available], correspondence or other paper documentation held by the family, etc. You can start by yourself, via www.ancestry.com, www.heritagequest.com, or other online help sites, or learn from other genealogists how to trace his existence.
        You will find some O. C. Buck information of interest in message 3220 on this message board. There is some tertiary coverage of the carnival operation in this recent article about the family’s carousel manufacturing trade:
    http://www.carouselnews.com/New-Carousel-News/Feature-Current-and-Historic-Stories-2011-2013/O.-C.-Buck-Little-Known-Golden-Age-Carousel-Carver.706.html
    Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4344. Buck Lucas, 15 Mar 2014 - Nobody knows much about my Grandfather other than he was in WV traveling through WV stayed awile, then moved on to the Ohio region, leaving the family in WV never to return. I happen to find this site where it discusses a name of "Buck Lucas" in the Ohio region with a circus. http://www.circusfans.org/res_det.php?res_id=342
    Supposedly my Grandfather's name was Texas "Buck" Lucas. I do not know if this is the same person or not. Is there some way to find out exactly where "Buck" Lucas might have ended up at for more research? Thank you for any assistance that your Circus History may provide. John David Lucas, Provo, UT Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Mar 2014 - Do a Google Books advanced search for “Buck Lucas” and other variations thereon, limiting the search to the title “Billboard.” There were dozens of hits for him in the 1940s-1950s, one as late as 1959, which suggests he may have lived into the 1960s and beyond. Several of the hits are want ads that he placed and they name various communities in Ohio where he was situated (Banard, Ohio in 1958 was the last listed, but he’d also been in Etna, Columbus, etc.). It will be a matter of working through all of the hits to identify the community where he last resided. If his show activity continued into and past 1960 you’ll need to peruse issues of “Amusement Business,” which is not yet available online. You might also access issues of the CFA journal “White Tops” for 1960s coverage. Once you establish the basics of his life I think you’ll find that there’s a wealth of information in print about him. Cursory searching yielded information about a Wild West performer of the name, including a photograph, as well as a possible headstone [1960 death]. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4343. Advertising item, 10 Mar 2014 - We recently purchased a circus advertising item just because it was unique to us. It may be common as we are not versed in this subject. The item is an electrified display mounted on a stand. A poster separates and is replaced with another. There are three posters in all. One is the wonderful elephant holding a performer in his trunk on a blue background. I apologize for not including descriptions of the other two. We await delivery of the item. Do you have any information on such an item? Thank you for sharing your expertise. Candi Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Mar 2014 - Your advertising piece is a modern (contemporary) creation utilizing reproductions of circus posters of the past. The one poster of which I saw an image is post-WWII era. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4342. Lody Smith, 10 Mar 2014 - I'm look for pics of my grandfather his name is Lody Smith. He would have been in his teens between 1920 1930. He started in California went all over the USA they also came to Apalachicola FL where my grandfather from. I know he lived with the little lady. She would come to his house when the Ringling brother came to town. My mother said she could remember her coming and them all geting to go see the show for free. This would have been in 1943 to 1955. If you can help me in any way God bless. Melissa Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4341. Royal American Circus, 04 Mar 2014 - Would like to find out the history of a proprietor of the traveling Royal American Circus & Carnival Co which was around the turn of the 20th century. Looking for info on King Edward Ziemer and Dora Hoechst Schwoch. Apparently King Edward was a knife thrower and Dora was his assistant. Please contact me through my email at Trostbubble8194@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Mar 2014 - See message 1707 on this board. The person that posted it is a descendant of Ziemer (her great uncle) and specified an 1871-1911 lifespan that I haven’t seen listed elsewhere. It may have originated with a cemetery headstone entry. Perhaps she can further support your needs with discoveries she’s made in the years since 2007? There are numerous entries for Ziemer’s business activity, but your other postings suggest you’re focused on genealogical information. The “Billboard” entries for wintering sites place him in St. Louis, MO, where you might focus further searching; it’s the residence suggested by the great niece’s posting, too. One street address given was 8025 Van Buren Street (a since re-developed area near the Mississippi River), in the southeast portion of the city known as Carondolet. That was when a Master King E. Ziemer, Jr. was mentioned. That suggests a marriage band offspring by that time. He also vacationed in Shawano, WI at one time. I searched for a 1911 obituary for Ziemer but did not have success. Most trade paper entries relate to show activities and employment, not biography. You may be able to procure a 1911 death certificate; from that go to funeral home records and local newspaper obituaries for relations. A quick census check revealed no 1900 entry, but further searching may yield a find. There might be an obituary in “Billboard” or “New York Clipper” that isn’t coming up via the search engines. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4340. Hunt Bros dancer, 01 Mar 2014 - Does anyone know of a dancer with one leg working at the Hunt Bros. circus mid 1940. Name Hal Urback? Romona Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Mar 2014 - Do a Google Books advanced search, limit it to the title “Billboard,” and you’ll get several hits for Hal, Harold and Harold E. Urback. Use various combinations and variations on his name in your searches. His real name was Hal [Harold?] Christy, which should also be used. There’s an obituary for him, under “Christy, Hal,” in the September 23, 1950 issue, page 53, specific date not given. He had been on Hunt Bros. for two seasons (one was 1945), passed away in Trenton, NJ (his apparent residence), and his wife’s name was Betty. The bulk of his career must have been on stage. For further information you’ll need to examine photos, route books, programs, newspaper accounts, etc. Coverage of Hunt in the CFA journal “White Tops” may offer some insights. It will be difficult to find anyone with personal knowledge of him on Hunt, given that was 70 years ago, putting most show attaches into their 90s. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

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4339. Priscilla, performer, 01 Mar 2014 - I am hoping to locate a poster of a lady who worked as a snake charmer, was on the high wire and I think did various other jobs for Wallace Brothers Circus around 1959. She went by the name of 'Priscilla' but her real name I think was Jane Chapman. She ended up marrying Norm Arnold from Canada who also worked for the circus. I look after her with a volunteer organization and she has told me so many tales of her days with the circus. She would love to have a poster of herself as a keepsake of those days. Thanks to anyone who can help. Sharon Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4338. Peggy Mills, 26 Feb 2014 - In 1972 and 1973 there was a girl on the high wire and trapeze of the King Brothers 3 ring circus. Her name was Peggy Mills or Peggy Miller. She was a friend of mine I am trying to locate to say hello. Any info? Jpquintani Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4337. Elephant Wando, 25 Feb 2014 - According to an essay about LaMont Bros Circus, an elephant named Wando was with the LaMont Brothers from 1913-1917 and an elephant named Mabel was leased from William P. Hall in 1919. I’m unable to find information about any elephant named Wando and wondering if the elephant is actually WANDA. Also, could the 1919 also be a typo, should be 1929?, as according to Buckles Web and Cline records Hall did not purchase Mabel (imported from Louis Ruhe) until 1926. Does anyone have information about these particular elephants? “Wando” (“Wanda”??)was under the care of Omer Eddings, the African American who worked with LaMont. Thank you all, Laurie Champion (Harrington, of Harrington's Nickle Plate great-granddaughter) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Feb 2014 - Laurie: Sometimes circuses call an elephant by another name for various reasons - for instance they may think it sounds good in the publicity for the show, or maybe after the owner's wife. The only elephant besides Mabel that I know of with the LaMont show was Freida (also spelled Frieda and Freda) whom they may have bought from Mr Hall sometime before their 1921 season. They kept her on the LaMont show until selling her to Barnett Bros before the 1933 season except for a lease in 1925 to Frank J Taylor. Mabel was a Hall elephant and only briefly with the LaMont show - part of 1919 - she was then sold to Al G Barnes who changed her name to Jenny. Elephant records are often rather sketchy particularly for smaller shows, so there may very well be errors in the above. Regards, Dave

    Reply: 26 Feb 2014 - Good Morning Laurie, I have the Lamont Bros. elephant recorded as WAUDO. She is referenced in the Billboards as Waudo. Unfortunately, that is all I have recorded about her is her time on the LaMont Bros. Circus. While you are correct about the Mabel that you refer to, Wm. Hall had three different Mabels go through his farm. This mabel was originally called Jennie back on the Pan-American Circus in 1908 and 1909. Jennie had been sold to J. Augustus Jones in 1916, then bought back from his widow in 1918. While Jones had her, he instituted a name change to Mabel. Mabel was leased by Hall to the Lamont show in 1919. She was then sold to the Al G. Barnes Circus. She remained there until 1938 when she was absorbed into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey herd after RBBB had bought the American Circus Corporation shows. Her name was then changed back to Jennie as RBBB already had a Mabel there. I know she was still on RBBB until 1951 but I have nothing for her after that. I hope this helps you, Bob Cline

    Reply: 28 Feb 2014 - Thank you Bob and Dave very much. Very helpful. Whew, you guys must have elephant memories. I can’t even keep track of five elephants I’m trying to trace. Good work and thanks again!! Laurie

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4336. Circus performers, 1860, 21 Feb 2014 - Hello my name is Diane French. I am researching my ancestors and I think some of my ancestors worked the circus. I found photos of them taken by Charles Eisenmann. The mother was born in the Fiji Islands was said to have been married to an English ship captain after he died his family put her and her children out of the house and they performed for a living. The youngest child was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, named Lilly. I don't know their names I just saw their photo with other circus acts from 1860. Thank you for any info. Diane E French Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Feb 2014 - The key to finding documentation about people is to know their names. Tracking them by visual presence and other means is very uncertain and will yield limited results. So, I would recommend that you start your work with focused efforts that will lead to ascertaining the names of your ancestors. If you lack the knowledge of how to proceed, contact a professional genealogist, a help group or others that can start with your information on hand and go from there. Natives of Fiji may have been traced to other nations; how were their identities established? Typically there is immigration data that can be found, along with other documentation, tracing them to US soil. They could be in 1870 and 1880 U. S. census reports.
        Most “internal” circus material will be in the realm of employment data; aggrandized stories often accompanied the presence of sideshow and “dime museum” employees. The phenomenon is in Robert Bogdan’s book “Freak Show.” The biographical material you related may be true - or it may have been a “legend” created for public circulation.
        A bit of early Barnum documentation is on the CHS website, like the 1870s Barnum show route books, which include limited staff entries. Sometimes the sideshow staff was provided under a privilege contract, meaning that they were not direct circus employees. As a result, their names weren’t published in circus employment listings. Often they would have been in the side show. A few made appearances in the pavilion, where the ring performances were staged. In the 1880s-1890s Barnum & Bailey had an ethnological congress, of the type seen previously at world’s fairs. These were all opportunities for the presentation of native-born Fiji peoples. You may also ascertain their presence on non-Barnum shows and some of these may have been faux Fiji people.
        Period newspapers are available in abundance online. The “New York Clipper,” the trade paper focused on the circus business, is also available online. Search other CHS message responses to learn about possible sources to access. From them you may be able to compile a list of names for those that came to the US from Fiji. Unfortunately, some of those names may be accurate, some may be stage names; only further research will reveal the truth.
        A quick Google search revealed multiple images of Fiji-identified people in show business, with Barnum’s American Museum in New York City [closed after the final 1868 fire]. Perhaps by seeking out more images with names given you can establish their name identities? The Eisenmann photos that you discovered may well have been from non-circus engagements, such as with Barnum’s museum. You may want to peruse the books by Harris, Saxon and others concerning Barnum in that regard. The Becker collection at Syracuse university (online, I believe) may be helpful, as well as the book “Monsters of the Gilded Age.” There are also a number of books about ethnography and sideshow personalities at the circus that can be accessed.
        At some time in the future the CHS journal “Bandwagon” will be publishing a scholarly paper about Fiji people and their presentation by American showmen. I recommend that you monitor the website and ascertain when it reaches print. You can then acquire a copy for reading. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 02 Mar 2014 - Thank you Fred Dahlinger Jr for your reply. I have searched many places and the search is ongoing. I understand every thing you said, that is the only name I have all older relatives are now dead. I have the original photo of one circulating on the internet, my ancestor was indeed from Fiji but I'm not sure of the circus, although her photo is found with circus acts. I have worked on my genealogy for 18 years and I have help of professionals. So once again thank you for your reply. love peace & be happy, Diane E French

    Reply: 05 Mar 2014 - If you can post a link to the specific online image portraying your ancestor? The best image would be one in which the framing has not been cropped. Perhaps the details of it, who made it, when, etc., will enable someone to do some further investigation. Are there any inscribed entries on the reverse of your copy? What are the other circus acts in which her portrait is also found? Where can these specific images be found and viewed? Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 05 Mar 2014 - I would like to thank you Mr Dahlingher for your reply. I replyed earlier but I had submitted photos. Their identity was established by me! I have an original of them. I have searched my ancestry for 18 years. I find new sites every day. Again Thank You! love peace & be happy, Diane E French

    Reply: 27 Jun 2014 - Hello again. I sent an email to the owner/seller of the online photo in question. They are in a book of photos and the owner informed me today the writing on the reverse of the photo says Madame Dumont and Lillie Dumont. I had knew was Lillie, now I have more to go on. Thank you for your reply. Sincerely, Diane E French

    Reply: 23 Sep 2014 - The original photo I had in question is no longer available online. Here is the second photo, http://www.sideshowworld.com/81-SSPAlbumcover/Wild-Hair/CB-4.JPG This photo was taken in Chicago where Lilly had moved by 1899. The original said Lillie and Madame as I said previously the last name being Dumont from the owner of the photo and Durant the name she used on her son’s death certificate. I’m sorry you aksed for the url of my ancestors picture. It is no longer available but I will give you the address: Group of 14 circus freakshow and dime museum cabinet cards and 3 cartes-de- visite by Charles Eisenmann [With:] 25 similarly-themed cards by other photographers, including Eisenmann's partner Frank Wendt [And:] 1 large (4- 3/4 x 8-1/4 in. ) group photograph of circus performers, Eisenmann, Charles. Thank you for anything you can find. Diane E French

    Reply: 24 Sep 2014 - “Lillie Dumont, Fiji princess,” was booked at the Wonderland Musee, Springfield, IL, a dime museum, according to the New York Clipper, April 7, 1884, page 70. You can read the entry at: http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=d&d=NYC18940407.2.50&srpos=1&e=-------en-20-NYC-1--txt-txIN-%22lillie+dumont%22------# It’s the earliest specific engagement, by name, found by a variety of searches in different resources. There were no other hits for the specific searches “Lillie Dumont,” “Madame Dumont,” or Dumont+Fiji. There were 22 more hits spanning 1886-1892 for “Fiji princess,” some of which included mention of a daughter or daughters, or children or two children. They were all for dime museum bookings. There were no entries for any circus side show engagements, but they were flexible contracts and all affiliations may not have reached the pages of the Clipper.
        The Clipper for February 9, 1884, page 803, places the Fiji Family at the Dime Museum in Columbus, Ohio. The Cincinnati, OH, Enquirer of March 30, 1884, noted the arrival of a Fiji princess, which OCR read as Kalnmalaka, at the Harris Museum, a local dime museum. The actual name spelling may be different than given in the transcription. These may be references to Mme. Dumont/Durant and her daughters. “Fiji family” also garnered nearly two dozen hits. In one she was billed as “Cannibal Princess and Fiji Family [Clipper, May 2, 1885, page 107], followed by Barnum’s Cannibal Princess [Clipper, April 18, 1885, page 72]. The Cannibal Princess title was revived in 1890, with one entry giving her name as Kamehaka [Clipper, June 20, 1891, page 249]. The hits, in aggregate, suggest that the mother and children appeared anonymously, aggrandized as a bona fide Fiji natives, rather than being advertised by her Americanized or married name.
        The photograph by Henshel, 3136 Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL, would have been made during a booking in that city. Mrs. C. Henshel (also possibly William Henshel) photographer, was at the Cottage Grove address in the period 1885 to 1891. Thus, the image would seemingly portray Mme. Dumont and her two daughters sometime 1885-1892. Dime museum personalities often contracted for many copies of their portraits, in cdv and card format, which they then sold as souvenirs during their engagements. It was a common method to supplement their booking income, some of which may have gone to an agent that secured the bookings. It is also viewable at: https://www.facebook.com/fijimuseum?sk=map&ref=stream&filter=1
        A search of the Chronicling America newspaper resource for “Fiji princess” yielded several hits for 1884-1892. One commonly printed 1889-1890 account said the father of one of the Fiji princess’s daughters was a white man living in New York. The Troy (NY) Daily Times of October 8, 1891, reported that Frank Durant, the agent for the show company then appearing at the local Eden Musee on River Street, and the husband of the Fiji princess, dropped dead during the afternoon presentation from heart disease. The issue is on the Fulton History website. His passing did not turn up in a Clipper search, but Lillie Durant and the Fiji Family were at the Dime Museum in Washington, D. C. in February 1888.
        The October 22, 1892 issue of the Clipper, page 527, noted the passing of Mme. Dumont, “one of the best known museum curios in this country,” on October 12, of cancer in New York City. She left a son and two daughters. Her remains were shipped to Pittsburgh, PA for internment in the family vault. Her age was given as 44. A further Clipper search for “Mme. Dumont” yielded no hits, which suggests the OCR system isn’t entirely comprehensive, since the name appears in the issue cited above. Her death was also noted in the New York Clipper Annual for 1893, which can be examined in Google books. http://books.google.com/books?id=Vmg9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=%22fiji+princess%22+museum&source=bl&ots=U030fp-iJW&sig=a4-bGOKkFRhSQPhTsKbbrHHGJ7w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=q4YhVJKqGNGKyASi34DoDA&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=%22fiji%20princess%22%20museum&f=false
        In summary, it appears that the Dumont/Durant family fulfilled dime museum bookings from as early as 1884 to as late as 1892, using a variety of names, Fijian and Americanized, and aggrandized titles. More searching through newspapers will yield additional insights.
        There were Fiji natives that traveled with the Barnum show in 1872. Their photograph is included in the Kunhardt book about Barnum, pages 225-227. There are other limited Fiji listings on the Barnum show in the early 1880s. The New York Sun ran a large, illustrated article about dime museums in the issue of March 15, 1891, page 24. Another is in the San Francisco Call of March 20, 1898, on the California Digital Newspaper Collection website. It mentions other Fiji people. These provide some insight on daily and life rituals for dime museum personalities. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL.

    Reply: 30 Sep 2014 - Mr Dahlinger, I could never thank you enough for the info dated 24 September 2014. The articles must be my ancestors. For Lillie passed in Chicago and her remains were interred at Pittsburgh Allegheny Cemetery. I am sure Mme had at least 2 daughters. Lillie was my dad’s grandmother and most of what you wrote were things he and my mom passed down. I also have been searching The Clipper to no avail. My oldest sister told me she recalls seeing Mme and her daughters on stage in a Newspaper..although I inherited all of Lillie’s photos I have yet to see the news. Thank you again for so much info to look into. Diane

    Reply: 08 Oct 2014 - Fred Dahlinger: I can’t thank you enough for your assistance of sending me the info about all of those articles! I not only added 1 person to my genealogy tree but 4! I have yet to read all of the articles but I feel rewarded with what I have so far. The Fiji Princess is in many articles being interviewed with pictures! I am so sorry my parents are not alive to see that the stories passed down have proof now. I couldn’t do it without your help. Again, Thank You! and God Bless! Diane

    Reply: 10 Nov 2014 - Mr Fred Dahling Jr. Thanks to you again for I now have a Biographical of my Great great grandmother as she narrates her life story. The booklet states she was not a Princess but was born of a Noble Family in Fiji, she ran away from Fiji with an English gentleman to London England, by the age of 13 she was living as a slave in Mexico. Someone heard her singing and she married him then travelled all over the world. The only name I was able to get from it was what the Englishman called her “Little Marietta“ so I am still seeking but you helped me tremendously. Diane

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4335. Jimmy Spriggs, clown, 20 Feb 2014 - My grandfather, Dr. L. C. Holland, was a dentist in Suffolk VA in the early to mid 1900s. His hobby/passion was the circus and clowns. His idle and friend was Felix Adler. His clown costume was designed around Felix’s. Felix gave my grandfather a pair of his clown shoes. Felix said that they were his first pair given to him by Jimmy Spriggs clown cop. I have the shoes.
    I am interested in any information/history about Jimmy Spriggs including photos so I can put it with the shoes to complete the history. He was clowning in the early 1900s. I haven’t been able to find out much about him except that he was from Toledo. I saw on the net that his name shows up in “Billboard” and “Bandwagon”, Vol 50 issue 6.
    If Ringling Brothers was any where in the east coast my grandfather would close his practice and take the train to Baltimore, NY etc. He would perform as a guest clown. I have his clown trunk and costume plus two albums full of early circus photos. Also, he had a walk by part in the “Greatest Show on Earth”. His clown name was Ta-Ta! Thanks for any information, Warren Holland Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4334. Jess Lefevre, 20 Feb 2014 - Hello, everyone. I would appreciate any information known about my great grandfather, Jess (Bryant) Lefevre. It is sometimes spelled Lafever or Lefever. We don't know much about what he did in the circus, but his wife, Bertha, was a seamstress for the circus. He was born in Ohio but lived in Brooklyn for awhile in the early 1900's. I have searched everywhere I can to find information but haven't found anything about his time in the circus. Thanks, Jodi Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Sep 2014 - Sorry, I don’t know anything about your GGrandfather. I saw your message on the circus history board and thought you might have some information about an H. C. Lefever. He was a trick bicycle rider. My information tells me that he was married to a Dollie Long on 17 Oct 1905. He lived in Ohio, Indiana, and may have been originally from Lincoln Nebraska. He's connected somehow to a guy that I'm researching named Ray Royce. Do you have any information about any of these people? Thanks, Lisa

    Reply: 27 Sep 2014 - Thank you, Lisa, for your reply. I don't know anything about H.C. Lefever, but I will keep an eye out for anything I find and post it if I do. My great grandfather, Jess Lefevre, also lived in Indiana and Ohio so possibly they were related. You never know because when researching my family, Lefevre is often spelled in various ways such as Lefever or Lafever (they way we spell it in my family today). Supposedly, my great grandfather and his wife, Bertha (the circus seamstress who made the tents) used to pretend my grandfather, Larue, was a midget in the circus when he was really just a little boy. My mother seems to believe they worked for someone named Mr. Mulcahy in the circus. Thanks, Jodi

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4333. Dixie Carnival Co., 13 Feb 2014 - I have had a delightful introduction to circus history as I research family. As a student in University of Washington’s Certificate in Family History and Genealogy program, I'm researching the life and times of Pearl and Josie Ostrander, my grandmother and great grandmother, who worked for at least one year with Dana Thompson's Dixie Carnival Company. I have questions about the Dixie Carnival Company that historic newspaper sites, The Idaho State Historical Archives, the Circus History Query page, and one file from the Emory University Special Collections – Brisendine Papers - have not yet answered.
    The Dixie Carnival Company traveled for at least 35 weeks in its 1903-1904 season. Its Show Manager was the young high diver and swimming champion, Dana Thompson, and its Privilege Manager was James “Jimmy” Simpson. Its headquarters may have been Montgomery, Alabama. I have documented its season starting on Dec. 14, 1903 in Dublin, Georgia. It performed in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama before shooting across Texas to El Paso. There were performances in Arizona, California, and Oregon. Dixie reached Salem, Oregon on Jun. 27, 1904 and turned east, performing in The Dalles, Pendleton, and La Grande, Oregon. Its final shows were in Boise and Pocatello, Idaho. It disbanded in Pocatello in August of 1904 (“The Carnival and Carnival Company Both Expire.” Pocatello Tribune, Aug. 14 1904, at the Idaho Historical Society Archives). I have collected news articles that so far document 29 of its 35 performance weeks. Its acts included:
Dixie Land, or the Old Plantation – This minstrel show was made up of about 10 African American actors, including the popular Joe Dokes, “the man who made the mule laugh.” High Divers: Dana Thompson, and then starting in Oregon, “Dare Devil Mangles”; The Berger Brothers - Edgar and James were “head and hand balancers in the air”; Samson – the 27 foot long boa constrictor; No Name – “the Malay Wonder”; Esau – “the snake eater”; The Statue Turning to Life – representing the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea; The Electric Palace – it showed a variety of motion pictures including “A Trip to the Moon” and “The Life of an American Fireman.” The Luna Company – it might have been headed up by Professor Roberts. He used electricity to recreate the 1902 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pelee, and he may have managed the “pose plastique” performers and female acrobats: “Madame Celeste,” Miss Pearl Spencer, and Miss Shirley Everett. Professor Roberts may be the Mr. James Roberts mentioned in the Pocatello Tribune obituary of Josie Roberts, who died on August 22 of heart failure who was a member of the Luna Company. Her daughter, a 13-year-old named Pearl Ostrander, with the same company, traveled with Mr. Roberts to Butte, Montana and "sang and danced" in theaters there until placed into foster care.
    I would appreciate help in finding answers to these questions: Did a “Professor Roberts” or “James Roberts” manage the Luna Company? Did a “Professor Roberts” or “James Roberts” manage or work in other carnivals in electrical displays and “pose plastique” performances? And, in general, what is known about: The career of Dana Thompson, James Simpson, or Joe Dokes? “Pose Plastique?” – this is still a novel art form for me. Memoirs of circus or carnival performers (1890-1900) – It would especially be useful to read memoirs of mothers or their daughters, or of any that detail family life and customs of marriage, divorce, or cohabitation in the heyday of the circus or carnival. Thank you so much for reading this and for any assistance that you can provide. Tom S. Brown - tom5brown8@earthlink.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: Apr 13 2014 - "J. C. Simpson's Greater Shows" is in the "Carnival Title List" for 1911 in Joe McKennon's: A Pictorial History of the American Carnival, 1972. This may be the James-Jimmy Simpson of the Dixie Carnival Company. Tom Brown

    Reply: 17 Mar 2015 - Obituaries of James C Simpson -
    "The Final Curtain, James C. Simpson," The Billboard, October 16, 1943, 31.
        James Chelton (Jimmie) Simpson, 72, died at his home in Powderly, Birmingham, Ala., October 6 after an illness of over two years. For more than four decades he had been a figure in outdoor showdom as a carnival executive. He was a native of Louisville. During his career his connections included: Cincinnati Carnival Company, with Jim Sturgis on Minstrel Show, talker and trainmaster. 1902; Smith Greater Shows, trainmaster, 1903-'04; general agent, 1905; K. G. Barkoot Shows, manager, 1907; Barkoot's Southern Shows, manager, 1910; Parker Shows, manager and presenting Essie Fay's Society Horse Show, Arabia, 1911. From then till 1921 he was manager of a Barkoot No. 2 unit and manager of the Hampton Shows, Rutherford Shows and World at Home Shows. Wortham Shows' staff, 1921; manager of Wortham rides, Fair Park, Dallas, 1922; Rubin & Cherry Shows, general agent, 1923; then manager of Zeidman & Pollie Shows and general agent of D. D. Murphy Shows; Morris & Castle Shows, concession manager, 1931-'32; Royal American Shows, general agent, 1933; New Johnny J. Jones Exposition, general agent, 1934-'38; Amusement Corporation of America, executive staff, 1939-'41. He was a member of the Showmen's League of America and other show and fraternal organizations. Survived by his widow, Marie; sister-in-law, Mrs. Tom Simpson; nephews, Bertrand and Percy Simpson, and niece, Mrs. George Donahue, all of Louisville. Services October 8 at 11 a.m. in Luquire Mortuary, Birmingham, and October 11 in Donnelly Funeral Parlors, St. Louis, with interment in the family plot in Calvary Cemetery there.
    "Simpson Rites Largely Attended In Birmingham and St. Louis," The Billboard, October 23, 1943, 51, 56.
        St. Louis. Oct. 16. - Remains of James C. (Jimmie) Simpson were interred in Calvary Cemetery here October 11 after impressive funeral services from Donnelly Funeral Parlors at 10 a.m., Father James P. Johnston, St. Patrick's Church, officiating. many show folk were in attendance, and floral pieces and expressions of sympathy came from all parts of teh country after his death at his home in Birmingham October 6. Services were held in Birmingham October 8 at 11 a.m. from Luquire Chapel, Father john M. Hogran officiating.
        The body was brought to St. Louis, and accompanying the widow, Marie, on the journey were Mrs. Bertha (Gyp) McDaniels and Mrs. Sam Perry. The party arrived here October 9 at 3:45 p.m. and the body lay in state at the Donnelly home Saturday night and Sunday, when many show people paid their last respects. St. Louis is the former home of Mrs. Simpson, and the funeral party was met at the train by her relatives here, Mr. and Mrs. William Bachman, Henry and Boots Drupp and Mrs. Averill Mechan, sisters and brothers-in-law. Also attending Mrs. Simpson were Mrs. John O'Shea, Chicago, and Mrs. Daisy Davis, of the Marks Shows, both of whom rushed here to be with their friend. Corp. Clarence Hunter, who has been associated with the Simpsons in concessions for a number of years and who is now in the armed forces, obtained a furlough and came here for the funeral. Bernie Smuckler came from Mobile, Ala., and Cliff Liles and Harry Beach from Alexandria, La.
        Active pallbearers were Ray Marsh Brydon, Bernie Smuckler, Cliff Liles, L. M. (Pete) Brophy, William Dolezal and Benjamin Doerr. Honorary pallbearers, all of whom were present at the services, were Cash Wiltse, Claude Saunders, John Brophy, Harry Beach, Francis L. Dean, Dee Lang, William McCoy, Sam Gluskin, Tom W. Allen, John Lorinzini, Corp. Clarence Hunter, and Frank B. Joerling. Among those who attended services in Birmingham were J. C. McCaffery, Carl J. Sedlmayr, Mrs. Betty Jane Hartwick, Mrs. Rachel Lilly, Mrs. C. W. Bradley, Mrs. Paul Pierce, Mrs. H. A. Atchison, Mrs. Flonnie Barfield, Mrs. A. W. Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Wallace, Mrs. Ann Avery, Izzy Cervone, Mrs. Clara Bohne, Mrs. R. L. Whittington, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Solomon, Mrs. Alfred Duprey, Mr. and Mrs. L. R. Abdul, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Russell, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny McMath, Odell Putman, Allie Moore, Mrs. Grace Patterson, Mr. and Mrs. Irving J. Polack, Nat D. Rodgers, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Sparks, Louis Brittain, J. P. Graham Jr., William L. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Gray, Louis Leonard, Mrs. Roy Bullion, Mrs. E. C. Beckham, Mrs. C. Smythers, Mr. and Mrs. Bethel Powell, A. J. Bath, Joseph Gelb, Joe Redding, J. C. Donahue, Mr. and Mrs. Max H. Kimmerer, Max Goodman, Murray Goldberg, Mrs. and Mrs. D. Friedenhelm, Walter F. Kemp, Lolita Kemp, Mr. and Mrs. Sam F. Perry, Mrs. Bertha McDaniels, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Blakely and Lula Gerson.

    Reply: 09 Jun 2014 - Dana Thompson resurfaces after the early end of the 1904 season in Pocatello, Idaho. Dixie is again on the road by January 1905 in Jefferson, TX: “Coming! Merchants Free Street Fair and Carnival,” The Jimplecute, January 14, 1905, p. 1. Also, Dana Thompson died young as a result of foul play: “Drugs Knock Out Circus Veteran, Dana Thompson, With Fortune on Person, Victim of Barbary Coast,” Oakland Tribune, May 8, 1915, p. 1. Tom Brown

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4332. Renz-Nock, 13 Feb 2014 - grüss gott,ich habe im moment ihre intressante hompage gefunden...haben sie auch berichte oder bilder vom circus Renz-Nock das war meine eltern johann und katharina nock ihr unternehmen meine eltern und geschwister sind leider schon gestorben, ich suche jetzt nach errinnerungen soltten sie was ausfindig machen können oder vieleicht mit ehemaligen artisten die bei uns angagiert waren erfahren ,wäre ich ihnen von ganzen herzen dankbar...wir sind bis 1960 in der ehemaligen ddr gereist unter den namen Renz wir hatten die lizenz von der Therese Renz der schulreiterin aus berlin ,von meiner mutter ein verwandte...nach der flucht aus der ddr.fingen wir hier im westen erneut mit circus an ...bitte melden sie sich doch mal bei mir, meine mail adr.haben sie ja jetzt .mit freundlichen grüssen verbleibe ich bis dahin yvonne nock
    [Attempted translation: grüss god, I have at the moment found their intressante hompage ... they also have reports or pictures from the circus Renz-Nock that was my parents johann and katharina nock her take my parents and siblings are unfortunately already died, I am now looking errinnerungen soltten they can make pinpointing whatever or maybe with former artistes who were angagiert with us experienced, I would be grateful to them all by heart ... we are up to 1960 traveled to the former ddr under the name Renz we had the license of the Renz Therese the school reiterin from berlin, from my mother a related ... after the escape from the ddr.fingen we here in the west again with circus on ... please login times but for me, my mail they adr.haben yes now. Yours greet, I remain until then yvonne nock] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Feb 2014 - Suchen Sie mit dem wort “Renz”, “Nock” oder “Therese Renz” on www.circusmuseum.nl. Search on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng: There are a lot of images on Nock circus. Herman Voogd

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4331. Tekla Johanna Nygaard, 11 Feb 2014 - My name is Kay Doty Shipley. Our Circus story in our family is that our Grandma Tekla Johanna Nygaard, was born in Denmark and left for this country around 1888. She arrived in New York City, she had a sister working in a hotel there. Sometime after she arrived its said that she joined the Ringling Circus as a bareback rider. We do not know where she supposedly did this but that she ended up in St. Paul Minnesota, where she supposedly married and had a daughter Emma. She arrived in Pottawattamie County Iowa about 1890 and married Ben Doty. She had a little store in Weston, Iowa and everytime any circus came to town she would get posters and put them up in the windows of her store and she received free tickets so her grandchildren could go to see the circus. I am wondering if you might could find any information about this. It’s a fun story and Grandma was a little woman that never took anything from anybody, kind of a spitfire sort of person. I don’t know where to look to see if I can find any thing about this. If you could help with advice on where to look I would greatly appreciate this. Thank you, Kay Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Feb 2014 - Dan Draper’s extensive notes about riders, which are online at http://www.ringlingcircus.org/equestrian/index.htm, contain no suitable entries for the family name “Nygaard” or the first name “Kay.” It is always possible that she was a short time member of a troupe and not documented; with a small circus that issued no roster; her name was concealed by the troupe name; or she used an alias, or stage name. The broadest name finding aid that you might enlist in your search is the “yellow tickets” in the Circus World Museum library. Contact librarian Pete Shrake there for assistance.
        The 1890 federal census is mostly gone, but you might check for state censuses for Minnesota and Iowa to check for her presence. Also look for local city directories and newspapers where she may have been mentioned. I would also recommend finding her exact date of arrival, as that’s when the entire sequence of events in her life in America commenced; it’s the starting point. Ellis Island records are available online, and genealogists and librarians can help steer you to other immigration and naturalization documentation. These documents may also provide you with the exact name format she used after arrival---it may have changed thereafter. You can start by searching for her on ancestry.com, which has a lot of material. By tightening up on the dates when she can be confirmed elsewhere, as a resident, it will limit the years in which she may have been with a traveling circus.
        The Ringling circus was still an overland show in 1888, played the Midwest that year and 1889. It didn’t go onto rails until 1890, when it made a foray east for the first time to Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The routes in 1891 and 1892 again place it back in Midwestern territory for the most part. It didn’t cross into New York state until later. I offer this because this may be another instance when a familiar circus name, Ringling, was recalled when lesser names were forgotten. The Ringling route book for 1890, including a performer roster, is available on this website starting on the Home page—Virtual library—Circuses—Ringling—1890. She’s not listed therein.
        Rosters for 1888 and 1889 may be available in the “New York Clipper,” which is available online for those years. See other messages here for links. Beyond ephemera issued by circuses and reports in newspapers, the Clipper provides the best continuum about show history in the period of interest to you. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4330. Madame Yucca, 10 Feb 2014 - Does anybody have information on the strong woman Madame Yucca (her married name was Mary Kumpf)? I'd like to find out about her career - her resume, so to speak - on the years she was with different shows. For instance, Yucca performed for Barnum and Bailey (date unknown), the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Brothers' Circus combo (date unknown), and Billboard entries mention her working for Welsh Brothers in 1901 and again in 1911. The Library of Congress collection has the popular poster of Yucca that shows her lifting an elephant, a horse, three men and different weights on dumbells for Forepaugh-Sells Bros. but I can't even find a date for the poster (this particular poster is prevalent throughout the internet). Thank you, Michele Collins Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Feb 2014 - Madam/Madame Yucca may have made “guest” appearances with some shows, not traveling with them an entire season. That allowed her to engage in competitions, demonstrations, variety stage engagements and other activities away from the circus route. In a tertiary document I saw reference to a handbill promoting her as early as 1892. That is the same year she was with Barnum & Bailey, promoted by special lithographs. You can see an example of it at: http://emuseum.ringling.org/emuseum/view/objects/asitem/search$0040/0?t:state:flow=78d66f5a-09cf-4326-b109-8578da92ef8f
        This may have been her first major circus contract; the Barnum show was at the pinnacle of the circus world and would have sought out acts for their debut on the road.
        There is commentary newspaper coverage that connects Madame Yucca with the 1898 Forepaugh-Sells tour. The copyright date on the Forepaugh-Sells poster is 1898, readable per the TIF file online from the Library of Congress. Forepaugh-Sells was then a partnership between James A. Bailey, who owned the Barnum show, and two of the Sells brothers, and others.
        Reference place her with: the Wm. H. Gillmeyer’s Show in 1900; Welsh Bros. and Walter L. Main in 1901; Welsh in 1904; Sautelle-Welsh in 1905; and Welsh in 1909 [New York Clipper abstracts at: http://www.circushistory.org/Clipper/Clipper1900s.htm
        In 1913 she was with the Wyoming Bill Wild West, which was likely a Welsh operation. [online newspaper reference]. An online newspaper ad places her on Welsh in mid-August 1915, augmenting your dates from Billboard of 1901 and 1911. There is an actual photograph of Madame Yucca doing a heavy animal lift, a horse, on Welsh Bros. in the CWM collections. I believe that it is the original of a titled print that is on this website: http://www.fscclub.com/history/iron-e.shtml There may also be a photo of her lifting a small elephant.
        CWM has a photo of her on Ringling, or at least thought to be Ringling, in the ladies dressing top, perhaps c1902. It has been published as Katie Sandwina, but Jan Todd, University of Texas-Austin, the authority in such matters, thinks it is indeed Madame Yucca. You can see it on page 43 of Jerry Apps, “Ringlingville,” and also elsewhere.
        Buckles Woodcock’s blog published (June 1, 2012) a photo identified as the Walter L. Main circus sideshow in 1890. http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-06-09T05:54:00-04:00&max-results=100&reverse-paginate=true The identification is a bit suspect since the banner beside it is for the “Streets of India,” which suggests a street fair or carnival operation. A lady on the bally platform was identified as Yugao (sp?), but she may have been the actual Yucca, or an imitator.
        Yucca’s obituary was published in the New York Clipper, November 21, 1917, page 35 (viewable online). Oakland, CA was her birth place. She passed 53 years later at her Philadelphia home on November 11, 1917. She was interred at Norwood Cemetery, Philadelphia. On December 12, 1904 she was married to John T. Welsh, which explains her frequent appearances with that show. It also places her with Barnum & Bailey, but no date is given. There is brief mention of her pre-circus activities and her title-winning actions. There’s a slight mention of the couple’s non-circus life in Billboard, October 26, 1907, pages 22-23 [Google Books].
        Much, much more can be learned about her life and career by searching all of the usual biographical and genealogical resources, digitized newspapers and show trade journals, circus advertising and ephemera (programs, route books) and more. Be certain to search under variations in Madam/Madame. A fundamental question will be: what was her real given name? It may be revealed in her marriage certificate. I have not heard that her personal papers survive nor have I seen any published biography, but there may be one in journals devoted to physical culture. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 23 Feb 2014 - Thank you for providing the information and leads in your reply on Madame Yucca. I’m writing a book on the Sells Brothers’ Circus, and I wanted to feature Madame Yucca in a collection of sidebars I’m writing on Sells Brothers’ performers. I’ve found the links that you shared invaluable (the strongwoman shown in Buckles Wookcock’s blog entry does resemble the strongwoman shown in Apps’s Ringlingville sidebar.
        If the Barnum & Bailey poster (object# ht2000123, Tibbals Collection), with illustrations of “Madam” Yucca lifting a horse and performing other feats of strength, originated in 1892, that would’ve been the year following her marriage to William Kempf (1891). In 1893, the New York Times mentioned Madame’s search for her husband, a vaudeville minstrel, after he’d deserted her. Apparently, she didn’t finalize her divorce until August 1904, though, four months before she married John T. Welsh.
        As you mentioned, finding Madame’s real name is my next gargantuan task. A lengthy search on Ancestory.com for a marriage license, based on her husband’s name, has been unsuccessful, but I’m undaunted and haven’t exhausted the website’s records. Besides, I can still follow the other sources you suggested. Thanks, again. Michele Collins, Image Researcher, Ohio Historical Society

    Reply: 02 Sep 2016 - Madame Yucca’s death certificate is available on ancestry. It appears that she was born Mary Anna Carson (or Carsen?). Ellen

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4329. Danilo Stevanovich family, 09 Feb 2014 - I hope you can help me find the family of the Gran Circo Norte Americano Circus, the circus caught fire back in 1961 15th December, it was all over the news papers. The owner's name was Danilo Stevanovich, in Brazil Rio de janiro. I want to know what happened to him and the rest of the family, I am searching for them as they could be related to my mums family her maiden name is Mikhaelovich from her mothers side from her father side the name is Marinkovich. Please I ask for help or if you know someone who knows the Stevanovich family we would be appreciated. Thank you very much, Elaine Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4328. Mabel Stark, photo album, 02 Feb 2014 - I just purchased an original photo of Mabel Stark (gorgeous photo of her in costume outside a tent - with a training whip and surprisingly, a revolver at her waist) that is part of an album grouping. Other photos on the same page include an older moustached man with a cigar in his mouth happily holding 2 tiger cubs outside a circus tent. I cannot identify him and was wondering where I could submit the photos for identification? I am hoping that one of the wonderful members here might help. Thank you so much! Laura Mercer, Bloomington, Indiana Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: May 21 2014 - For Laura Mercer: I trust to be of help identifying those in the Mabel Stark photos of which you inquired. From Mabel's 4 personal albums here with me, which she composed from the beginning of her career, comparisons may be found which might lead to names. As a word of caution, never send out the originals you've collected. Scan these to me, or reproduce them on copy paper for postal mail. Let's return to our CHS Message Board with what we discover. Contact me at Roger Smith, PO Box 6226, Lancaster CA 93539-6226, or scan over e-mail to steelarena314@hotmail.com. Good luck to us.

    Reply: 03 Sep 2016 - I would try googling pics of Franz Woska who was a tiger trainer and I think I recall that photo that you mention. It is worth a try, anyway. Bob Good

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4327. Jane King, 31 Jan 2014 - I am researching my grandmother who I understand was called Jane King and was born in approximately 1881 in Hertfordshire. I understand she used to dance with the bears in the circus. I would like to add more relatives to my family history. Any info would be very helpful. She was married to my grandfather Thomas Whiteley approx. 1903. I think in the North West of England. She used to talk about a man called Arthur Smith. Thank you, Susan Parkes Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4326. Sells Bros. posters, 29 Jan 2014 - I just purchased a historic grist mill in New Market, Virginia (built in 1847) and there are remnants of old Sells Brothers Circus posters on 2 of the walls, and I was wondering if you could help identifying them and estimating a timeframe on them? I would like to preserve them, either on the wall or having them removed and restored. I have been researching online, but I have not found these particular posters anywhere. I have found record of the Sells Bros Circus being in this area of Virginia from Sept. 27, 1878 to Sept. 30, 1878.
    On one wall you can make out Sells Brothers promoting the "Flying Gymnasts" and another one promoting "La Venes(?) aerial ladder show." The other wall is a little harder to make out what it is, but it has 2 girls with long sticks (or spears) at the top, and also has the words "black ostrich" and a visible black ostrich head and the words "Prof Felix." That is about as much as you can make out. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I enjoyed looking through your website, you have an amazing collection of information! Thanks, Zach Grandle Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 Jan 2014 - You'll want to contact the Cincinnati Art Museum which has a rather large collection of Sells Bros. Posters in their repository. Go to http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/ and then to their contact page. Kristin Spangenberg is the Director of these special collections and a fellow CHS member. Bob Cline

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4325. Harmston Circus William Batty, 28 Jan 2014 - Harmston Circus William Batty. Hi I am looking for decendants of the Stoodley Circus, Pinder Circus and Richard Bell Circus who had a daughter Mary Bell (there appears to be too different Richard Bells). Also Ginnett circus and Henery Welby Cooke circus. I would very much like to make contact with anyone to share information? Kate Besley, email me on on.thego@xtra.co.nz Thank you Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Sep 2015 - Hello again, I have a new email address Besleykathryn@gmail.com. Thanks, still looking to make contact with any decendants from the above mentioned families. Kate

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4324. Ringling-Barnum 1937, 24 Jan 2014 - Does anyone out there have a complete roster of the Ringling-Barnum 1937 Sideshow? The one Joe Bradbury ran in his May/June 1975 White Tops article (I assume from Billboard) does not list all of the personnel. Thanks, Whitey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Jan 2014 - The 1937 article written by Joe Bradbury usually contained the line up from the MSG stand. Due to booking conflicts, etc., this sometimes varied from the road show line up. Following is the list of side show folks from the 1937 routebook:
        Clyde Ingalls- mgr; John Doc Oyler- Ass't mgr; Austin King- inside mgr; Ticket Sellers- Bobbie Hasson, Bennie Levine, Buck Saunders, J. Candy Shelton; Ticket Takers- Paul Sallie, Charlie Langdon; Ticket Auditor- Tommie Marchant
        Attractions: Mossad Habib- Egyptian Fakir; Sam Pappalardo - Pop Eye (the sailor); Jack Earle - Sky High; Eko & Iko - Ministers from Dahomey; Miss Jean - Iron Tongue; Eagan Twist - Rubber Man; Ma'am Rhonda - Crystal Gazer/Seer; Mr. & Mrs. Al Tomaini - Giant & Half Woman; Bennie Benard - Punch & Judy; Miss Suzanne - Snakes; Paul McWilliams- Big Mouth Mac; Betty Broadbent - Tattooed Lady; Baby Lee - Fat Girl; Chang - Demon Ape (B.F. Strom-keeper)
        Midgets - Baron Paoucci, Thasia Gardner, Tiny Doll, Harry Doll, Jennie Reynolds, Major Mite, Daisy Doll, Grace Doll. South Sea Islanders - Thomas Makaena - Steel Guitar, Al K. Jones - Second Guitar, Billy Shaw - String Bass. Dancers - Maile Rice, Phillis Taylor, Helen Schaumloffel, Mili Aloha, Mary Levine, Rosita Figueroa, Anita Velez, Juanita Delgado, Jean Kauinna. Arthur Wright's Minstrels - Tommy Stevens - Solo Clarinet, Johnny Brown - First Clarinet, H.K. Franklin - Solo Trumpet, Clarence Williams - Solo Trumpet, Chas. A. Holloway - First Trumpet, Rufus S. Wiggs - First Melophone, William E. Fields - Second Melophone, Edward Carr - First Trombone, Homer C. Griffin - Second Trombone, William Thomas - Baritone, H.R. Hall - Bass, J.W. Wright - Snare & Traps, Ed Warren - Bass & Traps, Arthur A. Wright - Trumpet & Leader. Entertainers - Leo C. Boatner - Comedian, Dusty Cunningham - Comedian, Leroy Morton- Singer, Ed Green - Singer, J.C. Woodards- Accordionist & Arranger
        So, this is the complete list of the folks that went on the road tour. Hope this helps - Steve

    Reply: 28 Jan 2014 - Thanks, Steve.

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4323. Carl Hess, 24 Jan 2014 - I am doing some family history research on my father’s side. I am looking for some information on Carl Hess, he was with the Busch Circus in Germany and was a Kunsreiter. He was probably born around 1874 so probably was with the circus around 1894 or later. He had some siblings that may have been with the circus to don’t know their names are Katharina Hess and Xaver Hess. Thank you, Sharon Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4322. Midget circus, newsreel, 22 Jan 2014 - Hi, my name is Madeline Moya. I work for the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, and we are trying to fill in the missing pieces of a story in a Universal Newsreel about a "midget circus" that got stuck in San Antonio during a flood. We don't have a date or, really, any other details. I was wondering if your organization had a listserv or newsletter that the film (our current Mystery Video for the month) could be sent to in search of answers or leads. Who better to help us out than the Circus Historical Society? If you think people would be interested or could help us out, we would really appreciate your circulating the video.
    The link is here: http://www.texasarchive.org/library/index.php?title=News:Mystery_Video:_January_2014
    Thank you so much, and I hope to hear from you. Best, Madeline Moya, Curator, The Texas Archive of the Moving Image Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Jan 2014 - The same query was handled previously under message 2134. The failure of Stanley Graham's World Famous International Midgets Circus, which folded in San Antonio in early June 1937, was covered in Fred D. Pfening Jr.'s illustrated article about the novel enterprise in "Bandwagon," No. 38, 3, pages 23-27 [May-June, 1994]. A copy of the article can be purchased as a back issue. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4321. Music, Italian circuses, 18 Jan 2014 - I am doing some research into what music was performed at Italian Circuses in he 19th century - might you be able to put me in touch with someone who could help? Many thanks for your time. Kindest regards, Thomas Blunt Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Feb 2014 - I suggest you to contact the Italian Circus Fans Association at info@circusfans.net. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4320. Felice Bernardi, 18 Jan 2014 - My Great-Grandfathers' cousin was Felice Pietro Paul Bernardi (1880-1934), owner the "Bernardi Exposition Shows" and the "Bernardi Greater Shows". He was born in Cardiff, Wales (UK) in 1880, and emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1892 aged 11. He married Mary T. Young - maiden name Trueman in Boston in 1908. She had circus connections, and it was through her that Felice became the proprietor of the carnival businesses. Mary died in Richmond, Virginia in 1922. Felice retired from the circus business in 1933 (according to Google Books, his carnival was destroyed in a fire in Heppner, Oregon in that year), and moved to Tampa, Florida. He died there in 1934, and was buried in the Showmen's Rest section of Woodlawn Cemetery in Illinois. Apparently, his widow was Dorothy Evelyn Bernardi.
    I am hoping to find any information, or photo's of Felice and his business. I am especially trying to find when he married Dorothy Evelyn, and what became of her after his death. I know that there was a train crash in Farmington, New Hampshire involving the Bernardi Greater Shows in the late 1920's, but it is my understanding that Felice had sold this business by then, even though the new owners carried on using the Bernardi name. Can anybody help with any information or photo's? Thanks, Darin (England) - mazzie@tiscali.co.uk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Jan 2014 - Joe McKennon’s book, “A Pictorial History of the American Carnival,” Vol. II, page 38, has a cameo biography of Felice Bernardi. Therein Joe labeled the first Mrs. Bernardi as the “Queen of Concessionaires” and gave her credit for much of his early success. She was born in Liverpool on March 20, 1880 and arrived in the US in 1896. They were married in 1906, according to her obituary, which may be in error. She passed away on October 17, 1922 at Richmond, VA and was interred at Oakwood Cemetery there on October 21. I found her obituary in the “Billboard” for October 28, 1922, page 114. Bernardi passed on April 9, 1932 (McKennon, likely a typo for 1934) at Tampa, Florida and buried on April 14, 1934. The piece was probably based upon notes that Joe made from the weekly American show trade journal, “Billboard.” Obituaries were his likely source of information, published within a week or two of the deaths of the individuals.
        The Bernardis were reportedly concessionaires up to 1917, when they took out their first traveling show, and bought their second in 1922. The 1919 shows was reported as being 25 cars, in 1920 on 20, a good-sized aggregation. The initial show was Bernardi Greater [Exposition inserted 1919-1920] Shows, the same title, minus Exposition, being transferred to the late “Honest” John Brunen’s Mighty Doris-Ferari outfit, which was bought in 1922 and sold off in 1923. Their own show was re-named Dominion Exposition Shows, for a brief period, until it was closed and Bernardi moved to manage the former Brunen property.
        The loss of his 1933 show by fire at Heppner, Oregon in the autumn of 1933 may have taken its toll on him and resulted in his passing (“Billboard,” September 23, 1933, page 40). Recovering from such a loss in the midst of the depression would have been very, very difficult.
        The best continuums of information about the Bernardis will be issues of “Billboard” and “New York Clipper.” See note 4131 about gaining access to many issues online. Unfortunately, the latter 1920s and 1930s are not yet scanned and posted. Given his relatively high profile in the carnival trade, Bernardi’s second marriage was likely announced in the relevant “Billboard” news column, but it will take some searching to find it. At this time, the issues and key word searching are not available for the relevant period. His obituary will also be there, in an April 1934 issue.
        I found several personal photos that you posted several images on wikitree. Pre-1923 Bernardi Greater Shows images are not common; I could not locate any before it was sold to others. No Dominion Exposition Shows photos were located.
        CWM has a 1917 Bernardi Greater Shows letterhead in the William P. Hall Papers, reproduced on page 100 of Bob Goldsack’s book “Those Wonderful, Colorful and Exciting Carnival Trains.” Additional Bernardi information may be found in that volume. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4319. Ava Cole, 15 Jan 2014 - My grandmother was in the Barnum and Bailey Ringling Bros circus approx 1942-1950. Her name was Ava Broncile Cole. Her nickname was Toni Brown. Her married last name was Anderson. I'm trying to find anyone who knew her or who has pictures. She use to ride the elephants and some trapeze acts. Jaime Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Jan 2014 - You can ascertain the exact years of your grandmother’s employment with RBBB by contacting Pete Shrake librarian at the Circus World Museum library. He can check the RBBB employment cards for 1938-1956 and advise you of the years she was with the show, and her position. A look can also be made into the yellow tickets for the same names you provided. They list entries in the route books, programs and more. A quick check reveals she’s in the 1945 and 1946 route books as Bronciel Cole; but is not in the 1947 volume. Once you know the specific years of her employment, you can then start a search for photographs. There are hundreds in various public and private collections, and some have been published, as in Joseph T. Bradbury’s seasonal reviews in the Circus Fans Association journal, White Tops. There’s an index to those articles on the CHS website. Riding elephants and doing aerial work likely means she was one of the show girls, a member of the aerial ballet. It would be good for you to have a known photo of your grandmother in hand when examining circus photographs. With wardrobe, make-up, sunlight and camera all altering an appearance, picking her out in a group may not be easy. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL.

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4318. Elephant bridle, 15 Jan 2014 - Not sure where to find this info, but I purchased at an upstate NY auction (about 10-12 years ago), a leather elephant head bridle. Not sure if I am calling it the right thing, so I'll describe it. It would go over the head of an elephant with 5 straps attached to it, The center part (that sits in the forehead of the animal) reads "Dolly" in brass rivets. The edges of the straps are all lined in larger brass/copper rivets (each the size of a quarter). There are also rivets around the outside of the center piece that make a sort of "heart shape", again, all done in a series of rivets.
    This thing is old and was repaired numerous times during its use. Leather was reattached with rivets, at various points. It all appears to be there except for what ever the understrapping was for some of the straps. You can tell its used a very, very long time due to the repairs and wear.
    Anyhow, thought I might be able to identify what circus it may have come from (assuming it was a circus elephant because why would it have a fancy parade type bridle otherwise)? Only info I can find on an elephant from before the 70s is one that was part of the Barnum circus which killed a boy in 1950 (Saraota, FL) and subequently put to death. Is itpossible it came from this animal or were there numerous Elephants named Dolly over the years in this country (no idea). I know there were a finite number of elephants in the country at that time (only 288 today) so thought there "might" be a list of names somewhere? I assume few records were kept. Anyhow, any info would be appreciated as Ive always been curious about it. Thanks, Marcus Blanchette Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Jan 2014 - Hello Marcus, There were several elephants named Dolly over the years. Could you send me a photo of this headpiece? I'll see if I can provide you with a more accurate answer. Thanks, Bob Cline 5Tigeract@gmail.com

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4317. Morris Hepston, Randolph Epsteyne , 13 Jan 2014 - Am currently researching the Epstein Family and wonder if anyone has information on Morris Hepston aka Paddy Hepston and his younger brother Randolph Epsteyne aka Ronald Styne after their break-up from "Clicko the Wild Dancing Bushman." Kind Regards, Walter Scott Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4316. Gene Plowden, 08 Jan 2014 - I am seeking contact information for the family or colleagues of Gene Plowden, author of Gargantua: Circus Star of the Century. I am looking for specific materials associated with Gargantua, and I am hoping that Mr. Plowden's files might still be accessible. Thank you, GPA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Jan 2014 - Maybe not exactly what you are looking for but on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng you will find a nice collection of circus gorillas including one poster of mr. and mrs. Gargantua: http://bit.ly/1fiGedA - Herman

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4315. Eddie Jabcynski, 07 Jan 2014 - I am looking for Eddie Jabcynski. If any one has any information of him, I would be so grateful. Thank you, Joanne Canaday Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4314. Leopold Troupe, 04 Jan 2014 - I am trying to find some information on the Leopold Troupe. My grandfather writes in his memoirs "that he was named Charles after his father's younger brother who was an acrobat, one of the famous Leopolds. He was killed in Buenes Ayres (circa1900), performing a high wire act". I would be grateful if anybody has any information about the person, incident and The Leopolds. With kind regards, Lynda Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4313. Winter quarters, 28 Dec 2013 - Does anyone know of a source I could read or have memory of what life was like in “winter quarters” 1900-1940? kind regards, Laurie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Jan 2014 - The query you posted has such a broad scope to it that there’s no simple means to respond to it. The circus business changed drastically between 1900 and 1940, reducing from over 100 traveling troupes to perhaps 30. These were shows that moved around in accordance with a planned route, usually of 30 weeks duration. The remainder of the time was spent in quarters, but some acts and animals fulfilled wintertime engagements, inside buildings. Railroad shows dominated the trade in 1900, but overland outfits moving by horse and wagon still abounded. The era of motorized shows commenced 1917-1926 and eventually they superseded the overland circuses.
        Winter quarters were located across the US, with different factors being used to select a particular location. The predominant weather pattern in the locale dictated the type of quarters structures, particularly for the animals. Some shows kept exotic animals in one location and shipped baggage stock off to another. Some circuses erected their own quarters, others leased a variety of sites. Some provided hotel or dormitory lodging for workers, others simply allowed employees to find their own accommodations. The size of community also had an impact on the lifestyle, as did the duration of time that a city served as a host. Not all people wintered in the quarters city; many sought winter employment elsewhere.
        You can check the article indexes on this website and also Google search for coverage online of circus winter activity. My recommendation, though, is that you set some basic, limiting parameters for your search as there’s no “generic” character to circus winter quarters life and existence. The various factors imbued each with a different environment. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 08 Jan 2014 - Thank you, Fred. Very helpful! Laurie

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4312. Leroy P. Sample, 26 Dec 2013 - My great grandfather, Leroy P. Sample, joined the circus between 1880-1890s. He was in Texas. How would I find information? Shellie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Dec 2013 - I just did a quick check on www.heritagequest.com for your great-grandfather, the one result being in 1880 for a Leroy W. Sample, a farmer in Lee County, TX. That is likely not him, but an initial step you need to take is to establish his Texas residency, where he was and when. That might be done with more extensive census searches (federal and state), and looking into genealogical and vital records (parents’ marriage, birth, baptism, death and internment, etc.) Knowing his residency, there’s a good chance that he joined a circus that passed through his area. You can establish the possibilities by scanning the local community newspapers, or those in the closest county seats or large city. Then it’s a matter of tracking each possibility. If the newspapers are digitized with key word searching, the task is easier. Also check with any local institutions having collections of local history, clipping files and such. If you know his date and location of death, a published obituary may also provide some insight, though they are notoriously inaccurate in many instances.
        In the 1880 census there was a illegible entry for what appears to be Laray Sample, the 2-year old son of Mordella and Sarah Sample (T9/1316/25, Lee County). A simple Google search provided a hit for a Leroy P. Sample, born about 1884, in the 1940 census. His wife may have been Pearlie and they resided in Poteet, Atascosa, TX. If he joined a circus in the 1880s, it’s not him; the latter 1890s is perhaps possible.
        Another means is to search family archives for any residual correspondence, diaries, memoirs or other data that might pin down the specifics. One shred might serve to initiate a search. Building a chronological dossier of information about him can prove very helpful. Do you know where he ended up after leaving the circus business? He may have established himself in a community known as a circus winterquarters site. Circus World Museum’s library has a name finding aid that could be checked. Contact librarian Pete Shrake for assistance.
        You can also search through issues of the “New York Clipper,” a weekly magazine with circus news, routes, etc. Via the information therein you may be able to identify circuses touring Texas, in the vicinity of where your great-grandfather resided. Check message 4131 on this website to find a link to Clipper material online.
        Unless you have additional information that may serve to initiate tracing him, it is a veritable needle in a haystack search. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4311. Frederick Hastings, 23 Dec 2013 - When my ancestor Frederick John Hastings died in Hermosa - Redondo hospital, Los Angeles in 1939 his occupation was circus proprietor. He had been a circus proprieter for about 20 years until 1935. Frederick John Hastings is recorded as an actor on the stage in the 1930 census for Hermosa Beach Los Angeles. Maude Kennedy also lived in the same house as Fred in 1930 and was an actor too. He died in a car accident on July 22 1939 in Hermosa Beach, when he was married to Maude Kennedy. Does anyone know anything about him or the circus he worked for?
    Some background: Frederick John Hastings was born on 4 Jan 1886 (sometimes mistakenly recorded as 1887) in Christchurch New Zealand. His family sailed to Portland Oregon in 1888. His first marriage was in 1910 to Shirley Mable Disler. He divorced and married Maude Kennedy who was also divorced. Do hope someone knows something about Fred, the circus he worked for. Thanks, Elizabeth Hammond Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Dec 2013 - You might start by checking the “Final Curtain” columns in “Billboard” magazine for an obituary for Hastings in the weeks after his 1939 death. If there’s an obituary, then also check the news columns in the relevant profession therein. You might also check the collected obituary columns from “Variety,” which have been published. “Circus” has been used to describe many professions, and could range from managing a group of variety acts for stage presentation to a grandstand outfit to a tent show operation. He may also have used a name other than his own if he booked acts and such; that would make uncovering his career as a circus man more difficult. I’d also suggest searching using simpler versions of his name, such as “Fred Hastings” or “John Hastings”; less formality has some appeal in business. Have you checked the local newspapers to determine if they mentioned his occupation in reporting upon his passing? The Circus World Museum library has a name finding aid that might prove useful. Write librarian Pete Shrake and ask him to check it. The Hastings name didn’t pop up in any searching of common circus reference resources. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 02 Jan 2013 - Thank you for your reply. Is there a way of accessing Billboard magazine on line? Fred Hastings could have used the surname Hewitson as his stage name – does this name crop up? Liz

    Reply: 07 Jan 2014 - The link in message 4310, below, and a visit to Google Books advanced search, online, will provide you with access to Billboard issues that are currently available on the web. I don’t think that the 1923-1941 period is yet available; you’ll need to contact your local librarian or determine a site where microfilms might be examined to pursue the obituary. Maybe another reader knows of an online access to those interim years? In some years, in the first issue of a new year, Billboard published a compiled listing of obituaries. It’s a convenient way to determine if a death notice was printed. I believe that the Los Angeles Times is available online with key word searching, via a paid service, ProQuest, which is sometimes available free at larger public and university libraries, and there’s also a digital California newspaper collection that could be accessed free online. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 31 Jan 2014 - I have since found J F Hastings listed in Redondo Beach City under “Amusements” at the Hippodrome Municipal Pier. (The family often put their initials in the wrong order!). Is this likely to be the circus? Would have been a number of variety acts? Thanks for your help, Elizabeth Hammond

    Reply: 01 Feb 2014 - The entry as transcribed is a bit ambiguous, and no date was given. I believe that it may be a reference to the Redondo Beach Municipal Pier, and to the Hippodrome erected on it. It housed a carousel fabricated and installed by Charles Looff. Hastings may have been an employee there. Looff did have some circus acts elsewhere, adjacent to his hippodrome on the Santa Monica Pier. That installation remains standing today, but with a different carousel inside the structure. Here is a link to some tertiary information about the Redondo Beach pier:
    http://www.redondopier.com/about-the-pier/history-of-the-pier/
    One view of the Looff Hippodrome at Redondo Beach can be seen here: http://www.redondopier.com/about-the-pier/reinventing-the-pier/
    and then there’s another, with a different profile: http://antiquecarousels.com/product/redondo-beach-ram/
        The Looff installation reportedly endured 1912-1940 according to one undocumented source. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 02 Feb 2014 - Thank you for the links to the interesting websites. The information was listed in the US City Directory for Redondo Beach in 1927 as follows:
    Amusements: J F Hastings 155 Strand, Redondo; Hippodrome Municipal Pier, Redondo
        I think I mentioned that in his death certificate Hastings was recorded as being the proprietor of a circus from 1915 until 1935 and I wondered if the Hippodrome was known as a circus? He seems to have lived on Broadway, Los Angeles at least from 1915 into the 1920s so I am thinking that he was a stage actor in a theatre too. I would welcome your opinion. Many thanks, Elizabeth Hammond

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4310. G. S. Fitzgerald, 21 Dec 2013 - G. S. Fitzgerald with the Lemon McCart Carnival, June 1921 in Kansas. We are at a dead end. My wife's mother Arnetta Georgetta Fitzgerald was abandoned as an infant and left on a blanket when the Lemon McCarth Carnival left town in Lyons, Kansas June 1921. Her father (G. S. Fitzgerald) did eventually come back for her, but by then she was adopted. And we don't know the mother's name. My wife's mother never found her parents or her biological family. So at the point my wife is searching for any info she can find on G. S. Fitzgerald. We do have the newspaper articles from Lyons, Kansas and we understand G.S. Fitzgerald could be from Texas. We don't know where my wife's mother was born or her birth date. And the same for G. S. Fitzgerald, no birth date, marriage license, death Certificate, etc.. Any help will be so greatly appreciated. We were hoping the Circus History website folks might be able to help us. Thank you so much! Ken Recoy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Dec 2013 - There was a Fairyland (Guaranteed) Shows operated by J. [James?] O. [Ordway] McCart in the 1920s. The enduring knowledge of the operation resides in the fact that the vehicles from it were utilized to frame the Buck Jones Wild West troupe in 1929. The McCart operation collapsed at El Paso, TX. McKennon’s book about carnivals lists it as operational 1925-1929.
        After scripting the above entry, I did another Google search and found this entry [http://registry.adoption.com/records/597158.html?close_js_warning=true], posted by Patricia Peterson-Recoy seeking the same birth mother. “My mother was born in El Paso, Texas on October 5, 1920 as far as I know. Her father was listed as G.S. Fitzgerald. He was listed as living on Ochos street in 1920.he and my biological grandmother went to work the Leemon and McCart Carnival. This carnival traveled to Oklahoma and was in Kansas in June, 1921. My mother was left with a Mrs. Baird the manager of the hotel where Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald stayed. Mrs. Fitzgerald left with someone else and Mr. Fitzgerald followed to find her and was unsuccessful . He was stranded and unable to get back to my mother. At that point the court took custody of my mother and she was adopted. She was approximately 7 to 9 months old at this time.”
        Lemon/Leemon McCart would have been a predecessor to the Fairyland operation. I doubt that any business records survive from any McCart show. One 1920 Deming, NM newspaper gave the title as Leemons and McCart Amusement Company, with the sub-heading High Class Shows and Riding Devices; in 1921 it was Leemon McCart; but in 1922 it was the J. O. McCart Midway Shows and J. Ordway McCart carnival.
        McCart, whose first name may have been James, was shot by an unknown assailant in January 1921. Walter Leeman, identified as one of the 1921 proprietors, shot a drunken member of the crew at Stanton, NE in September 1921, likely bringing about the name change in 1922. You may find additional entries on www.newspaperarchive.com or in other digitized newspapers from the states played by the McCart organization. Seldom do they mention members of the troupe, unless they were involved in some newsworthy incident. Show titles can usually be confirmed in newspaper advertisements, but none were found in the available resources. For the moment, the correct spelling of the name of McCart’s partner remains elusive.
        The best resource for McCart show information will be the weekly issues of “Billboard” magazine, which contained carnival news columns; sometimes they posted staff, cast and crew rosters. A secondary source would be the “New York Clipper.” Here are links so that you can check them online, page by page. Perhaps you have a search methodology that can do a key word search through a large number of pdf files?
    http://www.fultonhistory.com/my%20photo%20albums/all%20newspapers/Billboard/index.html
    http://fultonhistory.com/my%20photo%20albums/All%20Newspapers/New%20York%20NY%20Clipper%201853%20-%201924/index.html
        Unfortunately, smaller outfits seldom gained coverage. You might find it in a listing of carnival winterquarters communities that were published in some years. That might provide a lead to identifying and locating the proprietors or other members of the troupe. El Paso seems to be a likely base for the McCart operation. Moving by train, it would have been easy for a railroad employee to join up.
        Many troupes had Ferris wheels provided by the Eli bridge Company of Jacksonville, IL. They published a house journal, initially titled “The Optimist” 1916-1925 and thereafter “Big Eli News.” There are some listings in it for the Fairyland Shows. The firm may still survive; files of the journal may be in different locations.
        It would seem that with the birth known to have taken place in El Paso, TX, and with Fitzgerald residing there in 1920, that the city of El Paso would provide the most likely location to secure the birth mother’s identity, as opposed to trying to locate a roster for the itinerant carnival. I assume that you have already searched the local files and recruited assistance from professional genealogists in the community. Look for people residing at the same address, or nearby, in the city directories, and also in the census records. Yet, you might search 1919-1921 issues of Billboard for any McCart operation rosters and reports. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4309. Human statues act, 12 Dec 2013 - When I was young in 1982-1984, I don’t remember the exact year, I went to the circus in Dayton, Ohio there was an act, I think it was called the Human Statues. The same group did trapeze act also. I believe One of the names was Armando Christiana but can't remember for sure. Can you help me out? I found old pictures and I am putting them in a scrapbook but I like to put names with them. Thanks Lisa from Dayton, Ohio Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4308. Old circus billboard, 04 Dec 2013 - Recently we found part of an old circus billboard/poster on the exterior wall of our 100 year old store in Montana. There are pictures of men, with the names of Baron Renthrow and maybe Charles (?) Holton. Also are pictured a woman on a bike, ostriches (bridled) etc. I'm wondering if you could help me find more informaton? Therese Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Dec 2013 - The lithograph that you have discovered is a remnant of the visitation by the New Great Syndicate Shows, likely sometime 1894-1895. You may also find portraits depicting men identified as Heckenback (derived from Karl Hagenbeck), Wambold (possibly derived from Wombwell) and Hengler (the latter two British circus names). This operation commenced in 1892 as Sells & Rentfrow, with the names coming from Willie Sells (connected to the Sells Bros. of circus history) and J. N. Rentfrow (of Jolly Pathfinders fame). It came out re-titled as New Great Syndicate Shows (English Syndicate Shows has also been seen) in 1894-1896; during the middle of the second year it was acquired by John F. Hummel and James M. Hamilton, two Cincinnati grifters, who were fronting the purchase for others that wanted to remain unidentified. It was operated as Hummel & Hamilton in 1897 and endured as the John F. Hummel circus through the tour of 1898. In the latter part of that year it was sold piecemeal. The name Charles Holton is associated with it via entries from Billboard magazine in 1894- 1895. See: http://www.circushistory.org/History/BriefF.htm and CHS message 1337. It is quite likely that there were various variations on the show title between 1892 and 1898. There are six Russell-Morgan posters for this show in the collections of the Ringling Museum, none dated, one of which portrays a bicycle act. These posters can be viewed online at the Ringling Museum website, digital collections: http://www.ringling.org/ . If you declare the community in which your hardware store is located it’s possible that John Polacsek can provide the month and date of the engagement there. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4307. Josephen Drushka, 04 Dec 2013 - I am researching my family history and been lead to believe that my grandfather worked in a circus in central/western Canada in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. I have not been able to discover which circuses were travelling and performing, in this part of Canada, at that time. If you have more detailed records and can search his name please let me know. His name was Josephen Drushka, born in 1911 and he ran away from home in his teens, and joined a circus. From the information I have hear he worked with the bears. Any help to point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Terry Anderson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4306. Mayer Sisters, 03 Dec 2013 - I am trying to find anything out about a trapeze act for Ringling Brothers Circus circa late 1890’s. My grandmother was part of an act called the Mayer Sisters. Thank you, Darlene Roman Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4305. McNutt family, 03 Dec 2013 - I am researching the McNutt family who performed in the circus and vaudeville approximately 1900-1940. Cameron Thomas (Thompson?) McNutt and his wife Laura Smith were originally from Mayfield and Paducah, KY and had a trick bicycle act. They also owned a nightclub in the Clayton, NY area. They committed suicide in Boynton, Florida in 1940. Their stage last name or alias was "Pop." Family says they were called "The Three Camerons" at one time. Laura was my great grand aunt and I would really appreciate any information, pictures, history, anything. Thanks! Brian Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4304. Van Amburgh wagon paintings, 26 Nov 2013 - After the Civil War, the Van Amburgh Great Golden Menagerie was very popular. I am doing research on the paintings that were on the wagons, vans, and chariots. I believe the first reference to this was in the March 28, 1868 The New York Clipper:
    "Van Amburgh & Co.'s Great Golden Menagerie ... put on the road this season an entirely new ... exhibition. The wagons, chariots, vans and dens are all entirely new ... Emblazoned on the panels of each are splendid illustrations of the Holy Bible, after designs from the French artist Gustav Dore."
    For the next decade or so, Dore Van Amburgh wagon paintings were featured in ads for the circus. Does there exist any illustration (photo, drawing, engraving) showing Dore paintings on the wagons? I don't suppose there is any remote chance that any of those Van Amburgh circus wagons still exist? Thank you, Dan Malan Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Dec 2013 - To the best of my knowledge, no vehicles survive from any of the 19th century Van Amburgh-title operations. Unless a poster has survived, unnoticed by the cognoscenti, the only images that might document the Dore illustrations would be the engravings found in the show advertising, newspaper advertisements, heralds (handbills) and couriers, which can be accessed in various public collections. I do not recall seeing any useful representations in the illustrated newspapers of the time, nor in any formal works of art, or other ephemera, but new discoveries are always possible.
        The application of Dore’s Biblical scenes, which can be found in published volumes from the 1860s onward, was inspired by attempts to diminish the complaints lodged against traveling showmen by speakers in the pulpit. They were intended to cultivate favor among the clergy, and Christians in general. As early as 1815 there were Puritanical rants against showmen because their labors didn’t produce useful products or did not provide a service. Later, when showmen like the Van Amburgh proprietors termed their aggregation a “Menagerie and Moral Exhibition,” the euphemistic second half of the phrase was the ring show - the actual circus.
        It was permissible to attend and view the menagerie portion of the presentation, but the ring displays were to be avoided, especially if they contained any exhibition of flesh, particularly anything that revealed the female form; that was to be avoided. There were various means to separate the menagerie and the circus visitation: by the timing of the visit (by separate admission fee), in advance of the ring show; by a canvas panel placed between the two entities (since they were generally in the same round pavilion until about 1870); and ultimately by the implementation of separate tents, one for the menagerie and the other for the performance. Despite the segregation by time, dividing wall or enclosure, many visitors enjoyed both, often on the pretense that it was "to take the children." Renoff explores this ruse in his book.
        Overland travel was hard on circus wagons. The Van Amburgh-named shows started out in the 1840s and by the 1860s the cages would have been rebuilt several times, the urine-rotted floors replaced, the running gears salvaged for use under new bodies, etc. The vehicles that received the Dore side panels may well have been entirely new in 1868, an investment by the proprietors in the years after the Civil War. At least, their Clipper statement portrayed them as “all new,” an often spurious characterization. The VA troupes were reported to have had between 15 and 24 cages in the 1860s-1870s. They were likely to be small vehicles, generally two-horse size, six to eight feet long, with only the performing den that was rolled into the ring being larger.
        The two Van Amburgh troupes (one out of Connersville, IN, the other out of Brewster, NY, I believe) were outfitted with new bandchariots by the Fielding brothers of New York City in 1866 and 1868. One also received a tableau car executed in an Egyptian theme. These vehicles are illustrated in period posters that can be seen in Richard E. Conover’s booklet “The Fielding Bandchariots.” All three survived adequately long to be photographed later, testimony to the fact that the poster depictions were extremely accurate. They were described in “New York Clipper” issues and elsewhere in their initial seasons. There were limited areas, between the carved ornaments, that may have been filled with scenic paintings, as was then the custom. The artists that executed these pieces were often local artisans and sometimes their commissions are mentioned in the newspapers; at least they were later. They accepted commissions wherever they could ply their trade. An 1871 account named the Dore representations to be seen: Esther confounding Haman; Elias bringing the widow’s son to life; Moses on the Nile; Ruth gleaning; Death of Ahab; Jephthah’s daughter going to meet her father; Jonathan destroying the temple. The list may have been provided to the reporter by the show’s agent. Mention of the Dore applications continued to 1878, and perhaps later, but by that time the circus had won many converts and few resisted its allure..
        It’s possible that the Van Amburgh cages and dens were also fabricated by the Fieldings, if they’re not attributed to others. The same artists that applied decorative treatments to the bandchariots may have been commissioned to do the Dore pieces. The show reportedly received ten Concord cages in 1873, which were among the first to be fitted with carved corner images. Exactly what “Concord” meant is unclear; it may have been a style of construction, as opposed to their city of origin. Stuart Thayer accessed the surviving records of the dominant builder in the city, Abbott Downing, but their ledgers document only a fraction of the vehicles that were described in the period literature as “Concord.” The Concord cages also received the Dore painting treatment, and gilding. Other VA wagons originated in Cincinnati and St. Louis. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4303. Baby Viola, fat lady, 26 Nov 2013 - I’m looking for information on Little Baby Viola, the fat lady in the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. She was born in 1898 in Michigan as Viola Fales and then married my great great uncle Art Whitman and later an Arthur Barton. – Cindy Allen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Dec 2013 - The Circus Archive in Stockholm, Sweden has a post card of a fat lady "Jättedamen (giant lady) Viola". I have no further information about her, and perhaps she is not identical to the person you have in mind. The post card might be from the 1920s. Klas Grönqvist.

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4302. Fat Lady, 23 Nov 2013 - I am looking for the story of a circus fat lady, born around 1947. I read an interview with this lady in a magazine article, around 1970, in which she described that when she was little she was given a new untested medicine that could cure whooping cough, but the side effects were unknown. This medicine made her gain extreme weight, so she became obese and subsequently the fat lady of the circus. My cousin and I were given were given this medicine. She developed asthma and I started gaining weight, but was put in diets ever since I can remember and still I battling this condition. Thank you for your help. Miguel Miguel Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4301. Circus, Olathe Twp, KS 1870, 18 Nov 2013 - Do you know what circus might have been in Olathe Twp., Johnson Co., Kansas on June 1, 1870? My great-grandfather, Anthony Gibson, was listed on the 1870 census as working for a circus on this date, and I would really like to discover the name of it, if possible. I used the search function on this site, but did not find anything. Thank you for any help you can give me. Carol Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Nov 2013 - Unless someone accidentally stumbled across a route sheet for that year and that town, the only other way you'll find out is to go through your town's historic archives, preferably the old newspapers. Usually they are microfilmed for preservation and held at a public library. Going back to 1870 however, indicates an extreme age and there may be a great likelyhood that they don't exist. Your local Historical Society may or may not go back that far. Stuart Thayer's Annals of the American Circus is a terrific book full of rosters, routes, owners etc. but it stops at 1860. Best wishes. Bob Cline

    Reply: 20 Nov 2013 - If you found the June 1, 1870 census I might think that you would have checked the other people listed in the census that day to provide additional information on the show. One would hope that the census included James Robinson and his son Clarence, Eva Brent, Charles White, William Gorman, Alex. Henderson, or A. J. Springer. The James Robinson Great Circus and Animal Show opened April 25,1870 at Cincinnati, Ohio. They traveled by rail and their route shows May 29 was a Sunday with the day off; May 30 & 31 at Kansas City, Mo.; June 1 at Olathe, Kansas; June 2 at Paola, Kansas; June 3 at Pleaston, Kansas; and June 4 at Fort Scott, Kansas. There are newspaper ads for the Kansas City, Paola, and Fort Scott dates in the local paper. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 20 Feb 2014 - You should take a look at Orin King’s series on the history of the circus in Kansas. It was originally published in Bandwagon and issues can be found in the index of Bandwagon articles on the CHS website. His essays were later collected into a book. I believe he read all existing Kansas newspapers before about 1885. Fred Pfening III

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