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Message Archive: Messages 4401-4500




4500. Millie LaMar, 30 Mar 2015 - Looking for information about Millie LaMar, albino mind reader. Candy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 Mar 2015 - Millie Lamar was a traveling show personality, who did bookings across the country in dime museums, on vaudeville and variety stages and inside railroad tent circus side shows. Periodically her appearances were noted in amusement trade journals and newspapers, but many, many spots were below publication radar. Her career appears to have spanned at least a decade, 1889-1897. Given the relative commonality of being an albino, Lamar became a “dual” attraction, acquiring the talent to be a mind reader. It gave her added appeal as an attraction in the 1890s, a competitive one for dime museums and other businesses that relied upon “special people.”
        She was once listed under “Mlle. Lamar (second sight)” in the Adam Forepaugh side show in 1889 [Clipper, May 25, 1889, 177]. That circus engagement followed the first notice of her in Clipper, which placed her at the newly-opened Grand Street Museum In New York City [Clipper, January 12, 1889, 701]. In November 1889 she was at the Casino Museum in Pittsburgh [Clipper, November 2, 1889, 569]. These engagements may mark the start and pinnacle of her career. In early 1891 Lamar was in Scranton, PA, at Davis’ Wonderland. [Clipper, February 28, 1891, 807].
        During the summers of 1891 to 1894 inclusive Mlle. La Mar traveled with the Adam Forepaugh circus, doing mind reading and second sight in the side show. The season route books list her as being present. At the time it was owned and operated by James A. Bailey, managed by brother-in-law Joseph T. McCaddon and James P. Anderson. Barnum had been a partner in it until his death on April 11, 1891. Conceivably she may have been with Forepaugh during 1890, too, but there’s no confirmation. I found nothing associating her with any Barnum-title enterprise, as repeated in many tertiary listings and her obituary (below).
        At an early 1892 Pittsburgh engagement at the World’s Museum-Theater she was associated with Mr. Francis Morrisey [Pittsburgh Dispatch, January 31, 1892]. Late 1892 Lamar was at the Eden Musee, Reading, PA and then the World’s Museum Theatre in Pittsburgh for a second time [Clipper, December 24, 1892, 679 and December 31, 1892, 690].
        Mlle. La Mar assisted by Francis Morrisy (sic) appeared at Huber’s Palace Museum doing “magnetism” in the early spring of 1894 [Clipper, March 17, 1894, 22]. Mlle. La Mar, “Mysterious mind reader” and Francis Morrisey, occultism (“King of Occultism”), were booked on the midway at the North Carolina State fair in 1894 [Durham (NC) Daily Globe, October 5, 1894; Central Times (Dunn, NC), October 10, 1894]. Mlle. Le Marr and Francis Morrisey were at Huber’s Eighth Avenue Museum in late 1895 [Clipper, December 28, 1895, 680]. In the spring of 1896 she was at the Wonderland Theatre, New Haven, CT [New York Dramatic Mirror, March 14, 1896, 21]. Late 1896 was an engagement for Prof. Francis Morrisey and Mlle. La Mar doing mind reading tests at Huber’s Palace Museum [Clipper, November 28, 1896, 618]. In early 1897 she was soloing at the Ninth and Arch Street Museum in Philadelphia [Clipper, January 16, 1897, 730].
        “Mlle. La Mar” is how she was listed in her show obituary, though in private life she was Mrs. Emma Morrissey. She passed away on October 6, 1905, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Philadelphia, after cancer surgery. She was 42 [birth c1863]. The obit said that the couple appeared with the Barnum & Bailey and Forepaugh shows for many seasons, and also in leading vaudeville houses, presenting a “novel second sight specialty.” The funeral was on October 8 from her husband’s Philadelphia residence [Clipper, October 14, 1905, 863].
        There are likely many other references to her, in the trade journals and newspapers, but the OCR technology is very fallible, the returned results far less than accurate or comprehensive. The situation is aggravated by the variant spellings of her and her husband’s names. A simple Google search brought forward many period images of Lamar, sold as souvenirs, to supplement her basic booking income. She sat for Eisenmann, Obermüller & Kern/Son, Pentz & Swords and other photographers that supplied the trade with sellable keepsakes.
        There were other albino mind readers, an anonymous one on the 1891 French’s New Sensation floating theatre; Mamie Clayton with Stadel Bros. side show in 1895; and Mlle. Davenport with the A. B. Davenport Merry Travelers in 1897. Lamar was eventually outdone by Mlle. Olina, a triple attraction, being an albino, a mid reader and snake charmer on the Hunting circus in 1896 [Clipper, June 13, 1896, 232]. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4499. Karl Hess, 25 Mar 2015 - I am interested on any information on a Karl Hess, as an equestrian rider with the circus probably the Busch Circus. He died in 1895 in Denmark. He was the father to Carl Hess, a famous equestrian rider who died in 1952. Sharon Locking Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Apr 2015 - The Circus Museum in Hvidovre, Copenhagen, has one “hit” on the name Karl Hess: The Danish Newspaper Jyllands Posten wrote on 29/11 1895 on page two: ”Dødsfald i Hovedstaden…Kunstberider Carl Hess”. (Death in [the Danish] capital: horse rider Carl Hess). Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

    Reply: 15 Apr 2015 - Search for “hess” on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng and you will get 3 Karl Hess photo’s. Herman

    Reply: 10 May 2015 - Dan Roneklint Sorensen of the Circus Museum in Hvidovre, Copenhagen, has provided the following additional information: The Danish magazine Cirkusbladet published in the years before and after 1900 was a magazine for the Circus Variete. In the summer of 1895 there was however a special Circus Busch-issue. It read on page 3: "... The riders Paul Eschberger, Carriot, Ernesto, Hess ...". S 8 read: "Among the speaking Stable Masters can be highlighted The German Mr. Hess, who is well known here from former circus-visits and speaks quite good Danish". At that time first names were seldom mentioned but it seems likely that is was Karl Hess.
        Cirkusbladet volume 5, 1898/99, No. 4 mentioned the Circus Variete’s program for December 1898. About act no 9 is written on page 3: "La belle Theresitta "- tight wire Dancing Girl – has not just by her beauty but also by her safe performance won herself at an extremely large audience. She is still only sixteen summers young. The young lady has, as a child often visited Copenhagen (in old Schumann and Busch's Time), and even went to school here, so she is quite good in speaking Danish. Her father, the late stable master Hess will surely be remembered by many Copenhageners". On page 4 there is a nice photo of La belle Teresitta.
        In a program from Circus Busch No. 43 from July 7 1895 at 8 is as act no 9 mentioned; "The two 3-double jumping driving schools were ridden by Mr. Hess and Miss. Gisella." Otherwise there was great water spectacle with swimming elephants. The program had the shape of a large newspaper page with many ads.
        Hess seems to have been a fairly widespread family of riders and artist. In Saltarinos Artisten-Lexikon from 1895 is mentioned a German "Art Reiter" Adolf Hess (1811-1888). In 1888/89 a trick rider Alexander Hess in stayed in Maribo (Denmark) according to local authorities protocol of visiting foreigners. In 1910 an artist Villiam Hess born 1846 in England visited Copenhagen with his family. (The Police records). Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4498. Susan Vandebergh, 23 Mar 2015 - I am looking for information on my grandmother, Susan Agnes Vandebergh. She was in the circus doing tightwire walking ad riding horses. I think she was probably young when she joined the circus and I know she went to Europe on a few occasions and also America. Any information such as the name of the circus, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Hodges Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4497. Berryhill United Shows, 21 Mar 2015 - I'm trying to find any info on my grandparents' carnival from the 40's, Berryhill United Shows. Leo & Evelyn Berryhill. Midwest and southeast USA. I have found small ads via google that appeared in Billboard. Never any actual articles or info. I've combed through Bandwagons also. Any help or info would be great. Thank you, Kris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Mar 2015 - Berryhill United Shows, a motorized traveling carnival, was active from 1944 through 1946 inclusive. Leo Berryhill of Lima, OH and Clyde R. Pierce of Orlando, FL, were co-owners. W. O. Seymour was the initial manager. Berryhill had been “in the business” in Ohio and Pierce operated a movie house in Orlando. How they happened to come together as partners is unknown. Leo Berryhill and wife had a shooting gallery on L. J. Heth’s carnival in 1942, so he had some experience in the traveling show trade - and perhaps other related fields before 1942. [Billboard, July 18, 1942, p29]
        In the spring of 1945 Berryhill was owner-manager; Pierce was identified as secretary; and Mrs. Evelyn Berryhill as concessions manager and also secretary (she visited her mother in Indiana). In 1946 Berryhill was still owner-manager; Pierce was special agent and publicity, and also noted as co-owner; Ruby Moore was secretary-treasurer; Evelyn Berryhill wasn’t mentioned; Mrs. Pierce was noted as having the concessions.
        The Berryhill show featured the usual array of circular-style rides and concessions common to such operations, the specific rides mentioned in various accounts. One 1944 article said the outfit was largely new equipment - rarity - given that the war was still underway and consumed most metals being made. “Big Eli News,” published by the Eli Bridge Company of Jacksonville, Illinois, the most prominent maker of portable Ferris wheels, would have made mention of any purchase from the firm. The index for 1944-1945 makes no mention of Berryhill. In the fall of 1944 they bought the used rides and concessions of the Alabama Amusement Company.
        The 1944 tour started out on the Thunderbolt lot southeast of Savannah, GA. It was likely near the community and location where the show was organized and prepared for the tour. The winter of 1944-1945 was spent in Pine Hill, AL and the following winter in Lucasville, OH. Local newspapers in those communities might be accessed for coverage.
        If you’re looking for extended profile-type articles, I don’t think you’ll find any such survey pieces. You’ll have to build the story from the small pieces that you do find. Billboard’s news columns largely depended upon shows supplying information about their activities, especially if they weren’t industry leaders. In some instances Billboard staff would recruit local reporters to do an assessment of show presence and impact. You can find some of the show route in Billboard. The newspapers in those communities might be accessed for local reports.
        Expand your search technique by using Google Books Advanced Search. Enter Billboard in the title block and then use titles and personal names in various combinations, including last name, first name, and also search for names of their employees. I received 25 hits for Berryhill United Shows; 21 for Leo Berryhill; and 5 for Evelyn Berryhill; plus more for the single word “Berryhill”; some of which overlap. In the first group I found news articles about show activity in these issues: February 26, 1944, p35; April 15, 1944, p39; September 30, 1944, p32; October 7, 1944, p34; November 11, 1944, p34; February 17, 1945, p40; March 3, 1945, p32; and August 3, 1946, p66; and more.
        Leo Berryhill married Louise Stevenson in the fall of 1946 (announcement and honeymoon report in Niagara Falls, per Billboard, September 28, 1946, p56). That event and associated actions may have brought about the end of his traveling show career. His earlier wife already appears to have departed the trade sometime in mid- to late 1945. Leo Berryhill was listed in the Letter List in November 1947, but otherwise he’s not in Billboard from 1947 through 1960. I found nothing that discussed the liquidation of the physical plant. In 1947 Clyde R. Pierce was operating the Gem Carnival out of Lake City, TN. That may have been the next chapter in the story of the former Berryhill United Shows. It doesn’t appear to have endured the entire season and the property likely went through another liquidation. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4496. Anna Caswell, 19 Mar 2015 - I have been trying to find information on my father's mother. Her name was Anna Belle Caswell and I have a picture of a "crew" standing next to a vehicle marked "Pan American Shows". I am 74 years old and want to complete our family history soon. My Father's mother was said to be a trapeze performer with Pan American and joined right after my father's birth. Most likey in Sangamon County, Illinois, maybe 1917. Please reply if you can or will to my email, jfreed@artelco.com. Thanks very much. Jim Reed Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Mar 2015 - The Pan American Shows was owned by Frank Lemen from 1902 to 1904. In 1905 he called it Lemen Bros. Circus. The show was then bought by Wm. P. Hall who in turned sold it for a nice little profit. Frank took the Pan American Shows title out one more time in 1908.
        You can find a couple other ads for the show at http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/ by typing in Pan American Shows using quotation marks at both ends. You also discover two ads dated 1936. According to Joe mckennon's book "A Pictorial History of the American Carnival, Volume II" these ads would be for a Carnival that operated from 1934 to 1959.
        You may want to contact the Circus World Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin. They have numerous archival records including route books and publications that may have mentioned her somewhere. Look at their website at http://www.circusworldbaraboo.org/our-treasures/library-research-center/ for their contact info.
        Genealogy Research is a huge market in today's world. You may want to look in records such as Ancestry.com to see if you can follow your family linages and make a connection. Good Luck in your search. Bob Cline

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4495. Wax show, 15 Mar 2015 - Trying to find out about a wax show who traveled with the circus around the forties " Johnny Chapman was the owner of the wax show. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Mar 2015 - John W. Chapman was best known as a Gooding carnival bingo tent operator from Chillicothe, Ohio. Chapman may well have been known as Johnny or Johnnie to other showfolks. During his carnival days he rented an apartment in the Columbus, OH area [one address was 815 N. High Street, Greystone Court Apt. 1] and elsewhere.
        Showmen often had a “live” presentation that required their personal attention, and then for additional income had an attraction that required little more than a ticket seller to operate once erected and open for trade. A wax show may have been a secondary outfit to Chapman’s bingo tent activity. He may also have been a partner or silent investor in such a show. Sometimes “wax show” was a generic name for a walk through tent that may have had a theme, torture being one of them. There was a Torture Show on Gooding, new in 1949, and perhaps other seasons; Glenn Porter was identified as proprietor in 1949, Carl Hada the manager. Porter was with other outfits and Chapman might have preceded or replaced his presentation. A. W. “Al” Stencell’s book about carnival shows can be consulted on the topic. Check “Seeing Is Believing” and “Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo,” the last mentioning Porter’s activities.
        Chapman was active as early as 1943 (with a corn game) to as late as 1953, perhaps the entire time with Gooding Greater Shows/Amusements out of Columbus, Ohio. Gooding’s was a large, motorized carnival operation, one of the top three, headed for many years by Floyd Gooding. Gooding often had four or five units doing different dates out of their quarters, in Ohio and adjacent states. In the spring of 1947, at Baltimore, Chapman married the former wife of Gooding unit manager E. C. Drumm, who served as a Gooding unit secretary. [Billboard, March 22, 1947, p45]. Charlotte Dram [sic, Drumm] Chapman, age 64, a 25-year Gooding employee, died September 20, 1954 in University Hospital, Columbus, survived by her husband, John W. Chapman. Services were September 24 at Coshocton, OH, where she was interred at South Lawn Cemetery. [Billboard, October 2, 1954, p46] According to the Billboard of July 1, 1957, page 73, Chapman was retired and had passed away recently in a New York hospital; no clarification if that meant the city or the state.
        There was notice of a son, Harry Edwin, born to William and Gladys Munger, six-year employees of Chapman on Gooding at Bethesda Hospital, Cincinnati, on January 13, 1949 [Billboard, February 5, 1949, p52] I found no other references to a Johnny Chapman with a wax show. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4494. Circus, Jeffersonville, IN, 15 Mar 2015 - I am searching for a circus which performed at Jeffersonville, Indiana but don’t have an exact date. There was a fire at the circus and the monkeys burned up. This was in the 1920s or 1930s, I think. Please help if you have any information. Thanks, Jeanne Burke Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4493. Circus, Kansas City, 12 Mar 2015 - I am trying to find out about a circus that played in Kansas City, Mo. in the mid to late 50’s. It may have been Hamid-Morton, but not sure. There was a matinee performance and a lion tamer was severely attacked and received many stitches. Does anyone know the details of who and exact date? Sam Klapholz Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Mar 2015 - Joe Hartman was attacked on November 19, 1959 by a lion bought the day before by Paul Kelly for his nine lion act. The incident occurred at an Orrin Davenport-produced date for the local Shrine temple in Kansas City. You can read one account in Billboard, December 7, 1959, page 64 on Google Books. There’ll be others in period newspapers, in Kansas City and elsewhere. Hartman suffered an earlier attack in mid-1959, too, as related in Billboard, July 20, 1959, page 49. The act was then five lions and they were doing shopping center dates. A lioness took a swipe at him, cutting a finger; he later said published accounts of the July attack were exaggerated. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4492. Frank Gorzynski, 12 Mar 2015 - Frank Gorzynski could have taken another name, and that name might have been Gore or Hill. Perhaps another name as well. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1908, son of Joseph Gorzynksi and Zofia Rucinska-Gorzynska. He was my father's half brother (thus, my uncle). According to family lore, he joined "the circus" in the early to mid 1920's (His mother died when he was about 4 years old; his father remarried my grandmother, and they didn't get along.) Frank would return to Cleveland on rare occasions. May have had a wife and chidren; my mother thinks she may have been in the Boston area. Frank died in Florida, around Sarasota, late 1958/early 1959. He was reported to be a Barker, and like many men in my family, was at least 6'6" tall. Not sure which circus he joined, perhaps Ringling, but could have been a smaller operation that traveled through North-eastern Ohio in the 1920's. Where to start? I'm trying to determine circuses that did that route during that time period. Thanks for any help you can give. All the best, Mary Louise Hill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Mar 2015 - “Circus” means different things to different people; for some it is the circus, to others it’s the carnival, etc. Thus, your search needs to broaden. Your uncle would have been known as a “talker” in the trade. “Barker” was used, but it’s more of a public ID word than one in the show trade. At the circus, talkers worked the front of the side show. On the carnival, there were side shows and also many other “back end shows” where talkers would be employed to attract a crowd, known as the “tip.”
        Since you seem to have a general fix on the years of death [1958-1959], death locale [Sarasota], and have some of the name possibilities, it might be best to search for a death certificate in the greater Sarasota/Bradenton, FL area, both Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and perhaps counties as far north as Gibsontown, Riverview and Tampa areas. The general north gulf area was a hospitable winter home to traveling showmen from the 1920s until the present time.
        Your uncle’s multiple and changing aliases makes it very difficult to search for him, especially since the issues of the weekly trade journal Billboard for c1922-1942 aren’t readily accessible online other than via ProQuest’s paid service, Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. The pre-1923 issues are at Fulton History and 1942 and later on Google Books. You might peruse late 1950s “The Final Curtain” columns of “Billboard.” These were the death notices for people in entertainment of all types. I just tried to do several key word searches in this regard, but it doesn’t seem to be working; it won’t reveal anything for “final curtain,” or for any of the names you listed as possibilities. It may compel you to do an issue by issue search of the columns until you find something that seems to be his death notice. There may also have been no notice published anywhere, in “Billboard” or local newspapers, if he passed away on the road.
        If he was a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey employee between 1938 to 1959 (the time when they wintered in Sarasota), there’ll be an employment card for him in the Circus World Museum library. Contact librarian Pete Shrake and provide him with all of the possible names, aliases and variations thereon. The file is strictly by last name, first name, so that is the only search methodology. By the late 1950s a number of other circuses were also wintering in the Sarasota vicinity. Unfortunately, almost no other circus employment records are readily accessible, and the same is true for carnivals.
        You could also contact all of the cemeteries in the area, but that’s a larger task, as is scanning all of the area’s newspapers, directories, etc. You might also search Social Security records, but again, the lack of a specific name will make the search results ambiguous until you find his most commonly-used identity (identities). Born in 1908, at the time of WWII he may have been eligible for the draft. You might check military service records for him. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 17 Aug 2015 - Wow. I haven't had a chance to look at this board for awhile, and I am very grateful to the author for the time spent on this reply. All of these suggestions are excellent, and I will follow up on as many as possible. Thanks so much, M.L. Hill

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4491. Barnum-Bailey 1886, 11 Mar 2015 - I have a 1886 picture handed down to me. Dated the above on picture. It says Barnum and Bailey. The two hemispheres. I can't find any info on it anywhere. Any help? TJ Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 Mar 2015 - The stock answer will be that the Barnum & Bailey Two Hemispheres Bandwagon was built for the 1903 tour, and that your 1886 date is incorrect. You can see photos of the 1903 Two Hemispheres Bandwagon here: http://www.karlking.us/images/bandwagon.htm, with some historical commentary here: http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2009/10/two-hemispheres-1.html
        However, if you’re in possession of a bona fide 1886 Barnum show photo and it documents a large parade wagon with a spherical globe atop it, then you’re gazing at a representation of one of two telescoping tableaus that were with Howes Great London in the 1870s and then Barnum & London (1881-1887) and Barnum & Bailey (1888 onwards) in the 1880s and into the early 1890s. It was termed telescoping because the globe and figures on the upper platform were raised up from the lower body for parade presentation, and then lowered back into it for general travel. A copy was made of it and presented on the Forepaugh circus in the late 1870s and 1880s and sometimes the two have been confused. There is a view of the Forepaugh wagon on this page, illustrating the entry for the January-February 1970 issue of Bandwagon: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/BandwagonIndex.htm. An expert can discern the difference between the two wagons with the globe.
        If the 1903 Barnum & Bailey Two Hemispheres Bandwagon, with the bas relief views of the earth isn’t in your view, then it’s perhaps one of the two earlier tableaus. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, ‘The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4490. Female circus performer, 11 Mar 2015 - I am a UK based writer currently researching for a book on the role of the female circus performer and how circus empowered women. If there are any retied or former female performers who would be interested in being interviewed for the book I would love to hear from you. Steve Ward Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Nov 2015 - My name is Patricia Crossley Pearson. I was a circus performer in the 1950s and 60s both in England and France. You may contact me at isobel.pearson@hotmail.com

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4489. Tunchi Diaries, 01 Mar 2015 - The question I have is in regards to The Tunchi Diaries referenced to in the book Circus of the Scars written by Jan Gregor. I have tried finding information online as to whether or not these diaries exist with no luck. The author wrote a special thank you to circus historians who assisted in double checking the above mentioned diaries. Fred Dahlinger Jr was in the list of historians which led me to your website. Any information you could share would be most appreciated. With Regards, Rachael Mosley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Mar 2015 - Hi Rachael - I'm glad you enjoyed Circus of the Scars. My treks with modern sideshow was what got me interested in circus history. You can email me if you have any questions and I'll try to help. Jan, thirteen@pacifier.com

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4488. Nais Corey, 27 Feb 2015 - Looking for information on a man named Nais Corey who supposedly was a “lion tamer” who had his own show. I’m not sure if he had a traveling circus or just a menagerie. He was originally from Beirut and in the U.S. in the early 1900s. One of his children was supposedly born on a train traveling through Delaware in 1924. Corey is not his given name. It was likely something like Khaury or Kouri. Around 1930 or so he lived in the Worcester, MA, area. Vicki Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4487. Merton Clivette, 23 Feb 2015 - Merton Clivette - The Man In Black. I'm trying to fill in some gaps of history on the man Merton Clivette. As he worked for the circus traveling the US and Europe he finally became a famous painter. While is London and Paris he friended James McNeill Whistler (Whistler's Mother artist). Clivette's wife who also traveled with him in the circus was from Lowell Mass as was Whistler. From 1891 - 1903 (Whistler's Death) Merton acquired about 10 pieces of Whistler art. Nothing considered a masterpiece, just drawings and a couple of oil studies. I'm trying to get these 10 pieces their final place in art history and clear Merton's name with experts who doubt he knew Whistler. I know some letters existed from Whistler to Clivette and are out there in this world. Also I would love if anyone has any information that relates to Clivette or even Whistler with any circus group in Europe. There is a possibility of crazy parties at Whistler studios where items not to be noticed were fetched from trunks. This could be a possibility and very interesting as well!
    1891 to about 1900 he toured America with his Vaudeville act on the famous Orpheum Circuit. Clivette took his act to Europe and during these trips, the visually astute Clivette absorbed the great art of the European tradition. Clivette returned from these travels a world-wise artist and settled in New York City to paint full time
    More of a Bio: Clivette was born in Portage, Wisconsin, in 1868 as Merton Clive Cook, to a retired British sea captain and his wife. After his father died, when he was five, his mother, a writer and poet, took the family to the Wyoming Territory where she ran a newspaper. Merton never attended a formal school, but learned to read and write while working in the newspaper office.
    He left home when he was twelve to join a traveling circus, performing as an acrobat and magician. He moved to San Francisco and briefly lived in Seattle. He worked for newspapers, including the San Francisco Call, as a quick sketch artist. 1891 he altered his act to conform to the vaudeville stage, billing himself as “Clivette, The Man in Black”. With his wife, the former Catherine Parker Chamberlin, he toured throughout the United States and Europe on the Orpheum Circuit.
    Around 1907, the year his daughter, Juanyta, was born in New York City, Clivette gave up his stage career and began to paint full-time. He was about 40 years old and was to continue to paint vigorously and prolifically for the remaining 22 years of his life: he produced a body of work numbering more than a thousand works - paintings in oil and tempera and pencil drawings. In all his art there is a recognizably individual stylistic continuity evident in his characteristic brushstroke, paint-handling, use of line, color, composition and subject matter.
    Clivette, with his wife and daughter were a part of the colorful Bohemian life of Greenwich Village in the 1910s and 20’s. He was an active participant in the art world of New York, and his work was exhibited extensively during this period at a number of galleries, among them the Ainslee Art Gallery, the New Gallery and the Anderson Galleries in New York and the M.M. Bernheim-Jeune in Paris. Tim, thinkingink@live.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Feb 2015 - Clivette died 8 May 1931 at a stated age of 68. During his career in magic, he had some beautiful lithographs printed by H C Miner Litho in New York. He was known to have performed with the great Imro Fox (Isador Fuchs 1862-1910). Dave

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4486. Michelle Graves, 20 Feb 2015 - I am trying to locate a friend, Michelle Graves, with whom I worked in Accra, Ghana in 1998-1999. Farida Strege Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4485. John Piazza, 15 Feb 2015 - Did a John/Jon Piazza die in Florida when working for the circus. He would have been born about 1945 and the accident took place sometime in the mid- or late-1990s. Possible in the early 2000s. He might have been with the railroad crew. I am guessing it was near Sarasota. He was born in Edgartown MA and until a few years before his death, he had lived there always. Thank you, Jane Chittick Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4484. Homer Johnson, 11 Feb 2015 - My name is Jane Hoffman from Redwood Falls, Minnesota and my Grandfather, Homer Johnson, told me stories of the circus back when I was 7 or 8. He had a silk top hat, whip and megaphone. I seem to remember a circus poster as well. He spoke of raising the big top with the elephants no matter the weather. The show must go on. He spoke of moving the circus on the railroad across the plains. He said he was a ringmaster. I seem to remember with P.T. Barnum. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1875. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4483. Gladys Mears, 11 Feb 2015 - My name is Heidi Forrester. I am in Seattle, WA. I am looking for any information on a woman named Gladys Wilda (Motherwell) Earl Mears. She was born about 1915 and ended up in Florida about 1960. She married Allan Louis Mears (2nd marriage) and disappears after that. Family lore is that she joined the circus! Trying to find any truth to this story and where she may have ended up! Thank you, Heidi Forrester Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4482. French John, 10 Feb 2015 - In my hometown of Avenel, NJ, just down the street from me, there lived a French Canadian family of a father and his sons who were acrobats, their specialty was riding small, smaller, smallest bikes, often with a brother on a brother's shoulders, etc. They were a traveling act so the performed for a limited time at Madison Square Garden, before moving on. We only knew the father as "French John." When they were performing at MSG and living down our street, it was in the mid to late sixties. I would like more information on this family. Though I have searched for them I have come up with nothing. I tried searching MSG archive acts bicycles acrobats. No photos or blurbs are available. Do you suggest some other way of searching? Thank you, Deb Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Apr 2015 - I wrote to my friend Gastoni in Montreal regarding "French John". Gastoni was the leading agent in Canada and eastern USA. On some weekends at peak fair season he had dozens of acts booked. Gastoni would put together the whole grandstand package. Gastoni wrote: "I booked a small bike and best act around 1960. The people were from Paris, France and they lived close to me in Montreal for a year or so. The bike act included Father, son and grandson. after I booked them they were living in N.J. Then they moved to California. They worked for a number of tours for the Harlem Globetrotters. Then they worked in Las Vegas for many years at Circus Circus. They worked under the name of Romano Troupe, father Antonio and son Charles, wives and kids. The bike was very small with wheels the size of a fifty cent piece and one would ride and pedal it and the other two stood on the others shoulders. They also did a wire act. Hope this helps. Al Stencell

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4481. American Riding Machine, 08 Feb 2015 - Someone knows the name of the American Riding Machine inventor? This device was known for another name in the XIX century? Thank you for answering. Cesar Ortega.ortegacesarf@hotmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Feb 2015 - Spencer Q. Stokes invented the “Stokes mechanic,” which was used in the training of circus riders. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4480. Peter Cardona, 06 Feb 2015 - A few years ago the message board helped me with information about my grandfather, Jean-Pierre Degeilh, who performed in the early twentieth century as Captain Gene Cardona. He died of septic meningitis following a lion attack in Binghamton New York in the summer of 1914. He had two brothers, who performed as Peter and John Cardona, both of whom were working for Sun Brothers in 1910 and 1911. Peter died in Calumet, Michigan on August 1, 1911. The local newspaper (though incorrectly identifying him as John), stated that “in a hand to hand struggle with a lion [he] received such injuries that paralysis set in” and death followed. The Billboard recorded his death in its August 12 issue, correctly identifying him as Peter Cardona. I am interested in finding details of the attack, particularly where and when it occurred. Responses can be sent to the message board or to francis.bremer@millersville.edu. Francis J. Bremer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Feb 2015 - While this isn't the exact answer you are looking for, it helps build your storyline a little bit. The Elmira (NY) Gazette carried a small note on the front page of their September 16, 1903 paper stating Captain Peter Cardona had been attacked by a lioness on a carnival. Men outside the cage were able to force the lioness away. Cardona was taken to a hospital where his wounds were cauterized and he would recover. The incident occurred in Louisville, KY.
        The Billboard carried a small ad in an undetermined issue in the 1902 to 1904 area on page 23 that advertised Capt. Peter Cardona and his trained Cinnamon Bear were availale for bookings. (the search engine wouldn't provide the exact date on this issue)
        The New York Clipper's "Under the Tents" column in their November 20, 1909 issue on page 1030, noted that Peter Cardona was presenting the Sun Troupe of Coliseum elephants and as Prof. Peter Cardona he was in a big steel arena filled with trained wild animals.
        The Billboard mentioned him thrilling the audiences at every performance of the J.S. Robertson's Annex and Family Theater with Sun Shows where he works two African Lions in their July 22, 1911 issue on page 26.
        The Billboard's August 12, 1911 issue announced his death on page 16. He died suddenly in Calumet, MI on August 1st froma complication of diseases. It was his fourth season with the Sun Brothers Shows. He was from France. He was survived by two brothers, John who is on the Sun Bros. Show and by another brother who is on the Smith Greater Shows. He was buried in Calumet, MI. The February 17, 1912 issue of the New York Clipper reported on page 47 the passing of Peter Cardona. The listing simply says Cardona, Peter, animal trainer, Calumet, MI. Aug. 1. I hope this helps a little bit. Bob Cline

    Reply: 10 Feb 2015 - Thanks to Bob Cline. I appreciate the information. Francis J. Bremer

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4479. Karl Hess, 03 Feb 2015 - My name is Sharon and I am looking for any information on a Uncle to my Father, his name was Karl Emil Eduard Claudius Hess born 26 Sep 1874 Linz Austria. He worked for most of his life with the Busch Circus in Frankfurt Germany as a Sequistrian Rider. Any mention of him in a newspaper article would be great! Probably 1894 or later on. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Feb 2015 - I did a quick google search for "Karl Hess, Zirkus Busch", no newspaper articles but there's a photo of him at http://www.circusmuseum.nl/index.php?option=com_memorix&Itemid=26&task=result&searchplugin=category&categorie=Dierendressuur&cp=343&resultplugin=list
        There is a mention of him at http://www.steffi-line.de/archiv_text/nost_film20b40/146_feindt_cilly.htm. He is mentioned again as the tutor of CILLY FEINDT at http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2006_07_01_archive.html. And there are photos of his grave at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6616851. And at http://www.ipernity.com/doc/amsee10-heimsprudler/12268211 (note he spelled his name with a C not a K?). I hope this helps? jim@stockley.co.za

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4478. Yvonne's Dogs, 01 Feb 2015 - Hallo Circus friends, I am still looking for some kind of film footage from the 88th edition, 1958 from Ringling Bros. Or maybe an broadcast in 1959 from the Paul Winchell Show or Captain Kangaroo, my act was Yvonne's Dogs. West Virginia State Fair, August 1959, Gaby-Fofo & Miliki circus in Cuba & Puerto Rico Dec. 1959, Hansa Theater in Hamburg Germany in 1960. Again my act was Yvonne's Dogs. Thank you, Yvonne Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4477. Edward O'Brien, 29 Jan 2015 - Searching for my aunt's father. His name was Edward O'Brien he was a showman. He went into business with Butlins Caravan park. Edward was living in Farmborough, died 1940s. Edward was wanted for murder for a fight with another traveler. Kind regards, Clare Allen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4476. Roy Holt, 28 Jan 2015 - I'm trying to trace my grandad and find out some information on him. His name was Roy Holt. He was the son of Tony Holt and Peggy Holt. The were in the Berturm circus around the 1950/1960s. I have found some articles about him he worked with the horses. If you could help me in any way I would really like to know more about him. Regards, Lucie Holt Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4475. Perry Bros Circus, 26 Jan 2015 - I am trying to track down the names and some detail about some of my relatives who worked for Perry Bros Circus, Unfortunately I don’t know too much other than there was an elephant tamer and a couple of trapeze artists as well as clowns etc. They are related to the Nelson family from Kangaroo Valley in NSW who were horsemen and who also owned the general store and post office ( original owner). Any information would be greatly appreciated. They would have been in the circus around the 1920s to 1950s or so. Regards, Steve Nelson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Jan 2015 - Yes my aunt Doris married Ivan Nelson trained the elephants. Both passed away many years ago my email robert.perry3@bigpond.com. Robert

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4474. Rondoni Bros, 23 Jan 2015 - My name is Silvia C. Rondoni and my greatgrandfather Salvador Rondoni Bordas and his brother Alejandro Rondoni Bordas were acrobatic clows at the circus back in early 1900's. I have a picture of them at Gran Circo Equestre America Show and a poster as The Rondoni's. They arrived in Ellis Island, NYC on August 1913 after a tour from Veracruz, Mexico via La Havana, Cuba and after stopping in NYC, their destination was home in Barcelona, Spain. I would appreciate any information I could find. Thank you very much, Silvia Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4473. Circus 1960-61, 22 Jan 2015 - I remember going to the Circus in Phila in 1960 or 1961. What was the location of the circus during those years? J Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jan 2015 - Beatty-Cole was playing at Front and Erie during that period. Whitey

    Reply: 25 Jan 2015 - I believe Ringling Bros. played at the old Arena in Philadelphia in those years. Robert Momyer

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4472. Mabel McGill, 21 Jan 2015 - My great Grandfather-George Channing Eggleston, of 43rd Street and 4th ave was married to a woman tightrope walker whom he met while working at the Amusement parks of Coney Island. He was working in the theatres doing the lighting and may have worked on movie lighting with early innovators such as Edison. Mabel McGill originally came from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia via Canton or Milton MA. I am sad to say my G-Grandmother left George and later became a street person in NYC where she died of alcoholism. She had three children but no one knew of her death and is buried at Potter's Field in the Bronx. This is a long time ago but I am hoping a circus buff might lead me to some info. Thanks, Gladys Ruth Spongberg Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4471. Frank Adams show, 19 Jan 2015 - Frank Adams was my great grandfather, he had Frank Adams show. I have a bit of information and photo's but not much. I would be happy to share them with you, I was wondering if you might have any photo's or additional articles on my great grandfather. Later my grandfather took over his act but changed the name I believe to the Flying Adams. My father who is now 84 and still living, was part of this act. We can find nothing on them either. Are you able to direct us or send us any information? In my pocession I have the original circus ball (rolling globe) that was used in Frank Adams show. Thank you for your time. Krista Kennison-Weitzel Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jan 2015 - The Frank Adams Shows was active from 1898 to 1905. In 1898 the Frank Adam's Show played Buffalo, Kansas on Aug. 22. In 1901 the Frank Adams' Southern Railroad Shows played Spring City, Tenn. on Sept. 23, 1901 based on a dated letter. This New - Novel - Original show was "Positively the best little railroad show on earth." Frank Adams was listed as the manager and proprietor. It was noted that 'Lushes and Gamblers Save your stamps' This letter to the Goodrich Circus noted "Showman, see ad in Clipper. I want about 6 well trained ponys, not over 6 years old, also about 4 good dogs which must be young. State all that ponys & dogs both do, also give full description of dogs & ponys. Answer at once to Chattanooga, Tenn. address, Frank Adams Southern Railroad Show." After the Chattanooga date the show played Mabelton, Georgia - Oct. 16; Austell, Georgia - Oct. 17; Powder Springs, Ga. - Oct 19; Chattahoochee, Ga. - Oct 19 - Oct. 20 Sunday Off; Fayetteville, Ga. - Oct 21.For the 1904 season the Frank Adams Southern Railroad Show played in May through Missouri,but unfortunately the the towns the show played were too small to have any newspapers or the show did not advertise. The same was true for 1905 when they played the Oklahoma Territory in April and Orrin King who researched the Oklahoma newspapers found no ads. You can check the New York Clipper and Billboard for additional route. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 18 Mar 2015 - Frank Adams was a true itinerant showman, seemingly calling no particular city as his home or base of operations after leaving [St.] Francisville, IL in the mid-1890s. Between 1894 and 1900 he was operating an overland wagon show. Adams moved up to two-car railroad show status in mid-1901 and remained there through circa 1917, when he sold it and converted to motor trucks and highway operations. Mention of him stops after 1922.
        In the trade by 1894, he continued his show career for nearly three decades, to at least 1922. There are various extracts about the Adams show covering 1895 to 1916 on this page of the CHS website: http://www.circushistory.org/History/BriefA.htm. These can be supplemented by additional entries in Clipper [April 28, 1894, 124] and Billboard [February 1905, 11; April 20, 1907, 21; August 3, 1907, 23; July 18, 1908, 46; October 3, 1908, 54; October 15, 1908, 21; July 1, 1911, 25; July 8, 1911, 38; December 14, 1912, 5; December 21, 1912, 37]. Adams was the owner of an elephant by 1909, and at one time had an Asiatic male elephant named Tex, which is likely to be known by other names.
        Adams seems to have gone west as shows crowded into the East, Midwest and South. By 1908 Adams was playing out in California and in 1909 in Oregon. His movements were already focusing on California in 1913, when he routed over to Nevada for a period. [Billboard, August 9, 1913, 32] In 1914 his two-car outfit was playing the lots in Los Angeles and he was touring the state again in 1916. The entire Adams circus was once “arrested” owing to a state humane officer’s actions, per the Stanford (CA) Daily [newspaper title] of February 18, 1916.
        The Adams two-car show, Great Southern Shows, was bought by one of the Jones brothers, said to be J. Augustus (who died September 1, 1918), but perhaps Elmer (who had the two-car Cooper Bros. that started out of Riverside, CA in 1917), at a date before the 1918 season. Moving into the early 1920s, Adams was traveling on trucks. In 1920 he operated the Frank Adams California Show, giving a Bell, CA location for contacts. [Billboard, April 10, 1920, 56] He was active as late as 1922. In a unique move, the Adams show, the Henry Bros. circus and a motion picture outfit gave a back-to-back continuous show that didn’t end until 3 AM. Some of this comes from a recollection of Bob Taber, sent to Chang Reynolds, and now in his papers.
        Unfortunately, Adams generally operated “under the radar” and much of his activity never reached the pages of the outdoor show trade papers. There’s infrequent mention in news columns; his want ads, for employees, appear most frequently. You will likely need to seek him in local newspaper coverage. The Clipper hits are focused in the time period given by John and many do not pertain to the showman of interest, but others of the same name. A simple search for the specific phrase “Frank Adams” yielded 242 hits in New York Clipper online. Given that the OCR isn’t completely comprehensive and there are other terms to reach coverage, you’ll still find dozens of bits of data about him in the journals, as well as in the Billboard issues that are key word searchable at Fulton History. Use Adams name, as well as his show titles (Wagon Show, [Great] Southern [RR--Railroad] Shows, California Show).
        Frank Adams ephemera is very rare. Here’s an example of his letterhead: http://cigarboxlabels.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=101754. There’s a private website on iprnity.com, an image-sharing site, that comes up in a Google image search; it has a photo of the Adams tent marquee with a titled baggage wagon nearby, and perhaps there are more. It is associated with someone named Angelica Paez. She may respond to a private communication. A little over a decade ago someone named Broddick had an interest in the Adams show, specifically one Louise Adams. They were in possession of some photos of the show.
        It would be great if you posted some basic information about your great-grandfather. Other than the informational pieces about his show activity, little else is readily available about him, his origin, early show career and demise. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Aug 2015 - Hello Krista, My name is Marsha Young and my mother's Aunt Louise was married to Frank Adams (I'm thinking Senior). I don't know much but I do have a piece of an elephant tusk that Frank gave to my Great Grandmother Mary Shane LaVigne in (I think the note says 1915 or maybe 1913). Mary Shane LaVigne was Louise's mother. Louise was from Wisconsin and her maiden name was Menoir. I believe her name was Mary Louise Menoir and she had a son (Robert) possibly with Frank. I have a scanned copy of a letter to Louise (the name is wrong on the letter) regarding her son drowning. I have a picture of her sitting on what looks like a rail car with dogs that must be from the show. Does your grandfather know anything regarding any of this part of the history? I know my maternal family arrived in California and my great grandmother Mary said she was done working with the circus. I would love to know anything your family may remember about my great Aunt Louise no matter how good or bad. I know she was also married to a Mr. Boyd and later to Ed Riley. I wonder if she ever got a divorce (LOL). I've attached some information that I've found. Hopefully you can open the docx documents. Please let me know. [Attached graphic files not included here - webmaster] Thank you for your time and submitting your contact. I hope you have something to share with me.

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4470. Leo M Haesle, 19 Jan 2015 - We are researching the life of a band director Leo M Haesle aka Leon M Hoesle that is reported to have been a lead trumpet player with Barnum and Bailey. We believe if this report is accurate that the time period would have been between 1905 and 1915. The B&B circus did stop in Leo’s town of Wausau Wisconsin on August 1, 1907 and that is possibly when he joined. Where do I go to research records of B&B for this time period? Many thanks. John Thorpe Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jan 2015 - You will want to contact the Circus World's Research Library in Baraboo, Wisconsin. They are easily found on the internet. His name may be discovered in their "yellow tickets" of brief reference locations. More importantly may be the Sverre Braathen records on circus bands in their collection. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4469. Peanut the clown, 13 Jan 2015 - I am trying to figure out (while grandpa Baker is alive) any info in clown history about his dad Peanut the clown. I want to make sure all my facts are correct as it is getting harder to understand grandpa when he talks. Secretly I think grandpa is still discruntled as you can read below. The year would have been between 1937-1938 when grandpa was helping his dad sell peanuts at the circus. But the kids could NOT eat them which I believe would have lead to more peanut sales. One family member has a photo. I can not find information on your site. I told Norm Barnhardt I would get an article written for World Clown Association magazine. As I do not wish to look like a fool if I do not have all of the facts. Does this mean Ringling would have to approve the article? I will continue my search and keep you informed. Magically, Laura "Daizy Dee" Anderson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Apr 2015 - In reference to me wanting to find a photo of Peanut the clown. Too late his son died. Now I am really lost but I did get a video of me asking him questions. It would have been nice to have found him a photo of his dad. Laura Anderson

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4468. Nettie Avenarius, 13 Jan 2015 - Nettie Avenarius 1913 signed with circus would like any information. Nettie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Jan 2015 - You mention that she signed with a circus in 1913. How do you know that? Do you have an employment contract perhaps? It would be of great help to you if you knew what circus she was on. There may be a possibility that she was listed in the Billboard in one form or another. You could contact the Circus World Research Library in Baraboo, WI and see if they could do a quick search in their "yellow tickets" of brief notes. If the name was mentioned somewhere in their collection, they could at least tell you where to find the listings. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4467. Ann Russell, 10 Jan 2015 - Any information on Ann Russell. She was flying trapeze. She was married to a dan allen, he worked the games. Debbie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4466. Joe Kassino, 09 Jan 2015 - I would like to find some more information, perhaps some documentation on my great granduncle, Joe Kassino. He was a midget/clown/clarinetist in the Barnum and Bailey circus. The leader among a "troupe" of other midgets. Any information you can provide would be great! Adam Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Mar 2015 - The midget troupe organized by Joe Kassino was documented in several photographs taken by Chicago photographer Harry Atwell and amateur photographer Pete Mardo, a well-known circus clown. Two of the Atwell images can be accessed on the Circus World Museum’s collections online. Simply enter “Kassino” in the search block. I recall another image, or a goat cart, on which they hauled a hand-cranked street organ.
        They are best known today for walk around presentations. One portrays them in a skit provoking fun about Ellis Island immigration; in another skit one member wore an oversize costume, with doors in the belly area that opened to reveal a small dog. They may have participated in other clown interludes, perhaps the firehouse skit and others.
        The name was published in a variety of ways, Kassino, Cassino and also Casino. The troupe was with Ringling-Barnum, Sells-Floto (by memory) and perhaps others, starting in the early 1920s. Unfortunately, Billboard magazine for that decade isn’t yet available online. A quick check of the New York Clipper yielded one hit, for a Joe Kassino who sold his Borough Park residence and relocated to a 75-acre farm near Warwick, MA. No other or clarifying information is available. [December 2, 1911, p14]. The entry begs the question if he may have been active on the vaudeville or variety stage. Kassino’s name may have been concealed by an act or stage name.
        You can get a quick start on the Kassino troupe activities by contacting Pete Shrake at the CWM library and asking for copies or scans of all the relevant yellow tickets (a name finding aid) for Kassino and spelling variations thereon, the act name and the participants’ names. That will delineate most of their circus employment and lead to the discovery of other documentation, or suggest further places to look. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 02 Apr 2015 - “The Two Casinos” is how the presentation started on Ringling Bros. in 1908, “The Great Casinos” also being used in some instances. By 1910 there were three Casinos, the number growing to six by 1922 on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and then to eight for 1925-1926. They were termed clowns and pantomimists, meaning that they did the usual sight gags then common to big top clowning. Though some years lack documentation, it appears their run on Ringling and then Ringling-Barnum endured constantly from 1908 through 1926, inclusive. From 1927 through 1929 they were with the American Circus Corporation’s Sells-Floto outfit, where the trio used a changed spelling, presented as the Kassino Komics and Kassino Midgets. They had their own dressing top, with their name painted on the sidewall. Joe headed the troupe. One of their skits involved a goat cart on which was mounted a hand-cranked street organ. Their whereabouts in 1930-1931 are unknown, the last known booking was as the Three Casinos on Ringling-owned Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1932. Joe and Andrew were named in 1914 (continuing through 1924 and 1926, respectively), Jing in 1916-1917, Picollo in 1918 and Lester in 1928. It’s not clear if they were all Casino family members. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4465. RBBB, 1945-46, 03 Jan 2015 - I am reaching out to you because I thought that you, as well as the entire circus community might enjoy this piece of circus history. Through unexpected circumstances, I’ve inherited my grandmother’s photo album. Hundred of circus pictures are displayed on crumbling construction paper and bound in leather. There are pictures of famous clowns, well known acts, performers’ headshots, circus animals, newspaper clippings and much more. I could not bear the thought of these photos sitting in a box forever; they need to be preserved and beg to be seen. I decided to exhibit these photos digitally, through a website. I built this website partly as a personal interest project, and partly as a holiday gift for my mom. Now, I want to share it with everyone in the circus community and beyond. This virtual photo album details Yvonne Carewe’s (my grandmother’s) life and travels with the Ringling Brother's Barnum and Bailey Circus between the 1945 and 1946 seasons. Please take a moment to visit the website and view the galleries; feel free to contribute more information about the photos, start a discussion, and share the website with anyone who may be interested. www.inthecircus.com. Thank you so much, Justin Smith Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4464. Reid Bros Circus, 01 Jan 2015 - In the 1980's Reid Brothers Circus was based in Coos Bay, Oregon. It was owned by John and Betty Reid. They did not have animals. They just booked acts and took them out on the circus tour. What happened to John and Betty and their circus? If they passed away when and where? Was either or John's sons Scott or Robert ever involved in running the circus. I knew them back in the late 70's early 80's and would like to know what became of this family. Thanks, Everett Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4463. Circus, NYC, 27 Dec 2014 - I'm trying to find resources about the circus in NYC in the late 1930s/early 1940s. My father went to NYC about then and joined the circus (strong man). He left and later returned (high-wire walker). If you could point me in the direction of how best to research this, I'd be very grateful. In a perfect world, I'd be able to find some photographs that include him (though I understand this is unlikely or at least very difficult). Any advice or resources you can provide will be very appreciated. Thanks! Shana Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Dec 2014 - Except for rare instances, such as when the name of a birth parent is unknown, the search for biographical and genealogical information, both textual and image types, commences with the establishment of the person’s name. It’s fundamental, it’s their name that serves as the recognized “authority” for the assignment and organization of information. So, before going too far, some searching by his given name and/or nicknames, or stage name, act name, or known aliases would be in order so that the search doesn’t immediately go astray or become a dead end. Some people succeeded in living “below the radar,” but not many.
        It’s best to establish an anchorage with a reference-documented chronology of his life (birth, schooling, marriage/divorce, children) and then gain some principal residence and employment information. Sometimes it works in reverse, going from employment to residence and then family history; it all depends upon what data is in hand or readily discovered. By all means, rely upon primary documentation as opposed to secondary and tertiary references. With a basic framework in hand, the larger story can be developed, images located, etc.
        Men who were in the show trade as “strong men” (a generic identity that includes a variety of performing methods and acts) could have been in a circus side show, and sometimes in the big top rings or stages, but also with a carnival, a dime museum, an amusement park and even on the vaudeville stage. Through time, the telling of the “story” becomes blurred and all of the public engagements become known as “circus.” High wire performance is more typically a circus specialty, though it may have been practiced outdoors, at fairground and amusement park bookings or with a carnival as a free act, or on an indoor stage. Finding a strong man image might be tough, but most high wire walkers left some residual legacy.
        You can try contacting Social Security to determine if they have any employment records for him; that activity was started in the 1930s. Locally, for New York City, there are 1930 and 1940 censuses; city directories; digitized newspapers; weekly trade magazines (Billboard is available online from c1940 onwards in Google Books); library, historical and archival holdings; and much, much more. The Circus World Museum library has name-finding aid called the “yellow tickets” that contains several hundred thousand listings abstracted from various documents. There is also the Draper file of magazine abstracts. A simple Google or other search can sometimes turn up extraordinary things. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4462. Gilleno Brothers, 27 Dec 2014 - I’m looking for some info on some posters of my family’s, Gilleno & Leonard's Combination, Gilleno Brothers. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4461. Joseph Keeley, 20 Dec 2014 - Joseph Keeley was in Calais during February 1880. Lovett and Keeley’s American circus were in Louder and Earlston, Scotland during May 1885. Keeley and Hogins American circus were in Beauley, near Inverness, Scotland during August 1885. Keeley and Hoguie circus were in Perth during September 1885.
    Keeley and Patterson’s United States circus were in: Belfast, Ireland during July 1886; were in Limerick , Ireland during February 1887; Dublin, Ireland during July 1887; Macroom and Mill Street, Ireland during May 1888; Cork during May 1889; Tralee, Ireland during May 1889; Galway and Tuam, Ireland during June 1889; Kings county, Ireland during July 1889; Dundalk, Ireland during August 1889; Lisburn, Ireland during August 1889; Balymena, Ireland during October 1889; Castle Pollard and Mullingar during April 1890; Sligo, Ireland during June 1890; Queens-town, Ireland during July 1890; Lisnaskea, Ireland during February 1891; Skibbereen, Ireland during February 1891; Clonmel, Ireland during May 1891
    Can anyone help me find more information on Joseph Keeley, my great great grandfather. He was originally a canvas man and travelled for 15 years with Batty of Astley’s, London and Howe & Cusings American circus while in England between 1851 and 1866. I believe he then went to America care of Smith & Green, 14 Courtland Street, New York. The circus continued to operate under Keeley & Patterson after Johnny Ptterson’s death in May 1889 Not sure if it was because Johnny’s widow then married Joseph Keeley and wanted to keep Johnny’s name alive or Johnny’s eldest son, also called Johnny, was an apprentice at the time and possibly became a partner. I look forward to finding out more, Sheila Sexton Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Dec 2014 - Joseph Keeley sought an engagement as a “boss canvasman” in North America via his advertisement in the New York Clipper, October 11, 1879, page 35. Is there any evidence in immigration documentation that he actually crossed the Atlantic? That would be the first step towards tracing his career. A Heritagequest search of the 1870 U. S. census yielded no hits for an Australian-born Joseph Keeley; but there were three from Ireland, but none were showmen, all being laborers; but there may be additional hits in www.ancestry.com.
        If the online biography of one-time partner Johnny Patterson is accurate, Keeley was an Australian native, suggesting that oceanic travel wasn’t an issue for him. You might start your search by looking for such data in www.ancestry.com or other immigration resources. The name “Joseph Keeley” doesn’t appear in the pages of the Clipper other than the one time, nor does “Joe Keeley” or Keeley+canvas/pavilion/top or other relevant combinations. Not all shows published staff rosters and not all of those that exist are in the pages of Clipper, so a search isn’t 100% comprehensive. Given the next earliest reference in 1880 is in Calais, France, have you looked for him on the continent, where tent operations were introduced after those of North America and England?
        The British publication, “The Era,” is now available in digitized form through a British library holding. I assume that you’ve already searched that journal for him, given the European findings spanning 1880-1891. You might also try the Australian and New Zealand newspapers, which are also available online.
        There were several challenges to Keeley’s gaining a position here. American showmen often communicated via Clipper office in New York, a simple proposition well-known in the trade; his methodology was a bit different. The identity of Smith & Green hasn’t been learned; they may have been lawyers, or another firm capable of handling international correspondence, which he recruited to serve as a point of communication on his behalf. The 1865 Lain’s directory lists a firm of Smith & [John P.] Green, but at 606 Broadway, activity given as “eatingh,” which is a mystery to me unless it’s a truncated “eating house,” meaning perhaps a restaurant, or a tavern/pub that served food. M. Martin, an importer and dealer in glassware, was upstairs at the 14 Courtlandt Street address c1866. You can find directories at: https://sites.google.com/site/onlinedirectorysite/Home/usa/ny/newyorkcity
        “Boss canvasman,” while seemingly self-evident as a descriptive title, had almost no use in Clipper until that time, appearing just once before, in 1865, and less than ten times by 1871, mostly with dramatic show operations and not circuses. Other job titles were presumably more commonly used in the American trade, though “canvas outfit” was known; “pavilion” was used to designate tents starting in 1825 and continuing to the 1870s, with “tops” also being used.
        The American firm traveling in England was Howes & Cushing, Howe being a mis-spelling or typo; the initial proprietor was Seth Howes, with nephews Egbert and Elbert involved. It seems a bit unusual that Keeley wasn’t asked to come to the USA by Seth Howes, or his nephews, all of whom would have been familiar with Keeley and his abilities.
        While he rose in the ranks in England, tent operations in the USA were generally of a greater order of magnitude than in Europe. Here the shows were multiple tents, in the 1860s housing the ring circus, a menagerie of animals and side shows, plus concession tents, the “three tent circus” becoming something of a standard in the 1870s. His capability as a critical department head may have been unclear to showmen other than the Howes family. Great Britain had no tent circuses until the American rider Richard Sands brought one over in 1842. His lead was followed by William Batty in 1843, who started with a second hand (and slightly larger) canvas 65 feet tall and slightly less than 100 feet in diameter. It’s portrayed in an engraving by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd published in 1842, when it was used in the laying of the first stone for the Royal Exchange in London. There’s more about the evolution of circus pavilions in “The American Circus Tent,” an essay in Susan L. Weber et al, “The American Circus,” (New Haven: Bard Graduate Center, 2012), 200-231. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 27 Dec 2014 - Wow … somebody knows his stuff! You’ve given me a lot to work on, thanks. All the dates were taken from adverts and snippets in newspapers found from one source or another. I’m not convinced that he was an Australian by birth. I was always told that the family probably left Ireland during the potato famine. No idea if they emigrated to Australia or not. All my connections have been in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The advert in the NYC for Boss Canvasman states that he had been working in England for 15 years. So if he became an apprentice with the circus, say when he was 14, then he must have had reason to return to England when he was a very young child. I think it’s more likely that as he worked in Australia for a while, somebody assumed that he was born there. Shelia

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4460. Victoria Cortez, 20 Dec 2014 - What happend to Vicky Victoria Cortez wife to Joseph Bouglione. Monessa Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4459. Great Suzette, 19 Dec 2014 - I am seeking information on a juggling, weightlifter and slack rope walker act known as Suzette, Suzenette, The great Suzette. Her full name was Susie (Jarvis) Brown. Her time period would have been from the late 1800's through the 1930's. She may have performed with an act that went by Clark. Susie Jarvis Brown was my great grandmother and I am interested in her act. Sincerely, Gary C. Surber Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4458. Jim Horn, 18 Dec 2014 - Looking for any and all information on my dad, Jim Horn, strongman, the mighty Escobar. My email is alaskausa8@gmail.com. Thank you, Sandy [also see message 1749] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Dec 2014 - If you do a Google Books advanced search, limit the title to “Billboard” and search for the specific phrase “Jim Escobar,” you will receive eight hits for that name spanning 1949-1957. Mostly they were ads seeking him, to join a sideshow. He must have been known in the trade. One specific affiliation was his position as side show manager with Page Bros. Shows, a carnival out of Springfield, TN in 1950. It specified his residence as Bridgeport, CT. Jim Escabar, spelled with an “a,” joined the Page Bros. show with kid rides and concessions in September 1954; perhaps his performing days may have been over. Characterized as a side show strong man in 1957, he was then visiting a friend, Curley Moore, with the World of Pleasure Shows.
        William Ewing Page (1909-1983), aka “W. E.” and “Shotgun” (“Long Barrel” is on his gravestone) was the proprietor of Page Bros. Between circa 1946 and 1964 he operated one or more motorized carnivals (Page Bros. Shows, Volunteer Shows, Reed Amusement Co., Cardinal State Shows-1964) and circuses (Henson Bros. Circus, Page Bros. Circus), and sometimes combined the two entities into a carnival and circus, even owning an elephant at times. He was resident in his hometown of Russellville, KY (address 850 Cherry Street) from as early as 1978 to as late as 1983. His wife, Inez Baker Page (1908-1983), passed away on February 24 and he died there November 23 and both were interred in Maple Grove Cemetery. It’s unknown if they had survivors or passed their heritage materials to others; he mentioned extreme loneliness after his wife passed and sought someone to live with him, having a residence to share and an auto to enable visits to many shows.
        There were no relevant hits for James or Jim Horn, or Mighty Escobar/Escabar. The Google holdings cover only c1940-1960 and those on Fulton History only go up to the early 1920s and provided no additional hits. You’ll need to pursue him in 1930s "Billboard" issues on ProQuest, a paid service. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4457. James M. Cole, 16 Dec 2014 - Can you please tell me the year James M. Cole was born and the year he passed on? Many thanks in advance, Steve Koschal, Colorado Springs, CO Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Apr 2015 - A Sarasota newspaper reported that James M. Cole was born on January 11, 1906 in Penn Yan, NY and died at Sarasota, FL on December 19, 1992. You could check governmental unit records to confirm these dates. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4456. T. J. Tidwell shows, 13 Dec 2014 - I'm looking for info on T. J. Tidwell shows. My dad Raymond (captn) trained elephants for them. Elephants names were Babe and Queenie. My mom danced in the girl show. Around the 40's early 50's. My dad walked with a limp on the right leg. I was born an traveled with the show till I was 5 yrs old. Please send info to email veronicakilleen9@Gmail.com. I'm also wishing photos of em. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Dec 2014 - T. J. Tidwell Shows are listed in Joe McKennon’s book as operational 1926-1958, though they advertised their 1951 tour as the show’s 27th annual. Sweetwater, TX appears to have been their base of operations in at least some years. The best continuum of knowledge about the operation will be the pages of the weekly magazine Billboard. The issues for the 1940s-1950s, when your parents were with it, can be searched online via Google Books. There are many hits [nearly 300] therein for T. J. Tidwell Shows and such, but nothing for Raymond Killeen or Capt. Killeen. The one entry for Raymond Killeen was for the elephant man that joined the Cole & Walters circus at Sebeka, Minnesota in mid-1950 [Billboard, August 5, 1950, page 60]. That show was owned by Herb Walters and Dores “D. R.” Miller.
        In 1947, Tidwell owned an elephant identified as Alice [Billboard, November 8, 1947, page 52]. That is in conflict with reports placing Queenie there in 1943 and 1945, when John Alexander was named as her keeper. A 1952-published census of elephants [Billboard, April 12, 1952] lists only Queenie as being with Tidwell. She was acquired in 1939 from Crowley United Shows. Tidwell advertised for Clyde Talbert to contact him, writing “Queenie needs you,” suggesting that he was in need of a man to handle her in the fall of 1949 [Billboard, October 22, 1949, page 43]. Tidwell again advertised for an elephant man in mid-1954 [Billboard, August 21, 1954, page 65]. The Tidwell-owned elephant named Queenie died in a highway mishap on May 22, 1955 [Billboard, June 4, 1955, page 54; the June 4 date is given elsewhere, but appears to be in error]. The following year Tidwell advertised again for an elephant man, to handle a baby elephant, suggesting he’d replaced Queenie. Queenie’s 1922-1955 existence is here: http://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=3350
        There was an animal known as Cross Country Babe, aka “Big Babe,” [Billboard, June 17, 1950, page 84; September 25, 1954, page 75 and October 14, 1957, page 64] with the United Exposition Shows in 1948-1959, C. A. “Curley” Vernon, manager and proprietor. Cross Country Babe’s 1911-1959 existence is summarized here: http://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=2804
        Vernon put out a call for elephant help in mid-1950, asking Red Killeen to wire or call. It was to handle a very gentle carnival elephant, for winter dates, and they had to drive the truck [Billboard, August 19, 1950, pages 62 and 70]. Red Killeen was noted as being with T. J. Tidwell Shows in Texas in late 1950, handling Queenie. The Tidwell outfit’s two girl shows were then managed by Kitty McCanless and Hillbilly Tunnell [Billboard, November 11, 1950, page 64]. An image of Cross Country Babe on United Exposition Shows can be seen here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1954-Cross-Country-Babe-circus-elephant-photo-United-Exposition-scarce-trade-ad-/310369647143 ; it was clipped from Billboard, November 27, 1954, page 71.
        You might be able to locate a photo of Raymond “Red” Killeen with Cole & Walters; circus photos, while not common per se, are more readily found than carnival shots. Killeen may also be included in the yellow tickets finding aid in the Circus World Museum library. A Google image search revealed a photograph of the 1951 Cole & Walters bull truck, likely the same one employed in 1950. Other Cole & Walters photos from that time frame can also be viewed in the online Buckles Blog. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4455. M. L. Clark Circus, 13 Dec 2014 - My great-grandmother, Pearl Clark LaComa, was the daughter of M. L. Clark of the M. L. Clark and Son’s Combined Shows. Using information from my grandmother (Juanita LaComa Zimmerman) and from more than two years of research, I wrote a children’s book called Little Pearl’s Circus about Pearl’s early years. In the back of the book are family photos of Pearl and of some of the animals. It’s available on Amazon. Charmain Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4454. Alan Gold, 13 Dec 2014 - Is Alan Gold the lion tamer still living? Lucas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Dec 2014 - Yes! He's living in Hawaii. You can find him on Facebook. Bob Cline

    Reply: 30 Dec 2014 - Hey Bob, I searched for Alan Gold the lion tamer on facebook but I can’t find him anywhere. I mean Alan Gold is my favorite circus performer ever and I went on the internet finding stuff on him but I can’t find anything good. Is there a way to search for him on facebook if not maybe somewhere on the internet that I could lookup stuff on him. Please write back and let me know. Thank you. Lucas

    Reply: 11 Jan 2015 - Alan Gold was his performing name. Look under Goldberg. Bob

    Reply: 23 Jan 2015 - I was just wondering is Alan Gold from Europe and what year was he born. Thank you, Lucas j. Walker

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4453. Hoosick Falls, NY, 12 Dec 2014 - I was looking at your site and was surprised to find that a circus was based here, Hoosick Falls NY Finn. Do you know of any photo's? Thank you, Kevin F. O'Malley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Dec 2014 - The most prominent traveling showman associated with Hoosick Falls was Thomas L. Finn (1871?-1942). You can read an obituary for him in Billboard, May 16, 1942, page 35, in Google Books. There should also be coverage in the local newspaper and those in nearby communities. His death occurred on May 4, 1942, the result of a jaw infection. His community of residence also became the home for other showmen who were employed by him; you will find their names in association with Hoosick Falls, too.
        Nowhere did I find mention of his birth and youth, or any family other than a wife — no siblings or children; some genealogical searching will be necessary to delineate his origins before he started to troop. The 1880 census (T9/921/223 B) lists an 8-year old Thomas Finn, son of Thomas (age 33?) and Catherine (age 37?) Finn in Hoosick Falls. Their occupations and other data aren’t legible. Thus, the showman ay have been born in the city, or at least lived there from his youth onwards. There was no hit for a Thomas Finn in the 1900 census. The 1910 census (T624/1069/115) lists Thomas L. (age 38), a showman, married to Mary A. his wife (age 38), but with a father named John (maybe Mary’s father?) resident with them at 125 Railroad Avenue. Finn was born in New York, from Irish immigrant parents. The 1920 census entries (T625/1256/95) are the same, but add ten years to the ages. They resided at 143 Church Street. The 1930 and 1940 entries may be available in ancestry.com.
        Finn could have gained knowledge of magic, ventriloquism and other personal skills from books, mail order “how to” volumes or booklets, or an amenable veteran, and once having mastered them responded to an advertisement to join a show. There were always advertisements in the weekly New York Clipper for entry level showmen spots with small circuses. He may also have joined a troupe that passed through the Hoosick Falls area; they were passing through as early as 1880. There’s also the possibility that he joined out in 1890 as a workingman, or concessionaire, and then acquired performance skills while laboring before booking a performance job in 1894.
        Finn’s career had ups and downs and it would require a year-by-year chronology to provide a complete analysis of his life. One account termed him a “perennial” showman, suggesting a “never say die” and “tomorrow will be better” attitude towards the unrelenting challenges of a traveling show life. He became active in the circus business as a teenager in 1890, owned his own circus(es), and later operated a traveling Uncle Tom’s Cabin show (partner with Sig Sautelle in 1917). His show activity spanned his entire adult working life. His shows were overland, railroad and later truck show type aggregations.
        A paragraphs-long discussion of Finn’s early performing days appears in Ryan Howard’s book, “Punch and Judy in 19th Century America: A History and Biographical Dictionary” (2013), page 147. It covers his early years as a Punch and Judy show presenter, as well as mentioning his additional skills as a magician, ventriloquist and side show talker. He was in the employ of other showmen until he accrued adequate capital to inaugurate his own show. The Howard account is based largely on references extracted from the weekly trade journal “New York Clipper,” which you can search online at Illinois Digital Newspapers Collection. His findings started in 1894, but Finn’s obituary places him with shows by 1890. There will be many references to Finn there, as well as in the early issues of Billboard that can be searched on Google Books and Fulton History. When searching, be sure to use different variations on his name, including last name, first name, various show titles, etc. When Finn concluded his show operations he reverted to a career as a magician, which he sustained until his death.
        During his career Finn was associated with circus men Charles Lee (Canton, PA), and Andrew Downie and Sig Sautelle, who were New York State showmen (Medina; and DeRuyter, Homer and elsewhere) with similar careers. A 1904 account stated it was his sixth season, so perhaps he went out on his own for the first time in 1899, when he had the London Novelty Shows, a traveling variety show in a tent. His most prominent circus was said to have used the Great Eastern title in 1913; it was liquidated in 1914. Extracts from 1906 and 1913 journals can be found here: http://www.circushistory.org/History/BriefF.htm ; for 1900-1907 here: http://www.circushistory.org/Clipper/Clipper1900s.htm; and 1913 to 1914 at: http://www.circushistory.org/Clipper/Clipper1910s.htm. A quick search check at the online Fulton History gave 131 hits for “Thomas L. Finn” spanning the first four decades of the 20th century, maybe a third of which were for the showman. There were 146 hits for “Thos. L. Finn,” a common way he styled his name.
        Harry Birdoff’s tribute to Tom shows, “World’s Greatest Hit,” will be another resource on Finn and his UTC days (see page 386 and more). Slout’s “Olympians of the Sawdust Circle,” on the CHS website, includes references to Finn’s associates (Lee, Sautelle and Downie, whose real name was McPhee). Here’s a link to a Finn UTC handbill: http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/onstage/bills3/osnypl17f.html. It is part of a larger site about UTC productions.
        Finn’s 1922 motorized UTC show was said by some to be the first to tour on pneumatic rubber tires, pre-dating what is considered the first successful motorized circus tour, that of Andrew Downie’s 1926 Downie Bros. Circus. He had a UTC company on tour as late as 1935, according to one source. Other stories about Finn’s UTC, which were the subject of a months-long controversy, are in the Billboard issues of: November 27, 1948 issue, page 53; January 15, 1949, page 48; February 5, 1949, page 51; and January 28, 1950, page 49.
        There are a few rare photographs of some of his vehicles, and perhaps his UTC show. A set of four photographs document two small, carving-ornamented wagons, a small cage wagon and a boy with a small horse. The set is in the possession of CHS member John Polacsek. The three vehicles all bear the title “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” on them, the reverse sides inscribed and signed by “T. L. F.” and “Thos. L. Finn.” He circulated them in an attempt to sell the vehicles. The topography of Hoosick Falls may be partially visible in the background of three of the photos; they were taken on a farm at the edge of a city, with a church on a rise in the background; but the scene didn’t resemble any available Hoosick Falls images that are online. Two were small tableaus that served earlier on the Sparks Circus, c1905-1912, one outfitted internally as a ticket wagon and the other as a small band tableau with three seats on top. The Sparks wagons were bought in early 1913 and seem to fit the description of circus wagons Finn offered to sell in February 1914; but the UTC title on them suggests retention until later. I recall that there may also be some overviews of his entire UTC show, possibly including a parade mount. Contact Pete Shrake at the Circus World Museum library and ask him to check both allied shows holdings and also the envelopes of small allied shows in the Richard E. Conover collection purchase.
        No one has recently researched Finn’s career, in the time when so much information is literally available at one’s fingertips. It would make for an interesting and challenging project, a life unique in Hoosick Falls annals. It was announced in the August 7, 1948 issue of Billboard, page 44, that someone named Wilbert E. Clay planned to write a book about Finn’s show, but I’ve never seen reference to it; perhaps a partial manuscript survives somewhere in Hoosick Falls, with other Finn documentation? You might start with a search for a local obituary, mentioning any family or friends, or his long time manager, Phil J. Holton, manager of the Greater Cambridge Fair, who was with him at the time of his passing. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 28 Dec 2014 - One of Finn’s former Sparks Circus wagons, presumably photographed in the vicinity of Hoosic Falls in the 1910s when it was with his Uncle Tom’s Cabin outfit, can be viewed as “Odd Lot #5” here: http://circustents.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html. It turned up in a search for Sparks wagons because that name is incorporated in the posted file name. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4452. Dumont, NJ, 12 Dec 2014 - I remember a circus that came to our town, Dumont NJ in Bergen County, each spring. A smaller size troupe, elephants worked & performed, small side show, and after main show there was a wild west show, extra cost. This was in the late 1940s. Any information welcome. I thought it was a branch of Cole Bros but have not found info to date, so any information would be welcome. Thanks Bill Kneissl Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Dec 2014 - Dumont, New Jersey was played by the Hunt Bros. Circus on May 27-28, 1945 and also on May 30 1947. Check the local newspapers for additional information. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection.

    Reply: 21 Dec 2014 - Thanks, Ted for the correct info. Bill

    Reply: 28 Aug 2016 - It must have been the May, 1947 show that I remember. We just lived in Dumont for one year and our back yard was across the street from the large lot where they set up. I was 10 at the time but I evidently was old enough to feel authorized by my parents to allow two men who came to our back gate to hook up their hose "so they could have water for their elephants"! That circus and especially that incident have stuck in my mind for many years. Dan

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4451. Susan Etta, 12 Dec 2014 - I am looking for information on a performer known as Susan Etta The Great. aka, Susie Jarvis Brown, Susie Jarvis. Her act included the slack rope, canon ball juggler and weight lifter/strong woman. She lifted with her teeth. Please, contact me with any information. Thank you, Gary C. Surber, gcsurber@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4450. Ahmed Marchanny, 08 Dec 2014 - Seeking information on Ahmed Marchanny, a tumbler from Morrocco. His family troop were perhaps called the Marchanny Brothers. Ahmed was my grandfather. Thanks, William T. Setzer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Dec 2014 - It would be fundamentally helpful to have a bit more information about your grandfather, if you have knowledge of it. There were no hits solely for his name alone. The challenge is that most tumbler act names, like Marchanny Bros., shielded the individual performer names. Such troupes were active from the latter half of the 19th century until recent times. Can you advise: any known aliases or stage name(s), or name spelling variations; life span; general period of performance activity; year(s) of immigration or return; continent(s) of activity; any associates, family or friends also with him; name of person booking the act; the act name?
        The online site Circopedia has some information, but is unavailable at the moment owing to hacker activity; it comes up with a search for Marchanny. George Hamid’s book has some good material about foreign tumbler troupes that you may find of general interest. Much more can be garnered, but there needs to be a point of origin from which to start, and some idea as to his time and area of activity. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4449. Loop-the-loop act, 04 Dec 2014 - My name is Louis Lhomel, I’m a cinematographer from Montreal, Canada doing a documentary project on the subject regarding the loop-the-loop act on a bicycle. I’m following Matt Macduff, an ever-increasing legendary status mountain bike rider as he attempts to break the world record by riding a 40 feet-tall loop. The record was 23 feet, which was set back in 1902. The objective of the documentary is to tell the story of the pioneers: the loopers, those of which have pushed the limits of what’s possible for a human being to do. Along the journey not only will I be showcasing the story and history of these pioneers, but more than a hundred years later; we will live the making of a new history being made. In an attempt to showcase this history as accurately as possible, I’m trying to gather as much adequately sound information as possible regarding the loop act. I’ve rigorously searched both newspaper, and Internet archives and that’s where I came across you. I was wondering if you could aid, and or direct my search in any way shape or form for the gathering of information on those loopers phase. If this is not a possibility, then perhaps you can put me in contact with somebody who could. Any help, direction, or information no matter how big or small would be greatly appreciated. I thank you dearly in advance for your time, and efforts, Louis Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Dec 2014 - I don't believe that anyone has composed a well-researched and documented article, or book, about all bicycle loop-the-loop acts at the circus per se. These enjoyed a heyday in the 1890s to 1900s, some at circuses, others at amusement parks, agricultural fairs, etc. There were also auto loopers, which are a different category, being internal combustion engine or gravity powered.
        There was one article published about mechanical thrill acts, authored by Fred D. Pfening Jr. and published in the CHS journal Bandwagon, "Circus Loop the Loop Acts," which can be accessed online here: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1969May.htm It surveys the most famous acts that were signed by circuses. There is a chapter about daredevils in the Taschen book "Circus." That's perhaps the most recent work on the topic.
        The story of the loopers will be generally told by researching the names of the practitioners, like Diavolo (a name used by more than one performer), Ancilotti, etc., and associated inventors. Googling, searching newspapers, etc., will provide the most important names. You can also pursue them in the pages of the weekly trade journal "New York Clipper, which can be searched at Illinois Digital Newspapers Collection. I just entered the phrase "loop the loop" there and had 188 hits. Searching by act names will amplify the material available. You can do the same specific phrase search in Google Books Advanced Search, and also Fulton History, both of which have issues on Billboard, particularly Fulton, covering 1894 to the 1920s. With the performer names in hand, and the titles of the shows with which they appeared, you can then access other material filed under those headings, in specific years. There are lithographs, handbills, photographs, textual materials, and at least one patent.
        I believe that there's a file on loop the loop thrill acts in the Circus World Museum library vertical file. One patent (783,812, 1905, to Ancilotti) pertains to a loop with a gap in it. Another patent may pertain to a conventional spiral loop, or one that had a pivoting lower arc piece, in one position on the down ride into the loop and pivoting to another for the exit from the loop. The basic loop act design was likely public domain. Circus World Museum and the Ringling Museum both have online collection materials, lithographs and posters, that will be pertinent to your search.
        An issue with the roller coaster loopers was the change from a circular to an oval-shaped loop, so as to avoid neck injury. I don't think the same issue afflicted the bicycle riders. Their loops seem to have been nominally circular. There is a great article about speed at the turn of the century, covering trains, autos, roller coasters and loopers, I believe. Seek out: William J. Lampton, "The Fascination of Fast Motion," Cosmopolitan, XXXIII, 2, June 1902, 123-136. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 Jan 2015 - In the circusmuseum.nl/eng collection there are two posters one from 1903 picturing a loop bicycle act. Search voor “loop”. Try also “fietsen”. Herman Voogd

    Reply: 19 Feb 2015 - See the cover of the May-June 2006 issue of Bandwagon. It has a great colorized image of Diavolo in his devil costume in front of the loop-the-loop apparatus. The second or third page of this issue has a short article about Diavolo. Since I wrote that piece, I discovered that the original Diavolo was a guy from Columbus, Ohio named Conn Baker, who was a well-known bicycle racer. Fred Dahlinger is correct; there were others using the Diavolo name. The Ringling Museum has a few wonderful posters of Diavolo. Fred Pfening III

    Reply: 03 Mar 2015 - The loop the loop act was also performed on the stage of the Avenue Theater in Detroit, Michigan according to a May 24, 1903 review in the Detroit News Tribune. The daredevil was Tony Castellane and the week before he was in Cleveland, Ohio where the Cleveland Leader printed the following as their reporter was behind the scenes and examined the wheel (bike) which was made of heavy steel tubing and weighed 65 pounds. "His incline is about 30 feet long and 16 feet high at the point where the rider starts. It is 30 inches wide until the top of the circle is reached, when it widens to 38 inches. This circle is only 10 feet high." It was also noted in the article that "There is no chance for the rider to pedal, so there are no pedals on the wheel. In their place are two strong bars for him to rest his feet on and brace himself. He really doesn't ride, he "coasts". A photo of the loop the loop was also included in the article. John Polacsek

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4448. Swedish contortionist, 04 Dec 2014 - My great grandfather was a Swedish Contortionist who traveled with a circus. He was passing through town and left my great grandmother pregnant. I don't know his name, but I know where he would be and approximately when. Do you have any Swedish circus connections or advice on how to find out who he was? Herrljunga, Vastra Gotland, Sweden, March/April of 1918. Kirsten Chan, Worthington, Ohio Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Dec 2014 - I suggest you to contact Johan Vinberg of the Swedish Circus Academy. Johan’s mail address is johan.vinberg@tele2.se. Kind regards, Ole Simonsen, Danish Circus Friends Association, www.circus-dk.dk

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4447. High Pockets Baudendistel, 02 Dec 2014 - I was wondering if your have any information regarding Clyde "High Pockets" Baudendistel. He was an elephant trainer for Sells Floto and at some point the Barnum and Bailey circus during the period of the 20's to the 50's. He was my great grand mother's 3rd husband and for what ever reason I have a few items that belonged to him and some circus pictures. He's just an interesting character in a very strange family history and I would like to know more about him. Thanks, Diana Gosliga Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Dec 2014 - Buckles Woodcock, in a December 2, 2014 posting on his blog, provided you with Baudendistil’s circus employment from as early as 1912 to as late as 1931, with a gap from 1913 to 1919. That span is covered by the duration of the “Great War,” so perhaps he served in the military at that time? Some online researching revealed a few more items. The Woodcock blog-posted portrait of “C. H. Baudendistel (Highpocket)” is from Billboard, May 15, 1920, page 50, which can be found in the Fulton History website. The Cook & Cole show mentioned in Col. Woodcock’s 1941 letter was a less than one season circus that toured in 1927. Baudendistel was injured by a well-known male Asiatic elephant named Snyder at the Peru, IN winter quarters in November 1929, per entries in several period newspapers. Biographies of the two bulls named Snyder were published in the CHS journal Bandwagon several years ago by Fred D. Pfening III. He is depicted in a photograph published in Everybody’s Magazine in 1926, page 23, with the Hall farm elephant trio of Ding, Boo and Tommy that were on Robbins bros. in that year. Another 1926 image can be found it the book authored by Jerome L. Rodnitzky, “Jazz Age Boomtown,” page 39. It shows “Major High Pockets” doing a head carry, and credits him as the originator. The same image is on Buckles Blog, April 3, 2008, where he credits origination of the act to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in 1928, when it was accomplished by a recently imported pachyderm named Yasso and her handler, “Gunga.” It’s also an act presented by Frank “Cheerful” Gardner. Woodcock identified the Baudendistel animal as Trilby. I note you have already found this posting. The Rochester (IN) News Standard of January 7, 1935, gave Clyde Baudendistel’s age as 46. He was then with Cole Bros. and was mentioned in several newspaper accounts. If he turned 47 in 1935, and his age was accurately given, it yields a birth year of 1888. An incomplete entry from the 1940 census provided a birth year of 1887 and residing in Camarillo, Ventura County, CA. One Clyde Baudendistel, age 56, was arrested in 1944, per the Ogden (UT) Standard Examiner of March 14, for gambling in the backroom of a tavern; he was caught with the dice in his hand and was slapped with a $125 fine. The last discovered notation for Baudendistel was in Billboard, September 6, 1952, page 103, which placed “Highpockets,” characterized as a “former elephant handler,” in the employment of Trader Horne, working out of Thousand Oaks, California. There were no hits in New York Clipper 1850s-1923 for Baudendistel or Highpockets, though those are long letter strings and the OCR could fail to recognize them. Heritagequest revealed no census hits, and Billboard c1940-1960 on Google Books had just one in 1952, noted above. You might find additional mentions of his 1920s career in Billboard on ProQuest, a paid site. I’d recommend asking Pete Shrake at the Circus World Museum library to check for him in yellow tickets, Draper file, small collections and the Chang Reynolds papers. “High Pockets” was apparently a nickname given to tall people that may have originated in the 1910s, one so nicknamed being baseball player George Kelly (c1915); might also signify those that wore elegant trousers, thus something of a“fancy pants”; and was also the name of a 1919 silent film. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4446. Elephant, Texas, 27 Nov 2014 - In the mid 1950’s in Ellis County, Texas, perhaps Waxahachie a circus elephant went berserk and ran into the crowd inside the big tent. One of the people injured was Josie Johnson whose leg was broken is three places. I am searching for any information on this event. Thank you. Josie Johnson was my maternal Grandmother. David Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Nov 2014 - The incident you describe may be the one that transpired at Waxahachie, TX on Friday, April 27, 1956, when one of the Miller Bros., elephants apparently reacted to some stimulus during the night show, after it left the tent, having participated in the opening spectacle. The account in Billboard, May 5, 1956, page 52, reported eleven people were injured, including a 62-year old woman who was seriously injured. It reported: “The animal, a female, had just left the big top after the spec[tacle] and the next act, an aerial turn, was being presented. The elephant careened against the tent and smashed through the canvas, her trunk and head knocking down four rows of seats. It was reported that none of the spectators was struck by the elephant. Injuries occurred as the people tried to get out of its path. Attendants quickly brought the bull under control.” You can read the coverage by searching Billboard magazine in a Google Books Advanced Search. I used the words “elephant Waxahachie injured” to locate it. I also found a tertiary resource that mis-dated the event as April 29, 1956. There may be more detail in the local Waxahachie newspapers of April 28, 1956 and thereafter. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4445. Inga Smaha, 24 Nov 2014 - Can anyone advise me if Inga Smaha is still with us? Would be in her 80s. Robert.perry3@bigpond.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Nov 2014 - This query was answered on the CHS Facebook page.

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4444. Alexander troupe, 21 Nov 2014 - Alexander troupe were tederboard acrobats during the 1920 s and early 1930s. The leader of the troupe was Lee Roy Alexander. He was my father. Thank you, Lee Roy Alexander Jr. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4443. Tigers, history, 21 Nov 2014 - I’m writing a story for Smithsonian magazine about the history of tigers in the United States, and I understand that many tigers came to the U.S. for circus acts and then went into private hands. Is there anyone from your society that might be able to speak with me by phone about this topic in the coming days? Thank you, Max Kutner, Reporter, Smithsonian Magazine Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4442. Circus, ca. 1912, 19 Nov 2014 - I am currently writing a novel for young adults which features a small, traveling circus where my protagonist lives and travels with during the year of 1912. My book cannot feature an actual circus that existed in history (this wouldn't work for my plot) but I wouldn't like it to be realistic and not anachronistic for this time period. So I would appreciate any tips on how to secure information about transport, the travel route and technology of that time, cargo, job descriptions within the circus, costumes, etc- basically anything I could find out about daily life in a small circus of that era. I have done some circus history research online and in books but I'd appreciate any tips because the internet can be a jungle! I would so appreciate any help/tips on how to find relevant information/descriptions. Thank you so much! Annie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Nov 2014 - Nothing beats period knowledge like immersing yourself in the writing and imagery of the time. Fiction writers would do well to first read the trade journals issued in the time frame they are portraying. That would help to avoid the numerous and blatant anachronisms and mis-representations that populate the typical circus-associated fiction writing of our time, and the past. These skewed accounts have been perpetuated despite authors having communicated with knowing individuals on circus history. That is a principal reason why fiction writers and film scribes are not a favored group among historians; they abort the accurate portrayal of history, which because of their popularity becomes an incorrect image of the circus in the popular culture. The usual feedback after assistance is rendered is “Thanks for all the help; now I’ll write what I want to, even though I know it’s wrong.”
        New York Clipper is accessible with key word searching online at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections and Billboard is accessible on a page by page basis at Fulton History. Those two publications have been microfilmed, as has Variety, and might be accessible via interlibrary loan. The news columns and advertisements will provide information on troupe activity, routing and to some degree the physical plant. Billboard will be the best of the three for your initial reading; Clipper can sometimes be almost indifferent to goings-on; and Variety focused on business aspects, as opposed to chatter in the trade.
        Images of the time, principally photography, are available online, within several museum websites, as well on general collections websites. More are available in published period magazines, journals like the CHS Bandwagon and CFA White Tops. It is relatively abundant and the searcher will be rewarded. You can see the wardrobe, the configuration of tents and vehicles on the lot, etc. Specific physical plant descriptions, identified down to single items, can be derived from sales lists, inventories, showmen’s papers and the like. Interaction with local communities can be found by scanning digitized newspaper entries. Many are available online.
        Insider observations can be found in memoirs penned by showmen. These are in book and published article formats, and there may be others online. David Lano’s book is very good, others may have various purposes depending upon your circus construct. Circus route books once contained numerous daily diary type comments, but that format was generally discontinued by 1912.
        Perhaps the most important decision that you need to make before commencing extensive research is to decide if your faux circus will be an overland [horse and wagon, usually one ring] or railroad-transported [usually multiple rings, sometimes one if a small two or three car show] troupe. Each had substantially different logistics that will surely be important to the development of your story line. Thayer’s “Traveling Showmen” gives developmental insight into overland shows, which didn’t change a lot between 1860 and 1912, other than in how the troupe was housed and fed. Robert H. Gollmar’s book provides a look at a turn of the century overland show that became a railroad show in 1903 and continued touring to 1916. Extensive written and photographic documentation is available for it.
        You may in the course of your reading identify a troupe that toured the locale you’ve chosen as your geographic context and has approximately the appropriate constituent elements. Having one troupe as the model for your circus will help to assure that it remains close to period prototype; don’t create a Frankenstein in combining elements that could not have existed together in 1912. Ultimately, you, as the author, are responsible for the content. The best way to get started is to: dig into the primary record of the era; establish the important parameters through a refining process; and then bore in on each of them with additional research. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 21 Nov 2014 - This is a thank you reply for Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL. Thank you so much for the quick reply! I'm impressed with the dedication of the historians on this board and how well maintained the message board is. I'd like to read through the books you listed. I have begun sifting through the information on this website, including the Bandwagon and Billboard and the staff lists and tour route information from several different shows close to the year in which my book is set. I've also ordered a book with posters and first hand interviews with performers as well, though I'm not sure they will all be relevant to my time period so I'll need to be careful. It can feel a bit overwhelming to weed through and not make anachronistic mistakes with so much information out there, so I appreciate the guidance. I obviously have a lot of reading to do. Thank again, Annie

    Reply: 14 Jan 2015 - To get some Look and Feel with 1912 and the circus: Search for 1912 at Circusmuseum.nl/eng. You get at least some 90 circusposter who were made that year. Herman Voogd

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4441. Percy Lawrenson, 19 Nov 2014 - I am trying to find any information on Percy Lawrenson, who we believe was an employee of the circus in the 1940's, onwards. He could have been called Larry, and Percival his middle name? We believe from Liverpool area, and may have settled in the USA. Please let me know if you can help with any information, I would truly appreciate it. Many thanks, Tina Harrison Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Nov 2014 - Lawrenson was an advance man for circuses and carnivals in the US, and Canada, and before that in the UK and Australia, according to a report in the Billboard, January 10, 1953, page 49. He was then wintering in Tampa, FL. If you do a Google Books Advanced Search, limit the title to “Billboard” and then place “Lawrenson” in the search block you will get about a half dozen hits. Sometimes his name was given with initials, L. or P., and at other times as Larry; no Perry or Percival.
        His career in the US included: Dailey Bros. circus and Garden Bros. circus (Canada) before 1950; 1950-1951 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows [said to be boss lithographer, pronounced lith-oh-graf-er, not lith-og-ra-fer]; by 1953 King-Cristiani circus; 1959 Prell’s Broadway Shows [carnival, accompanied by Mary Lawrenson, perhaps his wife]. Searching for variations on his last name spelling may yield additional hits. Under the name Larry Larenson (sic) he was identified on Dales Bros. circus in 1949, and as the bill car manager for King Bros. circus in 1960.
        I would encourage you to try searching in other ways, coupling terms like “Larry circus advance” in an effort to wring the most out of the OCR search capability. There was a 1940s-1950s concessionaire, promoter and phone room operator named Larry Lawrence, but he appears to be a different person. He was affiliated with Mills Bros. circus on and off between 1950 and 1960. There are dozens of hits for his name.
        Photography exists for some of the advance men and advance cars of the above named circuses. There will also be an employment card for him in the RBBB business records at the Circus World Museum library; it will give permanent residence and next of kin information, as well as confirming his employment time, position and pay rate. Also ask the librarian to check the yellow ticket listings for Lawrenson, and any images of the 1950s RBBB bill car crew, and motorized show advance men under the titles above.
        You ought to be able to locate immigration documentation, and naturalization papers for him, assuming that he became a citizen. He was a crew member that traveled on the last circus railroad advance car, with Ringling-Barnum, which is now preserved at Circus World Museum. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4440. Helen Fox, fat lady, 09 Nov 2014 - I am trying to find information about my grandmother. She was with the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey as the Fat Lady around 1920–1930. I have searched many sites and cannot find any reference to her. Her name was Helen O’Gorman, or Helen Fox at the time. As a child I remember seeing a large poster of her and the thin man on her wall. She was sitting on a small stool and he was standing next to her. Also, heresay over the years – her name was “Dolly Dimples.” Can anyone help me? Helen Wilson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Nov 2014 - Here’s a listing of the fat ladies, by their known or aggrandized stage name, who were featured in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows side shows of the 1920s-1930s. The men in charge at the time were Lew Graham and Clyde Ingalls. The information came from Steve Flint, who sourced it from period text references and photographs of the bannerlines: 1919-1922 Carrie Holt; 1923-1924 no listing; 1925 Jolly Irene, Baby Bunny and Ima Whale; 1926 Carlson Sisters; 1927 Jolly Irene and Baby Bunny; 1928 Alice From Dallas, Bonita and Miss Jollyette; 1929 Ima Sight; 1930 Jolly Ollie; 1931 Ima Waddler; 1932 Ima Weight; 1933 Baby Ruth; 1934 Baby Ruth (Baby Ruth and Ima listings are actually Ruth Pontico); 1935 Carlson Sisters; 1936-1937 Miss Jolly; 1938 Winsome Winnie; 1939 Dot Carlson. He found no mention of Helen Fox or Helen O’Gorman. People engaged to work in side shows did sometimes come and go, owing to illness, family needs, other obligations, etc. A key word search of New York Clipper, which covers the predecessor separate shows of Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. also failed to provide any hits for your grandmother’s name. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 24 Aug 2015 - The RBBB Route Book for 1937 lists Baby Lee as the "Fat Girl", not Miss Jolly. Best Regards, Warren A. Raymond

    Reply: 25 Aug 2015 - Yes, it is true that the Fat Lady is listed in the official 1937 RBBB route book as Baby Lee; however, at least one 1937 photograph of the show bannerline has her named as Miss Jolly, an image taken by Leroy Sweetland at Gainesville, TX on Sept. 26, 1937. I have no authoritative explanation for this discrepancy; possibly an act change took place, or perhaps both “Miss Jolly” and “Baby Lee” could have been generic names used by the show when ordering the banner painting on wagon #116 and making other entries. It’s another unexplained anomaly in show history. Stephen T. Flint

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4439. Jeffersonville, IN 1905-30, 06 Nov 2014 - Does anyone know of a circus that performed in a field at Jeffersonville, Indiana between 1905 and 1930 where there was a fire and the monkeys were killed? It happened at 8th and Graham Streets in Jeffersonville. Thanks, Jeanne Burke, The Clark County Museum, Inc. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4438. Rose Wentworth, 06 Nov 2014 - A recent article in Bandwagon featured a lady equestrian, Rose Wentworth. The article did not mention her maiden name. She was born in my hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts and I would like to include her in my circus history of Fall River. Can anyone help. Robert Kitchen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4437. Stunts Anonmyous Diversion Australia, 06 Nov 2014 - I studied Gymnasium when I was a young child, the local P.C.Y.C was my favourite activity second to going out to dinner or eating! I can remember after doing several rather large television adverts for a number of years, doing several open air circus style performances! The only name I can remember is Stunts Anonmyous Diversion Australia! These were rigged by big and small cranes, the use of hydraulic pullers, wrecking ball weights and steel weights for technically advanced stunts! I can remember going over the top of the highest cranes jib end after a 30-50 foot pull on a bar, releasing and somersaulting into afternoon air, and landing backwards onto another bar. Does anyone have footage or remember this happening in Australia. My nickname was 'Chicken/Chook' Holmes! I could possibly be the highest non netted or safety wired Stunt Trapezeist ever/child. I know at the higher points I was told to clip a wire or stop because it was to dangerous for spectators. I'm also one of the Gold Children in The Cranberries 'Zombie' Film Clip. Thanks, Shane Allan Holmes 54.81 circa 1900's, Australia. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4436. J P Leonard, 04 Nov 2014 - My great grandfather, Joseph Paul, J P Leonard worked for the Johnnie J. Jones circus off and on between the 1920’s and 1940’s. He helped put up/take down and maintain the rides. His first wife, Ida VonRedding (Redding) Leonard dressed in costumes of foreign lands and did dances from those countries. She died at a young age. JP remarried a Scottish woman, Mary, don’t know her maiden name, but she had a dog act, jack russell terriers. My grandmother, Iris Leonard helped her step mother with the dog act and when old enough, sold tickets to the circus at the main entrance. JP “retired” from the circus while in SC when Iris met a young security guard while the circus was in Anderson, SC. I think the animals and rides were separated by this time. If anyone has heard stories from their circus family about any of my circus family, I would appreciate anything you could share. They always had great stories from their time in the circus. One being, an Italian family offered to buy grandma, about 14 at the time, as a future wife for their son. Of course great grandpa didn’t sell her. Then, later when she would give him a little trouble, he would say, “I should have sold you when I had the chance!” LOL Always had great traveling stories too. Would love to hear from anyone who also had family in the Johnny J. Jones circus during this time. I may have photos of your family members. Please contact me @ donnabill@xipline.com Donna Harris. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Nov 2014 - The Johnny J. Jones Exposition was a railroad carnival, and not a circus. They are two distinctly different types of operation, yet both used some of the same technologies and business practices. The JJJ Exposition came apart in the 1950s. A few artifacts survive today, along with photography and other ephemera. At times it did have a back end show that presented trained wild animals or perhaps a one ring circus.
        There is no principal archive of JJJ documentation, it is fragmentary. If you search through these CHS messages [use Google] you will find prior postings about the JJJ enterprise. The late Bob Goldsack did a book about the show, there’s a dedicated website, and much more than can be explored online. There are collections of carnival material at the International Independent Showmens Foundation in Gibsonton, FL and Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI, and elsewhere. Al Stencell’s book, “Seeing Is Believing,” will provide an overview of the activities within carnival back end shows.
        I did some quick searches in New York Clipper and Billboard, the two weekly magazines that carried carnival news, but had no hits for the Leonard name variants used. I would recommend that you continue those searches, with a broader variety of search terms. Clipper is available online in its entirety at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections; Billboard is partially at Google Books Advanced Search and Fulton History; the entire run is on a paid service, ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. The last named is the resource that would provide your best chance of finding information on your great-grandfather. Use variants on the basic name, last name then first name, etc. The business records of the JJJ Exposition are not known to exist, but you might be able to locate information within Social Security records after the establishment of that entitlement in the late 1930s. Carnival rosters sometimes include the names of ride foremen, and sometimes, but less frequently, ride helpers.
        Research is a bit like prospecting; if you know where the desired ore or mineral is likely to be found, that’s where you should look for it. I always recommend that researchers seeking to define the lives of their ancestors create a chronology that starts with birth, death, marriage, childbirth and other important event dates, then adds residence, census information and other data. That essential framework then provides a basis to define when and where a person may have had traveling show employment. Knowing who to look for (name(s)), in what time frame (years) and maybe where (residency) helps to assure finding satisfactory results, if documentation survives. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4435. Clark Circus, 04 Nov 2014 - My 93 yr old Aunt Mamie was the daughter-in-law to Pearl Clark who we understand was a trapeze artist in the Clark Circus. My aunt and Pearl (now deceased) live(d) in Tuscaloosa, Al. Is this the Circus Pearl was a part of during the time she was alive? kwright Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Nov 2014 - Tertiary resources report it originated in 1883, or 1889; these might identify years in which the Clarks labored for other showmen. The earliest primary references to the Clark Bros.’ Circus, involving M. L. Clark, is in New York Clipper, March 19, 1892, page 18. No 1893-dated entries were found. M. L. Clark’s Oriental Circus references are first in the New York Clipper of 1894: April 21, 1894, page 103; June 30, 1894, page 261; August 11, 1894, page 357; and August 25, 1894, page 387. It endured until 1929, operated on wagons, train and motorized vehicles. The title used by others outside the Clark family in 1922 and between 1930 and 1945.
        The M. L. Clark circus was best known as an overland show, moving by horse and wagon and appearing under a tent in smaller communities. In 1909 it was described as a seven car railroad show. The 1909 stats are from: http://www.deleonhistory.com/?page_id=1713 By 1911 it was apparently back on the roads and had grown to include sixty five wagons, about 200 head of horses, four elephants and fifteen cages of beasts, and also included a side show, making it a top overland outfit. It is best known for having featured the male Asiatic elephant Ned, who after growing and getting much larger gained great fame as Tusko.
        The first entry for “Little Pearl Clark” listed her act as contortion. It’s in the New York Clipper, June 30, 1894, page 261. She would have been less than five years old, based on other knowledge. The show opened in Oberlin, LA. Pearl Clark was listed among the attaches of the M. L. Clark circus in 1896, when it was traveling in Mississippi. The entry is in the New York Clipper, October 3, 1896, page 489. “Little Pearl Clark, the boneless wonder,” was listed as a performer in Clipper, April 18, 1903, page 184. The show opened in the winter quarters community of Alexandria, LA. The description confirms she was a “bender,” a contortionist, someone with a very flexible body. If not an actual contortionist, she may have had a very flexible, youthful body. Pearl Clark is listed as a contortionist and rider with M. L. Clark in the circus employees list in Clipper, July 7, 1906, page 530. Unfortunately, the list is not alphabetized, but there was also a Willie Clark with the show. The last hit for her is in Clipper for April 29, 1911, page 9. She and Christ La Coma did a breakaway ladder act. La Coma did a cloud swing and also served as the show’s manager. It’s likely that she was with the show consistently from 1894 to 1911, and perhaps a bit later.
        The earliest reference to the La Comas was as the La Coma Trio, “America’s Up-to-date Acrobats,” who were “at liberty,” meaning they were seeking an engagement. They used 551 Howe Street, Akron, OH as their contact address. They sought placement in any show, an amusement park, fairs, vaudeville, minstrel or burlesque outfit. This ad was in Billboard August 1, 1908, page 26. It may have been their entry into show business. They might have been local men in the Akron area who taught themselves acrobatics. It was a somewhat common means to enter the trade. The La Coma troupe of five acrobats is listed with the M. L. Clark circus in Clipper, July 16, 1910, page 560 and also in the 1911 reference above. In addition to Christ, there was a Charles, who was equestrian director, and a “Chac.”, who was the press representative. Christ, Charles and Chac. were likely the original La Coma Trio. Christ La Coma managed the Clark circus side show in 1912, per Clipper, June 29, 1912, page 9. The La Coma name is similar to the Da Coma troupe, a somewhat famous circus aerial act from a few years earlier.
        Each of the Clipper entries is accompanied by further information about the show. You can access them on Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, online. Billboard coverage is scattered, but there are surely more references to the show, and perhaps to Pearl Clark in its pages.
        There was a hit for Sisters Clark (Pearl and Ruby) on the 1909 Sun Bros. Circus, but I doubt it’s the woman of interest. It’s in the Clipper, November 20, 1909 issue, page 1030. The show opened at Macon, GA on March 31. It was a middle-class railroad show. A summary history of Sun Bros. was published in Bandwagon.
        There hasn’t been an in-depth study of the Clark show, but an overview was printed in the CHS journal Bandwagon, in the March-April 1965 issue. It is likely available as a back issue, or a photocopy of the article could be acquired. The text has also been posted on-line at: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1965Mar.htm It states that Pearl was a daughter of show owner M. L. Clark and his wife, a daughter of J. V. Parsons of Frankford, IN. She married Christopher La Coma [sometimes given as Comma], part of an aerialist troupe with the Clark show. They eventually left the show and entered the film theater trade. It would seem that the Clark-La Coma nuptials were sometime 1910-1911, as indicated by La Coma’s subsequent rising position within the circus management. Pearl’s death is given as February 1, 1927, San Antonio, TX, age 36. Her father died the preceding year, on October 4, at the quarters community of Alexandria, LA.
        A quick Google check yielded these genealogical entries, each with a bit of information: http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=318&p=topics.occupations.circus and http://boards.ancestry.com.au/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=910&p=topics.occupations.circus A photo of Pearl is reportedly given here: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5603386-it-s-a-circus-life
    Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 03 Dec 2014 - My great-grandmother was Pearl Clark LaComa. She performed with the M.L. Clark and Son's Combined Shows. Her daughter, Juanita LaComa Zimmerman was my grandmother. I just released a book on “Little Pearl” that contains some of the family photographs passed down from my grandmother. The book is based on some of my grandmother’s memories of her circus family. She wrote a few anecdotes in spiral bound notebooks. - Charmain Zimmerman Brackett

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4434. June Hastings Circus, 01 Nov 2014 - I can’t find my grandfather in any ancestry webpages. But it is my understanding that he performed acrobatics or was a clown with the June Hastings’ Circus. Ever hear of it? My grandfather was baptized Guillelamas Vincentia Lignal, b. 3/1/1886, d. 11/18/1963, and used the name William Francis Lignow to register for World War I. He was born March 1, 1886 in Ashland, Pennsylvania. He married my grandmother in 1908 in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. I cannot find him prior to his marriage to my grandmother. He had 2 step brothers Joseph Frederick Lignal and John Wolkoski, both of Mt. Carmel, PA. Thank you, Chris Friday Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Nov 2014 - As you’ve already determined from basic searching, there’s a problem with the name “June Hastings Circus.” It turns up in no compiled listing or in any search. If you can share the source and context of that bit of information, on which further searching in circus documentation likely pivots, more assistance might be possible. You can directly examine the Sturtevant list of circuses on the CHS website, in the Virtual Library, as well as examining much other information about other shows of the time frame when your grandfather would have been active. Maybe one of the titles will resemble “June Hastings”?
        If it was a mis-read or heard piece of information, I thought that it might be an adulteration of the Bob Hunting’s Circus, which operated out of New Castle, Pennsylvania 1888-1898. That’s in western PA, whereas Ashland and Mt. Carmel are towards the eastern part of the state. The timing is also off; your grandfather would have been only twelve when Hunting’s ceased to tour in 1898. A child acrobat is possible, but there’s the issue of distance.
        Sometimes a piece of family lore, memoir or obituary will use an alternative name for a circus troupe, such as the name of the person that bankrolled it, or someone affiliated in some manner with it, like a principal star, but there’s no hits for anything Hastings, Hasting, etc., nor Lignal, Lignow, etc. A restricted search for “Ashland, PA” did turn up 44 hits in Clipper between 1895 and 1910, which could be examined for relevance. Adding the word circus reduced the number to 29; but I’d always start with the broader search. It seems like there were a number of showmen’s opportunities out of Ashland. Go to Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections to do your search of New York Clipper. Some early years of Billboard can be done on Google Books Advanced Search and also Fulton History, all at your fingertips.
        Your search is also made awkward because the names of specific acrobats were often concealed behind the troupe name. Without knowing the name of the acrobatic troupe, finding your grandfather is more difficult than the proverbial needle in the haystack. My surmise is that he may have been a showman between age fourteen (1900, the end of “grade school”) and sixteen (1902) and his marriage in 1908, an event that often caused retirement from the road. Is he or his wife listed in the 1910 census? From what you wrote I assume you didn’t find him in the 1900 census. You’ve checked ancestry.com, but have you consulted any local genealogical authority and group that might further guide you in your search, using more specialized techniques?
        It’s also possible that the “circus” was actually a carnival, the two entities often being confused. I checked the list of carnivals in Joe McKennon’s book but found no listings for June or Hastings. In that instance, one of the owners of a back end show could have provided the “identity” of the troupe, as opposed to the actual show title. It’s also not impossible that vaudeville and variety stage work might have been termed “circus” to folks back home. Charles F. Hoffman’s name came up in Ashland searches. Woodland Park, a pleasure park, was also in the community, and appears to have presented stage acts.
        Typically a starting showman would join a locally-based troupe, or one that passed through the community as it played the season’s route. So, learning the identity of shows coming out of eastern Pennsylvania might be one way to commence a search for the “June Hastings Circus.” There’s no list of circuses by winter quarters location across a long period of time, but annual lists of show winter homes were published. Two from 1900, 1906, 1908, 1910 and 1911 list numerous Pennsylvania-based troupes: http://www.circushistory.org/History/WQ.htm You can find other lists in the pages of New York Clipper and Billboard, the two weekly magazines that published circus information. Check the locales for any near Ashland.
        The names of the shows that passed through the Ashland area can be garnered from area newspapers. Sometimes they’d report on the departure of a local citizen, to join a show, or remark upon their return. Their routes were sometimes published in Clipper and Billboard, but not all troupes, especially smaller ones, submitted their routes for publication. The Sparks Circus, once out of East Brady, PA, played Ashland in 1907. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4433. Wienand family, 28 Oct 2014 - I am doing family research and was told I had relatives in the circus. I found information on Bernard Wienand who it seems was a clown in King Brothers Circus, info from Route 1946. Other relatives who were supposed to be in the circus are Frank and William Wienand. They supposedly were either acrobats or trapeze artists. Would you have any info on any of them or pictures? Thank you. Pat Cohen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Nov 2014 - Billboard magazine for the period 1942-1960 is online at Google Books and can be searched using key words. Bernard Wienand was found in the issue of November 16, 1946, page 68, again as a clown, or “veteran funmaker,” who joined clown alley, as did James [J. S.] Cowley. I’d suggest searching for all King bros. coverage that season, to determine if any other mentions are made. It would seem that he joined very late in the tour, which concluded on December 14. It’s possible that he might be mentioned in 1946 issues of the Circus Fans Association journal, White Tops, which are available only in hard copy. Contact the various circus archives and libraries for possible photographic documentation. A simple Google search brought up a couple images of the 1946 show. You’ll be wanting photos taken late in the season. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4432. Boyer family, 28 Oct 2014 - My ancestor Isaac Boyer (b. 1765) was a coffin maker in the London area from the 1790's-1820's. Isaac had his own team of horses and coaches to do his coffin business. They migrated to New York City (1820’s)and then later to Waterville, Oneida County, NY (1830-1840’s). From two separate family history lines, we have strong family rumors/evidence that the Boyer family rode horses in a circus to earn money part-time. They said that the daughters could jump flat-footed onto a moving horses. They knew how to ride horses very well. The daughter names were Sophia Susannah Boyer and Mary Ann (Boyer) Harwood. Are there any name lists of performers from local circuses that are available still from the 1820’s-1840’s? Would you know anyone who kept records or who could direct me where to go? Thanks, Jared Sommer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Oct 2014 - Stuart Thayer’s “Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860” is the standard reference on the antebellum American circus. It includes all of the circus and many menagerie rosters that Thayer could locate in pre-digitization times. There are no suitable listings for the names Boyer and Harwood. William L. Slout’s “Olympians of the Sawdust Ring,” which is somewhat derived from Thayer and also augmented with many published obituaries and biographies, is likewise silent. Slout is on the CHS website, in the Virtual library. Dan Draper’s online reference notes to equestriennes also contains no suitable listings, though must of his work is post-Civil War.
        Needless to say, early 19th century roster information is pretty limited. Show business records are equally elusive and non-existent, as are personal papers. The girls may have been treated as apprentices, or served in an act that did not include their names, making it difficult to identify their presence.
        You can check the early issues of the New York Clipper, 1850s-1860s online via key word searching, on Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. You might also delve into local newspapers, where the girls resided, as it would have been unusual for them to have been in the trade.
        I would also suggest pursuing any affiliations with shows that may have been quartered in their residential areas, or passed through. Circus routes are also included in Thayer, or can be found in local newspapers. There was a considerable amount of traveling show activity, both circus and menagerie (which often had a ring) in the counties immediately above New York City (Putnam and Westchester), but Waterville is some distance from them. Thayer’s Annals would be the best source of leads to Waterville connections.
        You might even key-word search Slout to see if mentions the community, or the first names of the girls. Young women were sometimes identified as Miss Mary or Mme. Susan and such, their family name not given.
        Your best bet to confirm or refute their circus participation is to build upon the family rumors and evidence and to try and build a case where those stories take you. If you care to share the nature and context of that knowledge, it might be possible to suggest some manner of development. Family lore often contains snippets of reliable information, but is seldom infallible in terms of total accuracy. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4431. Henry Williams, 28 Oct 2014 - My ex-Mother N law who happens to be one of the most wonderful Person that I could ever know. Her Father Henry Williams who went by Harry was an artist and painted some canvas’s for circus’s. It was around 1920-1940s. I am in search of anything that was made by him. Even a picture of it. This would be a wonderful for her and her sister of the memory of their Father. Both of them have had some health issues and would love to see them to finally find something from their Father. Peggy has mentioned so many times remembering her Dad going to go paint and she got to go sometimes to “help”. Harry traveled with the circus and took his family with him, and he had traveled throughout States. Is there a place I could find some type of Canvas Memorabilia? I would love to find it. My name is Kelly Bryant and my email is kellyqbryant@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Nov 2014 - The decorative works applied by itinerant painters to traveling show equipment are extremely difficult to document and assign to specific individuals. They may have used their talent to place scenic work on railroad cars, wagons, show properties, banners and show front wagons, scenic backdrops and perhaps other applications. The works were often unsigned. Typically, much of this work was done before the commencement of the summer season tour, but there are photographs that indicate some decorative work was accomplished during the tour.
        I found no information concerning Henry “Harry” Williams as a show painter, but the best resource for the 1920-1940 time period, the weekly issues of Billboard magazine, aren’t readily available with key word searching. If you’re near a larger public or university library, you might check with them and determine if they have access to ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. That would facilitate direct searching in the time period for his name.
        A couple pieces of knowledge might help to limit the search. First, in what community or communities was he residing when he did the painting work? Is there any knowledge to the community to which he traveled to initiate his painting? Some shows are strongly associated with specific cities and locales. Does any correspondence survive from his traveling days? Did he talk in terms of movements by railroad, or over the highway, by motor vehicle? Finally, were his movements during the season on a daily or a weekly basis? If daily, it was a circus; if weekly, it was likely a carnival.
        With some additional knowledge of his employment context, it might be possible to begin to understand his work and for whom and where he worked, which in turn might lead to identifying some examples of his labors. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4430. Old circus poster, 22 Oct 2014 - Can you give any advice on what to do with an old circus poster? It folds up like a map and has weird facts on one side like the capacity of cisterns and the number of years seeds retain their vitality. The other side has a circus poster ad for Allentown PA May 15 Barnum & London 9 United Shows. Has a pic of The Marvelous Dog Face Russian Boy and an elephant marked Courier Co Buffalo Ny. It's in fairly good shape all Black and White. Thanks, Karin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Oct 2014 - The P. T. Barnum and Great London circus, using the 9 United Shows subtitle, played Allentown, PA only once on May 15, in the year 1885. Your piece was one of hundreds, if not thousands distributed in the city and surrounding countryside to publicize the engagement. They were handed out at local establishments, train stations and anywhere where people passed by or aggregated in the course of daily and weekly travel rituals. They were part of a weeks-long advertising campaign that announced the scheduled arrival of the circus, which usually played a single day in most communities.
        Your description suggests that the piece is not a poster (usually a lithograph in 1885). They were usually one sheet, about 28” x 42”, or variations on that size, from 1/2 sheet (21” x 28”) to 16, 24 and 32 sheets, which covered entire walls and building sides. Notably, they were printed using several colors. Your black and white only piece sounds like a fold-out style variation or hybrid a handbill, termed a “herald” or “quarter sheet,” and a courier, which has something of a magazine-like format. They were issued by some shows, but were not an extremely popular format because of the additional cost, weight and size they represented over a conventional piece.
        The piece has some value and unless in very poor condition is worthy of preservation. You might consider donating it to an institution that documents circus history, or to a local Allentown facility that preserves Allentown’s heritage. It’s also of interest to some collectors. With a bit of research you’ll be able to find a home for this piece of paper ephemera, if you don’t care to keep it for yourself. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 Nov 2014 - I was researching in the Zweifel Archives and found another copy of the herald which you described. It is printed on both sides and has similar if not the same information. The one side has farming and general information. The other describes the Barnum & London Nine United Shows. The main attraction is Jojo the Dog Faced boy, and the illustration shows Barnum's agent (supposedly Joel E, Warner) standing in the door way and discovering the attraction. The piece is dated Dover, Delaware October 13, 1885. The sheet is folded into twelve sections and is a match for the one that you described. John Polacsek

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4429. Barnum and Bailey 1920s, 18 Oct 2014 - Do you have any knowledge of Barnum and Bailey ever performing in Port Arthur, Ontario, some time in the 1920s. And if they did would you possibly have any photos of this? Thank you, Ken Zubec Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Oct 2014 - Barnum & Bailey was merged with Ringling Bros. to create Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, the Greatest Show on Earth, for the 1919 tour and thereafter. Many of the routes of the show are on this website, in the “Virtual Library,” which is accessible on the home page. Single left click the button and then on the library page click on “Routes.” There were very few Canadian dates played in the 1920s, and Port Arthur was not one of them. I would recommend checking local libraries and historical societies, as well as the provincial archives for circus photos. There are often local collectors and photographic studios (to a lesser degree) with older images, too. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4428. Hernandez, trapeze, 15 Oct 2014 - I'm tiring to trace my family history. My father was borne in Pueblo Colorado to a Spanish Father and a Mexican Mother. The only thing I know about my grandfather was that he was a trapeze artist with a circus that travelled from Spain to Mexico probably in the 1865-1880 timeframe. He fell in love and quit the circus and never returned to Spain. My fathers last name was Hernandez and he was born in 1900. Does anyone know where I can find information about a circus that travelled from Spain to Mexico during the mid to late 1800s. Thanks, Mary Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4427. Russell Johnson, 15 Oct 2014 - Looking for information about Russell C. Johnson or Meryl or Muriel Johnson – 1947-1950 time period. Worked for Hennie’s Brothers around Arkansas/Missouri/Illinois area. Joann Rodriguez Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Oct 2014 - I have not heard that the Hennies Bros. carnival business records have survived, nor the personal papers of the owners. The best continuum of knowledge about that enterprise will be the carnival news columns in the pages of the weekly magazine Billboard. For the time period that you desire it is accessible online, at Google Books, with key word searching. Do an advanced search, enter “Billboard” in the title box and then use variations on the names of interest to you to locate relevant entries. The late Bob Goldsack published a researched history of the Hennies operation in his magazine, Midway Journal Illustrated, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1997, pages 17 to 31. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4426. Roberta Pearl Robinson, 14 Oct 2014 - My Godmother, Roberta Pearl Robinson, who has passed away, was a circus performer very young. She said she rode the horses in the show. She married a man named Harry Rooks who worked in the circus also. She named her son Harry Rooks who also has passed away. Was curious if anyone knows of her and if there are any circus pictures archived anywhere of her? I would so appreciate it if anyone has any information or pictures. Thank you so much! Victoria Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Oct 2014 - Harry E. Rooks (1907-1976) had a long circus career. It is pretty well documented in the 1940s and 1950s and continued until the 1970s. There are many hits for him in a simple Google search. He is buried in Hugo, OK. His last wife, Viola/Violetta/Violette (1906-1977), is the one that is best known and documented. They were together by 1943 (their son, Ronald Nolan Rooks(?) was born in Gary, IN on January 22, 1944; she is buried in nearby Merrillville, IN). There are photographs and other data available for her. Your godmother must have been married to Rooks before her. I searched and found no mention of her in the early 1940s, so the time frame must be before then, 1930s or maybe late 1920s.
        My thought is that the best way to find circus-affiliated photos of her will be to establish the shows with which Harry Rooks was affiliated in each season and to then pursue holdings that are relevant to those engagements. If you know the name, nickname or stage name she used (it could have been something like Miss Roberta, Miss Pearl, etc.) while in the trade, those would be helpful in identifying her presence and documenting her career. Unless someone has a biography or obituary listing Harry Rooks’s career, it will likely require you to locate a resource that has ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. Through it you’ll be able to trace his career and hopefully also find references to your godmother. With a list of shows and years you can then seek her in photographic archives. Hopefully, someone simply has an image of her and can provide it to you. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Nov 2014 - Harry worked for me and Johnny Frazier on our Royal Bros. Circus in the mid 1970's. You can see Harry working the pony drill and also being interviewed briefly in the back yard in the National Film Board of Canada film - "High Grass Circus". Harry was a great guy. I remember him telling me that at one time he did a feature head balancing trap act. Al Stencell

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4425. Miss Tina, trapeze, 13 Oct 2014 - I'm looking for information photos, film on Miss Tina, single trapeze artist who appeared on Bozo's Circus on WGN TV Channel 9 Chicago around 1976. Her appearances are listed in the circus weekly trades at the time. Would love to document her life as an elegant diva and trapeze performer who worked without a net. Have one brief piece of audience POV footage and am looking for photos and other memorabilia. Thanks, Jim Rome romejim4@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4424. Eko and Iko, 10 Oct 2014 - I’m a journalist and author (first book, “Factory Man,” came out in July and was NYT bestseller). My next book is about two sideshow performers who worked for Al G. Barnes, and RBBB and others. They are Eko and Iko, Ambassadors from Mars — actually George and Willie Muse from rural Virginia, whose family says they were kidnapped and made to perform as freaks in virtual servitude until their mother claimed them back in 1927. I’ve written about them before, co-authored a newspaper series in 2001. Now I’m trying to turn that series into a book, which will be published by Little, Brown and Company in 2016.
    Am looking for: photographs of them and information, especially of the years between their kidnapping (roughly 1900) and their reunion with their mother in 1927. Any and all advice and materials are welcome tho. Happy to reimburse costs and sure to acknowledge help of legions of helpers in my book’s acknowledgments. Thanks so much; I’m such a newbie in terms of my circus knowledge and really would appreciate any help at all. Please email me at bmacy@cox.net. And cheers! Beth Macy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4423. Long’s United Shows, 07 Oct 2014 - I am trying to find information related to a circus/carnival fire in June of 1947 in the Sacramento area – possibly in Woodland, CA. My father owned Long’s United Shows. He died in 1974 in Texas, and I would like to know more about this part of his life – well before he returned to Texas and met my mother. I found several articles in Billboard Magazine that stated Lillian Sheppard died (June 22 according to CA death records) in Sacramento as a result of the fire to Long’s United Shows and that 4 others were injured]. Another article, on June 21, 1947, stated “Annette Esperon letters from Woodland, CA that Long's United Shows played to big crowds and did business there despite inclement weather.” (Based on the way this was stated, I’m not sure if she was from Woodland, or if that is where the show was located.) Woodland is a small town outside of Sacramento. Based on the last statement, it appears the show was fine for the evening performance – the fire could have occurred during the night of June 21 or sometime on June 22 since Lillian died on the 22nd. I would really like to find newspaper articles related to the fire. Any assistance in my search for information would be appreciated. Thank you, Sandra Long Anders, Katy, Texas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4422. Bean Carnival, 06 Oct 2014 - The July 20, 1912 edition of Billboard mentions Bean Carnival Company.I can find nothing else about them. They also mention Doc Hatfield,illusionist, appearing with them. Any info on the outfit or the illusionist? Many thanks, Rena Corey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Oct 2014 - The entry in Billboard, July 20, 1912, page 23 is about the Showmen’s Headquarters, recently taken over by “Doc” Harvell, at 1525 Market Street, St., Louis, Missouri. It lists visitors, one of who was given as Doc Hadfield, illusionist, Bean Carnival Company. It may be relevant that there are additional and prior listings for men associated with the “Beans and Downs Carnival Company”: Harry Downs, proprietor; Doc Bushell and Bert Meyers, door lecturers; and Guy Wilson, talker. With Hadfield’s entry after these, Bean Carnival Company may be a shorthand for Beans and Downs.
        The unusual aspect of the entry is that I could not locate any trace of the enterprises and just one of the men in an open ended search of the New York Clipper; nothing relevant turned up. That’s pretty unusual, rare in most instances. There’s no entry for a relevant Beans or Downs-named carnival in the list of such shows in Joe McKennon’s book about carnivals, which could mean Bean(s) and Down(s) were the proprietors, known to people in the trade, but that it actually bore a generic title; or, the word “carnival” was used in a generic and not specific manner; or the names were some sort of play on words.
        Harvell was the one name that popped up in searches. A booking of Harvell’s Marionettes was reported by the R. J. Weber Theatrical Agency of St. Louis in Clipper, August 21, 1909, page 705. [Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections] Other engagements for “Harvel’s Marionettes” were in 1910 and 1913 issues of Billboard, in theaters, at amusement parks and aboard W. R. Markle’s floating theatre.
        There was a bit more to be discovered about the “Showmen’s Headquarters.” This was one of several places in major cities around the country where traveling showmen might rest, catch a meal, check on friends, secure bookings and generally take a respite from the rigors of the road. Joe Coyle’s Stag Café in Cincinnati served a similar purpose circa 1907; others were hotels. It was a place where an unemployed showman could get a warm bed, a hot meal, a kind word, a couple bucks and hopefully a tip that led to another engagement or job. Showmen were, as a rule, almost always willing to help a fellow traveler. Some were known outright as an “easy touch” for another person in need. People in the trade established public funds, gave for funerals and burial plots, others in need of medical care or hospitalization, etc.
        1525 Market Street, St. Louis was filled by a two-story brick structure, which was to be replaced by a more modern three-story building in 1903. It was identified as being a restaurant operated by G. Gallanis in 1905 [issue of Railroad Trainman]. A showman named J. [John/Jacob/Jake?] W. Buckhannon employed the 1525 Market Street address in an advertisement in Billboard, August 22, 1908, page 41. Jake’s Showmen’s Headquarters, aka “Jake’s Place,” was at the address per ads in Billboard, January 16, 1909, page 36, January 30, 1909, page 21, October 1, 1910, page 40 and April 1, 1911, page 37. He’d taken over the adjacent building, terming the site a “retreat”. It had a covered photo board, for the display of act photos, letterheads, and reviews, and provided a showmen’s lunch at noon (perhaps meaning it was complimentary). Brown & Baker, under a heading of “Showman’s Headquarters, placed ads in Billboard for May 13, 1911, page 75 and June 10, 1911, page 62, terming it the “Greatest showman’s retreat in the world.” An illustrated ad, originating from the same street address, featuring a portrait of George W. “Doc” Harvell, a marionette man, is in Billboard, September 14, 1912, page 63. [on Fulton History] Brown & Baker and Harvell noted that copies of the Billboard, New York Clipper and Player were there to consult, for showmen to learn who was where and to glean the want ads for future possible bookings. The structures in the area have all been demolished and the site re-purposed.
        The 1912 reference is a snapshot of a moment in the life of Hadfield. Hopefully someone will know from whence he came and to where he was headed. If you have other knowledge of him, it could serve to initiate other searches. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 Oct 2014 - My apologies, it is spelled Hatfield, with a “t” in the article, not Hadfield, with a “d.” Fred Dahlinger

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4421. Vicki Sherry, 05 Oct 2014 - I still visit this page in the hope that somebody will contact me regarding Speedy Barham and Vicki Sherry. I worked for them in the late 1960. I have visited this site in the hope that I may get a reply from the people that were also asking about Vicki and Speedy but have had no success. There must be somebody out there that knows something. I last saw Vicki in 1979. She was living in Glossop and had just remarried and was returning to the Isle of Wight which was her birth place. Yours, Pat Pearson nee Crossley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4420. Barnaby Theriaque, 04 Oct 2014 - I am the great granddaughter of Barnaby Theriaque looking for information of him. I am told he was the strongman in circus? Patti Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Oct 2014 - There were no hits for the family name Theriaque in New York Clipper (on Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, online), or Slout’s Olympians of the Sawdust Circle (on this website). It is a bit awkward, thus Barnabé Joseph, “B. J.” or “Barney” Thériaque may have used a stage name, or his own name was concealed by the name of the act with which he performed. If you know the names of any of his associates, the act in which he was a partner, or have any documentation relating to his circus engagements (letters, photos, etc.), those items could serve to initiate a focused search for specific references.
        He may not have been a “strong man” per se, meaning one who demonstrates feats of strength. Tertiary sources identify him as an acrobat and tumbler; a “strong man” could have been the bottom man in three-highs and such. It’s also possible to have done a turn in the ring, with an acrobat act, and to have done a specialty in the side show. That is typically where strong man and knife-throwing acts were staged, though some were also in the performance pavilion.
        CHS message 239 and the tertiary source, http://boards.ancestry.com/topics.occupations.circus/285/mb.ashx?pnt=1, both posted by another descendant, Barbara Connors, list him being with King & Franklin, which toured 1887-1891, and Walter L. Main, which was out 1886-1899 and 1901-1904. No reference was provided for these affiliations; to know them might be purposeful. Some very limited documentation does survive from these two circuses.
        CHS message 239 assigns Barnabee (sic) Theriaque and wife (Marie Anne Corbeille; given incorrectly as Flora Benoit, who was his mother) the name Deforest [DeForest] and states he was a strong man and knife thrower. There was a brother and sister who may have been with shows, Alfred and Corine DeForest. The latter may be the Corinna Louise Smith listed at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=18100075 and associated pages. So, there may have been a quartet of family together on traveling shows.
        Theriaque married in 1889, in Chicopee, and the couple had their first child in 1891, events that may mark the end of traveling. Born in 1866, in 1889 he would have been 22, and 24 in 1891, which would seem to be years that qualify him as a “young man,” when he was with the circus trade.
        If there is an entire lack of surviving documentation, there are perhaps two ways to pursue the research. You can conduct further research in the online New York Clipper, using different combinations of search words, or by reading everything in print about the two shows with which they are currently associated. The second method would be to establish his residency during their circus years and to then focus on checking local newspapers during that time frame. Show people, being somewhat unusual residents, were sometimes commented upon when returning or departing, or practicing. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4419. Dailey Bros. Circus, 29 Sep 2014 - I came across a postcard with a girl in front of a Dailey Bros. Circus train car with a small elephant. Its caption reads Arumai “Singh And the smallest elephant ever brought to America”. Its in mint condition and black and white. It looks like a photo print and stamped on the back states postcard. Any information about this card is truly appreciated! Thanks, Andrea Watkins Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Oct 2014 - The Postcard you have can be dated from 1947 to 1950. I am assuming it was offered as a souvenior at the circus. Singh and the smallest elephant ever brought to America refer to an Indian native mahout (elephant man) named Singh who came to America in 1947 when Louis Reed was sent to import a herd of elephants for the Dailey Bros. Circus. The smallest of the group was called baby Butch. Singh and Baby Butch were used for a lot of publicity. Singh was responsible for this well being of this little fellow. As with any baby, he grew up. So the small elephant picture must have been taken shortly after his arrival. Dailey Bros. closed for good in 1950. Another elephant that was brought over in this group was a young male named Tommy. He grew up to become world famous as King Tusk. Bob Cline

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4418. Federal Sisters, 23 Sep 2014 - I am researching my Family tree and I have been recently been told that two members of my family had been working in a circus. Their names were Sallie and Sybil Francisco. They also went by the name of The Federal Sisters. Sallie was married to a trapeze artist who accidentally fell during a performance. Sybil died in Bridgend, Wales. Could anyone out there help? My email address is tolley274@btinternet.com. Yours truly, Derek Drysdale Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4417. Elephants WWII, 22 Sep 2014 - I know this might sound ridiculous, but I believe it to be true. I am not sure whether it was during the war or just after. I was child then, but two circus elephants were housed in garages in Hendon Park Row, Temple Fortune, London NW11. Our flat overlooked the garages and I do remember this - once I even knew the names of the elephants! People don't believe me though and I would like to authentic this. I think they were from Billy Smart's Circus, but I could be wrong. I guess circus animals were housed somewhere safe during the war, although bombs dropped nearby because of the proximity of Hendon Aerodrome. Would anyone have a record of circus animals' whereabouts at that time? I hope you can help, kind regards, Jean Hall (Mrs) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Sep 2014 - My name is Jamie Clubb. I am the author of “The Legend of Salt and Sauce: The Amazing Story of Britain’s Most Famous Elephants”. My cousin, Jim Stockley, kindly brought this enquiry to my attention. I can confirm that if this occurred during the war years (’39-45) these elephant most definitely weren’t owned by Billy Smart. Billy Smart didn’t start his circus until one year after WW2. Interestingly Salt and Sauce were one of his first elephant acts, which he booked off “Long” Tom Fossett. I will have to look properly through my research, but it is quite probable that these two elephants were Salt and Sauce, who are the only elephant duo I am aware of that were working around that time. If this is the case, then it adds another interesting piece of information to the story, which I can include in my third edition. Thank you very much for writing the enquiry. Kind regards, Jamie Clubb

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4416. Bagonghi, clown, 22 Sep 2014 - Does anyone out there remember the full and correct name of Bagonghi the little clown who was with the Cristianis for many years? I understand that "Bagonghi" is an Italian slang term for little people. Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Sep 2014 - Italian showmen were the first to employ the generic nickname Bagonghi to identify dwarves in the circus. The term may have African origins, according to one tertiary source. Two men bearing the Bagonghi identity performed before American audiences. The information summaries that follow were compiled from entries in trade journals, programs and online resources. More definitive data might be found in formal vital statistics (Italian birth records), immigration and naturalization documentation, etc.
        The first Bagonghi in North America is believed to have been Giuseppe (Joseph) Bignoli (1889/1891/1892-1939). According to show programs, he was solo equestrian with Barnum & Bailey from 1914 to 1918 and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey from 1919 through 1923. He did a comedy routine, suspended by a Stokes mechanic device as he and the horse circled the ring, the rider holding on to head and tail as he attempted to secure his desired mount on the animal’s back. It was a variation on the Stokes mechanic-based comedy riding acts that commenced by the 1880s. Some associated ground tumbling may have been presented as part of the action. Sometimes he wore a kilt and at others a woman’s wig, all in good fun to garner laughter. His billings were often as “Signor Bagonghi.” Special lithographs were created to advertise his act, portraying him starting the routine attired in a top hat and tails, presumably to burlesque the more formal riding presentations. A number of photographs are available of him online, along with tertiary biographical accounts.
        The second Bagonghi performer is the one made enduringly known by his photograph in the John and Alice Durant book, “Pictorial History of the American Circus,” (p283). According to Richard Hubler’s biography “The Cristianis,” (1966, p128) he became part of the Cristiani circus family operation in 1933, dating the event to the first speech Hitler gave after becoming the German chancellor (post assumed on January 30, 1933). He apparently joined the family as they were en route to an engagement in Munich. In later years Bagonghi sometimes invoked the year 1920 to define his start with the Cristiani family, but that may have some other relevance.
        Hubler used the name “Count Fillafilla Bagonghi.” Bagonghi reportedly did a burlesque of a part of Chita Cristiani’s skillful and elegant display, also using a Stokes mechanic as a basis for the action, following in the steps of Signor Bagonghi before him. None of the available photos show him with the Cristiani riding act or posed with the family. Hubler, presumably relying upon family sources, characterized him as “the prima donna of the family and more of a rehearsal tyrant than Oscar.” He also worked solo as a clown; did Shrine dates; participated in a trampoline act with other Cristianis; and more.
        The Cristianis came to the US for 1934. Pete Cristiani’s memoir, scripted by Lane Talburt in “Bandwagon,” (Nov-Dec 2010, p65) states that “dwarf Bagonghi, a long-time family fixture,” was with the family when they set out in March 1934 on the liner “Champlain” from Portsmouth, England for the USA. They played the traditional RBBB opener in Madison Square Garden and then shifted to a traveling tour with one of the Ringling organization railroad shows for the under canvas portion of the season (1934-1935 Hagenbeck-Wallace; 1936-1937 Al G. Barnes). Bagonghi was with the family during these ventures and also with their subsequent presence on RBBB 1938-1943. His name isn’t always given in show accounts, but it’s likely that he remained with the majority of the family whenever a few Cristianis were doing separate acts with other circuses. He was with them for the 1943 Spangles operation (photographed with Jack Dempsey and son); then 1944 and 1946-1948 seasons on Cole Bros.; 1945 Russell Bros.; King Bros.-Cristiani 1949-1953; Bailey Bros.-Cristiani 1954-1955; Cristiani Bros. 1956-1958; King Bros. 1959; and 1960 Cristiani Bros., which is the last known entry for Bagonghi. What became of him is unknown; perhaps a member of the Cristiani family will recall his final days?
        There are many variations on his name besides Hubler’s variation: Gallifilli Bagonghi (1946, 1952, 1953, 1959); Johnny Bagonghi (1946, 1947, 1949-1954, 1956-1957, 1959); Jimmy (1947); and Gallizoli Battista (1958). Someone related that his birth certificate read “Giovanni Baptisti Gallisolli Bagonghi.” (April 17, 1948 issue of “Billboard,” page 54) A friend later wrote Gallosolli. Drop the “Bagonghi” and you may have something close to his actual name. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 01 Oct 2014 - Thanks, Fred. What started this search for the name is a 1938 Minneapolis Shrine Circus program with many autographs including what looks like "Galigione Bagonghi" to me (note: I scanned and sent this to Fred and he agrees that it looks like that). The Cristianis were on the bill so I feel sure it's the same Bagonghi who was with them. I have been unable to find any such spelling on the net. I asked Vicky if she remembered his correct name but she said they always called him Bagonghi. Lane: are you still in touch with Pete? Maybe he could help. Dave

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4415. Perry Bros circus, 22 Sep 2014 - Hi. my name is Billie Ann Warren, my mother's name is Margaret Janice Tapp. I was born in 1958 when my parents and grandparents, my whole mothers side of the family were in the Perry Bros circus. Can anyone tell me some stories. My mum was killed in a car accident in 1963 and I went to an orphanage with my sister and young brother and don't know much about my mum or her life in the circus. Does anyone know anything please, I would love to hear some stories, thanx. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Sep 2014 - Yes, I know most of the Tapps. Barry tapp good friend of mine. My email: robert.perry3@bigpond.com

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4414. Clinton and Lorene Nogle, 22 Sep 2014 - I am trying to find out any information I can about Clinton Leroy Nogle and Lorene Nogle. He was a traveling carnival/showman beginning around 1910. They married in Idaho and worked together as a couple He was born in Wisconsin in 1884 and she was born in Alabama in 1895. Traveled with Goodman's Wonder Shows and Dodson's Imperial Shows. They moved to Flroida in the 1950's and died in 1974 and 1975 respectively. Appreciate any help. Sincerely, Arthur Soule Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Sep 2014 - It appears that Clinton L. Nogle started out with a real photo postcard concession, which morphed into a penny arcade. His bookings were generally with better known railroad carnivals, with possible association with the prominent Craft’s motorized show in CA in the 1930s. References span from 1907 to 1951, suggesting a career spanning 45 years.
        Nogle is best known for his photography; I have seen a large album of his work, 8 x 10 prints, that documented the Great Patterson Shows between 1912 and 1914. Some of these views have been placed into print. You can see them in James R. Patterson, “Tomorrow is Another Town, The Anatomy of a Circus,” published in 2013 by the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Society (Paola, KS) and the Patterson Family. A general Google search for his identifier “Photo by Nogle” yielded only one item, which may or may not be his work. There are other carnival photo studio operators who did establish a known name brand.
        I did not search far for specific biographical information and such as you seem to have that generally in hand already. [I readily found tertiary entries for Clinton Nogle, born August 19, 1884 (Buffalo, WI?), died January 1974, St. Petersburg; Lorene Nogle born December 4, 1894, died December 1975, St. Petersburg, FL; marriage Bonneville, ID, 1930; census references—1900 Buffalo, WI1920, Bexar County, TX; 1930 San Juaquin, CA; 1940 (and 1935) Shreveport, Caddo Co. LA] You can augment your existing knowledge with census information, local directory listings (though being traveling show people they’ll often not be listed), etc.
        Most of the references to the Nogles are found in issues of the weekly trade papers New York Clipper and Billboard. These are accessible online, as per other entries posted on the message board. Gaining access to ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive will yield many hits filling in years that currently have no data points. Knowing editing and OCR failures, I also searched under the spelling “Nagle,” which yielded a few additional hits.
        Clinton L. Nogle, aka Clint, Clint L., C. L. and perhaps other variants, was probably in the traveling show business by 1907. His name appears in a mail box list published in Billboard, November 9, 1907, page 19. A chronological list of found entries includes:
    1911 Great Patterson Shows (Paoloa, KS quarter) concessions [Billboard, September 2, 1911, p23]
    1913 Great Patterson Shows, photographer and Electric Postal Gallery, assisted by Jack Ralston [New York Clipper, July 5, 1913, p7; August 30, 1913, p28]
    1913 Wortham & Allen Shows photo post card concession [Clipper, November 29, 1913, p26]
    1914 Patterson Shows, postal gallery and official photographer [Billboard, May 2, 1914, p5]
    1914 Clint was a visitor to the Texas Cotton Palace [Clipper, November 21, 1914, p5]
    1917 in Waco, TX, likely with Wortham operation, Clint was a single man included in a party by J. J. Bejano and wife at their home [Billboard, Nov 10, 1917, p62]
    1920 [likely San Antonio], Bexar County, TX, perhaps in affiliation with Wortham
    1922 Wortham’s World’s Greatest Shows, penny arcade [Billboard, May 13, 1922, p88]
    1924 S. W. Brundage Shows penny arcade [Clipper, June 14, 1924, p30]
    1930 San Juaquin (County?), California
    1935 Shreveport, LA
    1940 Shreveport, LA
    1942 residing in Hot Springs, likely where the show they were with was wintering [Billboard, November 21, 1942, p32]
    1943-1944 Houston, TX
    1945 couple residing in Little Rock, visited by Lorene’s nephew Fred Lawley, USN Air Corps, have arcade on Wonder Shows after two years in Houston [Billboard, May 12, 1945, p38]
    1946 J. H. Nagle penny arcade with Goodman Wonder Shows [Billboard, June 15, 1946, p55]
    1946 Clint served as a pallbearer for Ray Ludington, manager of Craft’s 20 Big Shows, a CA carnival [Billboard, December 21, 1946, p54]
    1947 Goodman Wonder Shows of America, visiting nephew Fred E. Lawley in San Diego [Billboard, February 8, 1947, p54]
    1948 Imperial Exposition Shows, penny arcade, escaped death after auto towing a trailer tire blew out en route Columbus, GA to St. Petersburg, FL. Residing at Linger Longer Trailer Camp, Gainesville, FL [Billboard, November 13, 1945, p75]
    1949 Dodson Imperial, couple have penny arcade [Billboard, May 28, 1949, p73]
    1950 ACA Imperial Shows, Penny Arcade [Billboard, March 18, 1950, p63]
    1950 ACA Imperial Shows, penny arcade, Lorene cashier [Billboard, May 27, 1950, p79]
    1951 Lorene was the former Lorene Lawley, brother of late Fred E. Lawley, a well-known showman; nephew Frederick married Lillian Sokolowsky at San Diego on June 17 [Billboard, July 14, 1951, p107]
    1951 Clint Nogle selling 55 arcade machines, residence at 1502 Gilmore Avenue, Winona, Minnesota, perhaps an indication of retirement (then age 66 or 67) [Billboard, April 28, 1951, p67; October 13, 1951, p85; October 21, 1951, p61]
        If you have Clint and Lorene’s specific dates of death, the trade journal Amusement Business could be checked for their obituaries. Fred E. Lawley’s obituary may be in the Birmingham News of February 19, 1966. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 21 Jun 2015 - I just wanted to thank the responder to my inquiry dated 09/22/2014 about Clinton Leroy Nogle. The information was very helpful. Can the responder share where they saw the photo album of Clinton Nogle's work? I am very interested in seeing any of his photographs from his photography career. Sincerely, Arthur Soule

    Reply: 23 Jun 2015 - I inspected the Nogle album when it was in the possession of the late James Patterson Jr., about 25 years ago. The location of this item today is unknown. A few images from it may have been parted out to a local friend, and they are also “lost,” for at least the time being. I have maintained contact with the Patterson family and no one seems to know the whereabouts of the bulk of his materials. Periodically some Nogle images turn up, in other collections, online, etc. If you have a specific interest I may be able to assist you. Frederick.Dahlinger at ringling dot org. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 24 Jun 2015 - Once again, thank you for your response. I do have an interest in a particular photograph. It has probably been lost to time, but its worth a try. Please see link to photograph postmortem of infamous Western outlaw and Butch Cassidy associate, Ben Kilpatrick. This photograph was taken on the morning of March 13, 1912 after Kilpatrick was killed in a failed train robbery attempt. I have been researching Kilpatrick since the the early 1980's and have published some work on him. If you noticed the name Nogle is etched into the photo. One newspaper credited Clinton Leroy Nogle ass the photographer. I interviewed a man years ago who went to the depot that morning. He told me the circus was in town and someone from the circus took the photograph. I have tracked some of his history and the photographer seems to be the same Clinton Nogle that we have been discussing. He took more than one photograph that day. I've been trying to locate the other photograph or photographs he took. There was at least one other photograph taken from a greater distance away. Have you seen this photograph or any like it in his surviving work? I'm also interesting in locating a photograph of Mr. Nogle if any are available.
        http://www.cowanauctions.com/auctions/item.aspx?ItemId=29710. Ben Kilpatrick and the last full sized train robbery in Texas, Sanderson, 1912.Thank you for any assistance you may provide, Arthur

    Reply: 01 Jul 2015 - Nogle’s name isn’t in the New York Clipper listing of carnival employees in 1912, nor did his name turn up in key word searches in the Clipper or Billboard for 1912. He may have traveled on his own that year; or simply wasn’t listed in rosters that were submitted. It does appear that he was with the Great Patterson Shows in 1912, based on the date he applied to at least one image. Most traveling shows had a 30-week season, late spring to mid-autumn, but those in the South could sometimes travel nearly year round, with a limited time off. The Patterson outfit didn’t open until April, 24, 1912, in Paola, Kansas, the winter quarters community. If he was the March 1912 photographer, he was then traveling with another outfit. Perhaps he was identified as a show photographer, by profession, which was then locally reported or communicated; the actual presence of a show being possibly in error?
        Nogle inscribed his name on images in different ways, including scratching it into the emulsion. Often it was done in a nice cursive script. Perhaps, in the rush to sell prints immediately, he resorted to a simpler method?
        Many folks confuse a circus and a carnival as being one and the same. Nogle was generally employed by carnivals, and not a circus. Regardless of the type of show, the local newspapers where the robbery and aftermath took place were usually contracted to publish advertisements. These usually stand out from other local advertising. If you find a show ad, you’ll find Nogle’s possible show employer. You can ascertain the identity of some shows by checking the route and local news columns of the New York Clipper and Billboard, both of which are accessible online. It could also be he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4413. M George, Leona Dare, 20 Sep 2014 - My great aunt was the performer Leona Dare. I was reading an article where she and her partner only known as M George, while performing a strong jaw trapeze act at the Princess Theatre in Valencia Spain, became seized with a nervous fit and dropped her partner M George to his death November 18 1884. Do you know what M George's real name was? Does anyone know where he was buried? Oh, by the way I know where her scrapbooks are. They are not in my posession but in a Stuart cousin. Some of her things are at the Museum of Art and Culture in Spokane. I found a person who was related to Leona Dare's niece Leona Dare Stuart Musser husband Oliver. Oliver inherited Leona Dare's trunks. One went with a cousin which is lost but she had one or two that she donated to the MAC in Spokane. When I was at the Museum of Art and Culture there were newspapers Leona Dare had with articles about wing walking. By that time she was to old to perform but she was alwaying interested in new feats of daring. Anyway what was M George's real name? Chris Fox Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Sep 2014 - Online and other research yielded no satisfactory answer to your query about the specific name of M. George. At best, Leona Dare's first husband denied that the man dropped by Dare in the 1884 mishap was his brother George Hall [New York Sun, February 12, 1885]; and that the fellow that lost his life was also known as "Mons. George," which was apparently shortened to "M. George," as was not uncommon. It also appears that the fellow wasn't her second husband, Ernest T. Grünebaum, who must have passed away before her ultimate demise, and thus her widow status at her death.
        I searched theatrical coverage and newspapers for 1884-1885 and surprisingly there was no mention or obituary for any known acrobat or gymnast relating to the November 1884 incident. This suggests he was not well known in the profession; or was known only in Europe. There was almost no coverage of Dare in American papers 1881-1884, other than to announce an 1881 retirement and an 1882 fall, indicating she'd returned to the trapeze.
        There was also no specific information given about the deceased man, which is rather unusual. It could be that the wild and suggestive rumors of her having dropped her husband's brother had squelched the publication of more accurate news. But, in any event, lack of details is unusual. That is especially so when there was then pressure being applied to provide safety nets or rigging for all dangerous aerial acts.
        I think the best method to establish that indeed the fellow passed away from the fall and to ascertain his true identity will be to make the requisite contacts in Valencia, Spain. Presumably the local authorities will have documented the accident, and death, and also reports will be found in the local newspapers. If he died and was buried locally, there'll also be a cemetery internment record. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4412. Circus accident, 16 Sep 2014 - I was speaking with a gentleman well versed in circus history and I mentioned seeing a circus accident around 1947 in Florida. He stated it did not happen. Even though I was about 6-7 at the time, I still have a vivid memory of the accident. It involved a tight wire act where a bicycle was involved with people hanging from a pole held by the rider. The people fell and the father who was on the ground ran out to try to catch one of the girls. I believe he broke his neck. If I remember correctly there were a couple of performers who died. Is there anyway to verify this accident? Joann Wasson, Indiana Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Oct 2014 - An accident as severe as you describe would have been covered by Billboard magazine, a weekly magazine covering all forms of outdoor entertainment. You can search it, with key word search techniques, on Google Books, which covers about 1942-1960. Use their advanced search basis, confine the title entry to Billboard, use year limits, then use words like accident, the year, etc. If you find nothing, then indeed it may not have occurred as you recall it. I did a quick search of 1946-1948 by the method described above and had no useful hits. The event sounds, on the surface, more like the tragic accident incurred by the Wallenda family wire walking troupe in Detroit, MI in 1962. It is well known and documented. Their presentations included a human pyramid, use of a bicycle and other incredible feats. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 25 Oct 2014 - Billboard Nov. 29, 1947 writes a long article: Miami, Nov. 22, 1947 - Alzanas high wire act, man on bicycle with 2 girls suspended underneath on trapeze bars. They fall, and father runs out to break the fall of one girl. His neck is broken, but he recovers. No death reported. Billie

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4411. Wickham Bros Circus, 15 Sep 2014 - In regard to circus history, I am seeking information about the Wickham Brothers Circus (unsure of the spelling). The circus spent, or visited Bancroft (Durand), Michigan often. My Grandfather was, according to word of mouth, a trapez artist for them. My Grandfather's name is Paul Kean, Sr. (Born: 11 December 1890 in Kalamazoo County), but may have used a stage name. Thank you for your time and consideration. Marshall Kean Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Sep 2014 - It is quite possible that the show you are asking about was the Wixom Bros. Have you tried contacting the Circus World Research Library in Baraboo, WI? Their archivist, Pete Shrake can look in a few reference files he has at his disposal to see if the name Paul Kean pops up. Best wishes, Bob Cline

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4410. Stilt walker, 15 Sep 2014 - Looking for 1930,s stilt walker. Hi my name is Lindsay Smith-Boam. I am looking for a stilt walker from a circus troupe that visited Liverpool (UK) in 1933 approx. Especially anyone who had contact with Nellie Clemenson. It is related to our family tree. Many thanks Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4409. Lion or tiger tamers, 09 Sep 2014 - Looking to find any foootage of Mabel Stark or Louis Roth in particular – but almost anything with lion and/or tiger tamers in the early 1900s. Julie Marsten for Leslie Zemeckis Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Sep 2014 - There is some of Mabel here http://www.historicfilms.com/tapes/14367_212.17_264.17 at the 00:44:30 mark. Also some of Capt Schneider from 1930s at http://www.britishpathe.com/video/dinner-is-served/query/lion+in+car, I hope this helps? jim@stockley.co.za

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4408. Allan Alfred Baker, 03 Sep 2014 - I wonder if you have any information on a newspaper cutting that is actually stuck to the back of an old photo. So I am not sure of the date. It talks about the inquest of, Allan Alfred Baker, an elephant trainer, who died of his injuries after the elephant attacked him. The inquest was in Hackney, London and the attack took place in Dalston, the same area. I think it must have been around the late 1800's. Many thanks, Sue Ferrar Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Sep 2014 - Sue, there is a cutting from the Nelson Evening Mail (NZ paper) 13 April 1897 and refers to a 40 yr old Asian elephant belonging to Sanger's Circus killing 27yr old Baker. A copy of the article is online at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=NEM18970413.2.18 - Were you looking for more information on the elephant? I hope this helps you? jim@stockley.co.za

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4407. John Rauschenbach, 03 Sep 2014 - Seeking info on my "Grand Uncle" John Rauschenbach, who in 1900 was aka John Wilmer Martine, "Martyne, the Human Snake," in the Nickle Plate circus, and in previous years was called "Martine, the Human Corkscrew," while a performer with Merlin & Co's Big, One Ring Circus. He may also have been associated with the "Flying Wards" aerial act. Frederick Rauschenbach Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Sep 2014 - Refer to query 3657 for related material on Rauschenbach. Given that there’s already some basic knowledge of your family members, and that they have a number of name variations to pursue (Google and other searching, all name variations, stage names, aliases (William Rauschenbach, Martine, Martyne, etc.), act names, partner names, etc.), I recommend that you start to compile a formal written chronology to assemble all of the bits and pieces of knowledge into an organized dossier. It will correlate what you know and where gaps remain, as well as identifying conflicts and opportunities for research.
        Simple Google searches for “’John Rauschenbach’ + circus” and “’John Wilmer Martine’ + circus”yielded about a dozen hits, including multiple, extended newspaper accounts mentioning the engagement to the senator’s daughter (Ruth Mason, daughter of W. E. Mason), friendship with another senator’s daughter (Ruth Hanna, daughter of Mark Hanna), other society and industry notables (whose alleged scandals and private letters he threatened to expose, when charged), criminal activity (larceny), identity fraud (federal warrant issued for his posing as a US Customs inspector), “Harrigan’s circus” [either the stage operation (no circus per se named Harrigan’s is listed) or a possible error for W. H. Harris’s Nickel Plate circus], an Uncle Tom’s Cabin engagement, and so on. These 1906 accounts suggest that they were his “15 minutes of fame,” especially after one lawyer termed him a “monumental liar.” There was reference to his profession (Human Snake, Human Corkscrew, Anatomical Wonder) when a reporter penned that he couldn’t wiggle out of being sent to the Tombs. The court cases and papers of the senators and others named may provide insights on the larceny and federal charges, especially since he was convicted on the former in Westchester County; however, other than some public statements, the matters may have been handled privately via attorneys and the complete story will never be known.
        Further searches on name variations, the people in his life, etc., will yield and long and interesting life account, which will include a variety of stints with shows. Those with which he appeared are generally not known by surviving business records or proprietor personal papers. Thus, there will be a reliance on the weekly trade journals and newspaper references. It’s possible that some ephemeral items may document him, and some of these might be found via the “yellow ticket” file at the Circus World Museum library. That resource would need to be checked for all name variations, act names, etc., as the entries are verbatim from the source documents.
        In recent, prior message responses on this board you will learn how and where to search New York Clipper online; it will provide a continuum of data and entries about the men you seek. A second continuum of knowledge will be the weekly journal Billboard, accessible in some libraries at no cost; and these two journals can be supplemented with searching of digitized newspapers and other documentation. Your ancestors were performers of the type that could readily slip back and forth between circus and stage (vaudeville, variety, dime museum, other) engagements, indoor, outdoor and traveling, so be sure to examine all aspects of public presentation.
        It’s always a good idea to start with life details (birth, marriage(s) and divorces, spousal deaths, children, parents, etc.) and residencies, as they are the foundation of the careers that you seek to document. The genealogical data, if accurately assembled and researched, can be a powerful tool for further work. Be sure to include the reference wherein the information was found, in the event that the accuracy of any single report is called into question by another. It is almost expected that there will be variations in dates between published obituaries, cemetery headstones, census records and other documentation - keep track of all of them. Those that are primary and closest to the event, and placed into print during the life of the individual are the most likely to be accurate (with the exception of census entries that are sometimes made by others, or intentionally misleading). Obituaries compiled after death are notoriously unreliable, as the person is gone, they are usually based on recall, and it’s an opportunity to enhance and sometimes aggrandize the lifestyle and accomplishments of the individual for posterity - until the historian eventually seeks the primary records.
        Rauschenberg’s story apparently starts in Baltimore, where his father had a shoe trade, and then proceeds to the German Orphan Asylum after his parents died when he was age two; upon reaching age 18 (c1900-1901) he moved on to New York. He was reported as being 27 or 28 in 1906 [c1882-1883 birth]. He had two sisters residing in Baltimore and Cherry Hill, MD in 1906. They and others in his life were exposed after he was charged and convicted in New York, which was affirmed on appeal.
        The prior posting mentions association with Martino Lawande (sic). That would be Martinho Lowande, likely Jr., a well-known veteran circus performer and proprietor. See: http://www.circushistory.org/Olympians/OlympiansL2.htm
        Merlin & Co. would be Albert Merlin, proprietor of Merlin’s Big City Circus in 1897. It opened in Washington, D. C. on July 3. Martine, the contortionist is noted in Clipper, July 17, 1897, page 320. He had been at the Palace Musee, Baltimore, a dime museum, for two weeks, closing on June 12 and then played the week of June 21 at Middle River Park before signing to do ten weeks for Merlin. [Clipper, July 3, 1897, p. 286] Merlin’s outfit was a very modest overland operation, perhaps enduring a month, if that; his lead act sought new bookings in mid-August. Clipper searches for “Albert Merlin” yielded little other than the circus entries, just an 1897 request for medicine show people. He operated out of 61 New York Avenue, NW in the district, a residential area.
        W. H. Harris started his Nickel Plate show in the early 1880s. Chicago-based, it ran into the early 20th century. I didn’t find a specific reference to Rauschenbach’s presence with the show.
        Steve Gossard, affiliated with Illinois State University, Milner Library, Special Collections, is an authority on the Ward family and their trapeze acts, if that’s the Wards of interest to you. One comprehensive paper about them is in print in the CHS journal, Bandwagon, and he likely has garnered additional information since it became public. You can find it in the article index and order a back copy, and contact Steve at ISU. There were several male contortionists who suited up as snakes, reptiles and the like. To research that topic, there’s the Burns Katzenberg collection about contortionists at Harvard University library. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4406. Dunamis Sculpture, 29 Aug 2014 - On Park Lane, London there is a Dunamis Sculpture by Bushka Fakhoury, depicting a carnival man holding aloft an elephant balancing on its trunk. Do you know if this was performed in real life somewhere in the world or if not, could you put me onto someone who would know? Best wishes, Robert D Dangoor, London Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Sep 2014 - At least two sculptures are in public venues depicting elephants doing what I'll term a "straight trunk stand," the one in London, by Bushra, and another by Miquel Barcel in Union Square, New York. There is the real world; then there is the imagined and formed world of the artist. As inspiration, Bushra declared that her work was inspired by fables, folklore, myths, dreams and aspirations. Barcel likened his to the life of an artist, always being a difficult balance. The elephant form became their chosen means to visually express their idea, just as another artist might elect to use the unique physiology of a giraffe or a hippopotamus.
        The physiology of the pachyderm precludes any "straight trunk stand" activity, in reality. The body weight is far in excess of what the trunk could support in a compression situation. While the elephant trunk is a true wonder of many, many muscles, it lacks the column strength and rigidity to support the body weight. The trunk serves purposefully to grasp, lift and move delicate to heavy objects, and can move in almost any direction and position as those muscles are exerted. It is not suited to the role exemplified by the four legs, to support the body mass and provide motion capability. Consider that there are four legs, with massive bone structure, to support the beast and to propel it. The trunk, usually in an upward curled attitude, can be used to stabilize a forward leaning position, on the two font legs, which carry the bulk of the body weight. It is only with considerable skill and diligence that elephants have been educated to do a one-leg stand, for a brief period of time, an activity generally accomplished with smaller beasts.
        Needless to say, it is also physically impossible for any human to hold an elephant in the air with a vertically-extended arm, as depicted by Bushra. In that regard, the top achievement are the single-arm hand stands accomplished by skilled acrobats and gymnasts, and arm strength as further exemplified in an act called the "Jackley drops." In it, a performer falls downward from an elevated platform, doing acrobatic turns during the descent, and then lands on their outstretched arms, and then turning to a standing position. It was often seen around the turn of the century, but has had few practitioners in recent times. It can be read about in an article by Stuart Thayer in the Circus Historical Society journal, Bandwagon (January-February 2002, available as a back issue). An edited version can be read here: http://www.circushistory.org/Thayer/Thayer3k.htm Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator= of Circus History, "The Ringling," John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, = Sarasota, FL

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4405. Flying Battons, 25 Aug 2014 - My name is Leslie Florio. I was looking for some info on "The Flying Battons." I saw you had been looking for some info on them also. They are my ancestors. If you have any info on them I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you! [also see message 3357] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Apr 2015 - I have been researching trapeze for a number of years but cannot recall finding information about the Flying Battons. My research has focused on acts that performed specifically with the circus, and, believe me, there were many, many, many of those; but if the Flying Battons were performing in vaudeville or with parks and fairs it is not likely that I would have found much, if any, information about them. If you have any idea of the time frame, the names of the performers, or the shows they worked with I may be able to find something in our old circus programs and route books; or in the New York Clipper or Billboard magazines. At any rate, I am always interested in finding acts that are so-far unknown to me. Could you provide any more information? Thank you, Steve Gossard

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4404. William Charles Grean, 22 Aug 2014 - Researching my gr-grandfather, William Charles Grean (went by "Charlie") who was born in 1869, supposedly in or around Bowling Green, Kentucky, and that his family had a tobacco farm and raised horses. Story goes that he joined the circus at a young age and worked caring for the horses. The story further goes that the circus train stopped in Pittsburgh, PA and a man there offered him a job. He quit the circus and made a life in Pittsburgh. Can't find anything to corroborate his being born in Kentucky so far. My aunt says that her mom, "Charlie's" daughter, said he travelled with either Barnum OR Bailey, before they became partners. I went through the route dates and noted when certain circuses were in Ky., and then years later, stopped in Pittsburgh, Pa., but can't even be sure of dates at this point. Would anyone have any idea where I could get info? By the way, my name is Beverly. Thanks to anyone who reads this! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Aug 2014 - Roustabouts came and went from circuses routinely. They sought to escape the farm, local work conditions, see the world and to move from one locale to another without overtly paying any of the expenses, other than by their sweat. Only those that remained employed towards the end of the season, when the roster was taken for publication in the route book, are documented in those pieces. The 1886 Barnum & London Route Book, transcribed and on this website, includes an entry for “C. Green” as a member of the Oblong Men. That defined one of the tents, which had an oblong shape. These fellows worked on the rings and track, meaning they prepared the earth for the performance, per an entry in the 1885 route book (which listed H. Green). See http://www.circushistory.org/History/PTB1886.htm. The show had an engagement in Bowling Green on June 1, 1886, connecting it with that community.
        Barnum, Bailey and Hutchinson were the partners in 1881-1885; superseded by Barnum, Hutchinson, Cole and Cooper 1886-1887, with it becoming Barnum & Bailey for 1888 and thereafter. Thus, the 1886 entry fits your circumstances, other than for the spelling of the family name, which is understandable. With his birth in 1869, he would have been a lad of 12 if he joined before any Barnum—Bailey connection. That is less likely than employment in 1886, I suspect. I doubt that personnel records survive from that time. Often the men were given a badge with a number and paid by that number in cash. It was a time before more complex payroll tracking went into use. A quick check of the Clipper for the name Grean and also “Charles Green” yielded no specific hits of interest, but you might try other variants. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 28 Aug 2014 - I should have noted that Barnum & London played Pittsburgh on September 28-29, 1885 and again on October 3-4, 1887. The closest they came in 1886 was Steubenville, OH on June 19. At the time, Pittsburgh and Allegheny City, north of the Allegheny River, were not yet consolidated into a single community, an annexation not taken until 1907. Shows often as not played Allegheny City.
        Steubenville and other communities within the surrounding locale should not be dismissed out-of-hand as a substitute for “Pittsburgh.” I once asked a business associate where he originated and he replied “Pittsburgh.” When I asked for specifics, because I resided in the Steel City, he replied “Steubenville.” Obviously, his initial response was for the benefit of those with less knowledge of geography, or a preference for big city affiliation.
        In the last quarter of the 19th century Pittsburgh was very focused on business, a community noted for heavy capital investment for primary manufacturing arising from the local coal mines. Jobs were readily available, the mills and supporting industry undergoing constant expansion with the erection of new Bessemer plants, open hearth shops and rail mills. Typically, the local newspapers commented very little about the presence of a traveling show. Immigrant working life in the city is captured in the Thomas Bell novel “Out of This Furnace” and the collected essays in “From These Hills, From These Valleys.” Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4403. Carnival banner, 15 Aug 2014 - I found a carnival banner that is signed O B Signs Leevilles La. Do you know anything about its possible history? Any information would be helpful. Thanks, Kathleen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Aug 2014 - A visual representation of the banner might provide a clue as to the vintage of the piece, and if the style is that of a known artist. The Signpainter website, http://www.signpainter.us/city-leesville-la-vernon-county, lists three sign makers in Leesville today. You might contact them to learn if they have knowledge of their predecessors. Sign painters are a proud tradition, skills and knowledge often passed along. Their heritage explored in a recent PBS-broadcast documentary, “Sign Painters.”
        Most painted side show banners are from the post-WWII era. A check of Billboard for the 1940s-1960 period revealed these local amusement operations, but surely there were others in the time, and in the subsequent 54 years since Billboard discontinued outdoor show coverage. N. L. “Whitie” Dixon had Playland Park at Leesville in 1944, thriving on soldiers stationed at Camp Polk, which had been opened in 1941. Carl Bohn and Dixon partnered in the operation of Funland Park in Leesville in 1950 and [Carl H.] Bohn & Sons United Shows wintered in Leesville 1951-1952. Pelican Shopws was at Leesville in 1950. A member of the Capell family of showmen, H. N. Capell, wintered his motorized Capell Bros. Circus at the fairgrounds in Leesville, LA in 1951-1952. Pan American Shows, a motorized carnival, was there 1955-1956. Shows that played Leesville and may have contracted for local supplier services included: Mimic World Shows, 1947; Ed Groves’s Groves Greater Shows, 1951; Buff Hottle Shows #3 unit, 1955. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4402. Beulah Bigelow, 12 Aug 2014 - My name is Tina Showalter and I am looking for information on my Great-Grandmother Beulah Leona Bigelow. She was born in Frederick Oklahoma June 30, 1908. Supposedly she was in a circus helping train elephants and walking tightrope. She married Arthur Clarence Bigelow in 1927. She gave birth to 2 daughters Opal in 1924 that died at birth and Doris in 1926 (my grandmother). Both were born in Kansas City, Missouri and their last name was Elliott. I don’t have any information on him all I know is he was born in Michigan. I am assuming he was in the circus also. I did find in 2 of your magazines 1982 I think an Arthur Biglow and Beulah Bigelow and James (Jimmie) Elliott. Elliott is my biological great-grandfather and would like to know more about him and Beulah and (their) circus life if possible. Thank you Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4401. Hiram Minard, 04 Aug 2014 - I am looking for information on my grandfather, Hiram Charles Minard. He was born in Michigan in 1913 and was a sharp shooter in a Michigan circus. I do not know any more information than he use to shot cigarettes out of womens mouths, and one night after nicking one of them he never did it again. Any info you have or if you can tell me where to look would be most appreciated. Andrea Minard Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Aug 2014 - A sharpshooting act could have been with a small circus, or also with a traveling carnival, or served as an attraction at agricultural fairs. I assume that you’ve checked with family members for any surviving correspondence, clippings, scrapbooks, photos, etc., that might provide leads to documenting his career as a showman. There may be mention of his activities in local newspapers. A quick check in HeritageQuest yielded a single 1940 census hit for Hiram Minard, a 24-year old hired hand living in rural Sanilac County, MI. It would give him a birth year of c1916, not 1913, but numerous census entries are unreliable. A Hiram C. Minard is also listed as born November 13, 1915, death on January 31, 1983, Warren, MI, had resided in Brandon, MI, married to Mavis Rose, May 6, 1924, in Michigan. It would help to know in which community Hiram Charles Minard was born, and where he resided when he joined a show. People often joined locally-based operations, or those in the vicinity. Did he use his birth name, or a stage name? With a 1913/1916 birth, adulthood would place him into the 1930s. Billboard magazine would be the best place to search for him. If you can gain access to a library hosting ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive you could do a key word search for his name. If he’s not located therein, the search for his career will likely be pretty difficult. I did a key word search for him in Billboard, which is available as a Google books advanced search for the 1942 to 1950s; no hits for any sharpshooter named Minard. You can also try at Fulton History, which wasn’t up and running when I tried to search it. There is a body of documentation concerning Michigan traveling people at Central Michigan University: https://www.cmich.edu/library/clarke/ResearchResources/Michigan_Material_Statewide/Circuses_and_Carnivals/Pages/default.aspx. You might try contacting the archivist, Marian Matyn, matyn1mj@cmich.edu on the chance that they may have something concerning him. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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