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Message Archive: Messages 4501-4600




4600. Rudolph Lucasie, 04 Feb 2016 - In 1857 P.T. Barnum brought the Lucasie family of albinos from Amsterdam to his American Museum in New York. Currier and Ives produced several variations of etchings of the family which were sold as souvenirs at the museum. In several of the versions (and in the well known photograph taken by Matthew Brady), Rudolph and Antiana Lucasie are shown with their son Joseph. There was however a sister who was featured on at least one of the etchings. According to Joseph's obituary in 1909, his parents and sister all died shortly after leaving the Lemen Bros Circus in 1898. I am looking for the name of the daughter of Rudolph and Antiana Lucasie and any information on whether she was also a part of the exhibition, presumably in the sideshows of W.W. Cole, Lemen Bros, Coup/Mabie and P.T. Barnum. Chris Berry circusposters@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4599. 1918 route book, 27 Jan 2016 - I am trying to find a 1918 circus route book for (preferably) the Hagebeck-Wallace Circus, or, failing that, for any circus in 1918, including Ringling Bros. I am not just looking for a list of stops (though that would be a start) but something as extensive as this one that you have so helpfully posted: http://www.circushistory.org/History/Ringling1898.htm#STAFF. Thank you. Russell Working Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Feb 2016 - Per various inventories, there is no 1918 Hagenbeck-Wallace route book. Expansive, illustrated route books with daily commentary, topical articles, etc., like the 1898 Ringling volume were part of an era from the 1890s into the early 1900s, and not generally continued later. If you state functionally what you’re trying to do based on having such a volume, there may be recommended alternatives. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4598. Buck Warren, 26 Jan 2016 - I have a large silver medal presented by the management Blackpool tower circus to Buck Warren season 1928. I have tried many times to find out about Mr Warren but no luck. I live in Blackpool and have always been interested in its history. Ay help would be greatfully received, regards, Steve Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4597. Thelma Ingle Keeler, 25 Jan 2016 - I am trying find information about my grandmother, Thelma Ingle Keeler's time in the circus. She was with Sells Floto Circus in the 1920s. She married a clown named Phil Keeler. We have some photos of her in costumes and with other performers and I found a circus program listing her as a member of the ballet. We also have the mouthpiece for an "iron jaw" act she was in. I can't find much about Phil Keeler at all. Does anyone have any info about him? He died, but I am not sure when and of what, and she later married my grandfather. Thanks! Sonja Greenway Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Jan 2016 - Phil Keeler was originally part of a brothers clown act, including his brother, Len, who were on Ringling Bros. by 1905. They also did stage dates and were once part of a road show. Simple Google searches for “Phil Keeler” + circus and “Keeler, Phil” + circus turned up about ten relevant hits, spanning from 1922 to 1957. There are more for “Keeler Bros” + clowns, maybe for the more formal Philip E. Keeler, etc., so use variations and different search terms. The 1922 item is a Sells-Floto route book, giving the staff roster, on this website. Included in the hits was a photo documenting him on the 1946 Sparks Circus in clown wardrobe and make-up. One of the hits was in the Tom Parkinson papers at the Circus World Museum library, where the “yellow tickets” may produce additional references to the Keelers. There are seven hits for him in New York Clipper, on Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, online. Fulton History had about 20 hits in Billboard and New York Clipper, 1905 into the 1920s. Altogether, this is the start for a pretty good chronology of Keeler’s career as a clown. Many of the shows that hired Keeler have been profiled in season review articles published in the CHS journal, Bandwagon. You can learn much more about his existence by reading them. Performers were typically with one show for two seasons, unless they were exceptional. Knowing about the shows, in chronological order, can often provide insights as to how and why they moved from one troupe to another. It may be relevant to the story to know where Thelma Ingle resided before she joined the trade, when she and Keeler parted company, where she resided later and where she was buried. People’s lives often revolve around geography, for one reason or another. It has also been common for ballet girls to marry clowns. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 19 Mar 2016 - Thank you very much for these tips! I have made much more progress. Seems Len was much more well-known than Phil, maybe because Phil died in the 30s. I had already seen the 1922 Billboard post and found a program with all the Sells Floto Staff, which listed Phil Keeler as a clown and Thelma as a member of the ballet. I have their marriage certificate (Indiana) and found Phil's obit. (Bridgeport, CT) but couldn't find anything about a divorce. My grandmother always told us Phil died while they were still married, but this isn't true. Can't find much on her circus years either. She did use the stage name "Bordeaux" and we have some postcards of her with this name on it. I don't know if you would have any record of a performer who used that name. She was good friends with Betty Broadbent, the tattooed lady as well. Thanks again! You have been very helpful. Sonja

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4596. Belinda Connors, 18 Jan 2016 - I am writing a book about circus performers who have been killed while performing, specifically trapeze artists; currently, I am researching the death of Belinda Jean Neff Connors (last name appears as Conners in some accounts) who fell from her trapeze while performing with the Shrine Circus in Michigan in April 1991. If anyone can provide me with documents/photos about this tragedy or put me in touch with any of her surviving family or friends (for interviews), I would appreciate it. Nicholas Cain Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jan 2016 - If your volume includes flyers who lost their lives while practicing, then look into the death of Ernie Lane. His passing came after attempting either a triple, or a double with a triple twist to the net (period accounts differ in specifying the act) at the Chicago Coliseum in April 1921, as the Flying Wards prepared for their opening with Sells-Floto. Check Steve Gossard’s book (pages 149-150); his account of the Ward family in CHS journal Bandwagon (Nov-Dec 1986); Courtney Ryley Cooper, “Split Seconds,” Saturday Evening Post, December 6, 1930; and C. P. Fox notes from Mayme Ward in the Alfredo Codona file in the Tom Parkinson Papers at Circus World Museum’s library. Ward’s recollection is at odds with Pierre Couderc’s account in Bandwagon, March-April 1964. Steve can probably list any number of trapeze artists who lost their life while perfecting their presentations. Fred Dahlinger, Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 25 Jan 2016 - Mr. Dahlinger, thank you for taking the time to provide all this valuable information; it will prove priceless during the course of my research; (you, sir, have made it onto my Acknowledgements Page!) - NC

    Reply: 04 Feb 2016 - I am Belinda Conners youngest daughter. Kelly

    Reply: 19 Mar 2016 - Kelly, please check your FB messages. -N. Cain

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4595. New ideas, 16 Jan 2016 - Hello, my name is Gage Glidewell, I am a student enrolled at Alpine ISD in Alpine, Texas. I am in a class currently called "History Research" where we have to pick a topic for our project and research every aspect of it. Each year on National History Day there is a competition that takes place which we will enter our projects into. Each year there is a different topic that these projects must cover, this year's is Exploration, Encounter and Exchange. So basically I am wondering if there was any information that you all could provide me with regarding as to how the circus explored new ideas, the problems or other experiences they might have encountered, and finally how and what ideas did the circus exchange with the world (Specifically America). Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sincerely, Gage Glidewell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Feb 2016 - The first thing to know is that these enterprises were started by entrepreneurs. Some wanted fame and fortune. Some only wanted a "showcase" to express their own talents. An owner could be a business man only, a pitch-man, an animal trainer, or a combination of these and/or other skills that they wanted to express. Some were just plain grifters/grafters out for money. New ideas came from individuals. Attempts over the years to organize, unionize etc. met with cooperation and/or violence. Good luck, Billie

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4594. Flying Silverlakes, 16 Jan 2016 - I am a relative of Billie Lake aka Bernice Pea. The Silverlakes performed with Pagel's Circus during the 30s, I believe. They traveled to South Africa and New Zealand. I have photos and other ephemera. There is a rumor that my grandfather was also a clown for a short period but do not know if it was with Pagels Circus. His name is Logan I would love to have confirmation of this. Sincerely, Jennifer Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jan 2016 - Page 179 of Carel Birkby's book 'The Pagel Story' (Hodder & Stoughton 1948) has a brief mention (without an associated date) - "Berenice Silverlake, a trapeze girl from Florida, and Billie Lane, who also earned her living high under the tent top" ... different spelling of Bernice to yours? Also seems to have Billie and Berenice as two different people? all the best, jim@stockley.co.za

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4593. Johnny Jones, 14 Jan 2016 - I am trying to find info on Johnny Jones Circus and activities. Thank you very much for any info. Steven Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Jan 2016 - The Johnny J. Jones operation was a railroad carnival. It did have, at times, a back end circus show. If you search through the past postings on this Message Board you will find a number of responses that lead you to resources on Jones and his activities. For example, go to 3040 and 4264. There’s also a web page devoted to him, a Wikipedia entry, and perusal of Billboard and New York Clipper online provide hundreds of hits. A simple Google search will provide more hits, some online images and more. If you have a specific point of interest, declaring it enables more specific assistance to be provided in many instances. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4592. Circus NY 1900, 11 Jan 2016 - I am looking for source showing traveling circus routes in upstate NY (particularly Tug Hill area) in 1900. This is for a work of fiction. Thanks you. Mary Ann Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Jan 2016 - Some but not all touring circuses sent in their routes to the weekly trade journals that served the outdoor amusement industry. Smaller overland shows were seldom noted in the route listings and news columns. The weekly trade journal New York Clipper is available online with key word searching at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Another weekly journal, Billboard, is also available online at Google Books and also on ProQuest’s paid site, Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. There are routes for circuses in the Virtual Library of this website. Start at the Home Page.
        You can also search preserved newspapers from the locale of Tug Hill and nearby environs; usually the county seat newspapers have survived. Check with your interlibrary loan librarian, New York state library, historical societies, etc. Maybe some are online.
        A reading of the trade journals noted above would provide you with a feeling of the context of the times, the language used, etc. Circa 1900 is also a time when magazines were publishing topical articles about circus activity, principally the railroad shows. There’s an abundance of information if you look for it.
        A 1928 railroad atlas shows a New York Central line that ran from Herkimer through Remson, Glenfield and Lowville to Carthage, with branches at Lowville to Croghan and Glenfield to Monteola. Shows may have traversed those lines, or perhaps others that existed earlier. No railroad show would have offloaded and gone overland, as far as I know. If the Tug Hill area was served only by logging railroads, which ran into the woods, the chances that a regular railroad show visited the area are slim. They traversed narrow gauge lines to reach communities, but I’ve not read of one on logging tracks.
        Tug Hill’s rugged topography, forests and limited residency would also have limited chances that an overland show would have ventured into the area. Routing a show relied upon reaching an adequate number of residents to make the daily expense, the “nut,” plus some profit. Areas where the nut could not be made, especially those involving long jumps between small settlements, were generally avoided.
        If you can identify a circus that matches your criteria, it’s possible that other resources might be brought to bear to profile your fictional 1900 troupe. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 Jan 2016 - If you will look on the left hand side of this page, you will find a Virtual Library wheel. In this, you will find routes of a lot of shows over various years. It is no where near a complete record, but it is very worth looking at. A more accurate method would be to find the local newspapers of your area on Microfilm. These generally date back to the early 1900s and most of the time are available in a Public Library or a Historical Society. Not only will you discover what circus was playing where and when, but you'll find the locations and the amazing advertising used at the time. Good Luck with your journey. Bob Cline

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4591. George “Slim” Lewis, 09 Jan 2016 - I am researching a book regarding Tusko (aka Ned) the elephant. George “Slim” Lewis was his primary keeper at the end of his life and I’m trying to locate any living family members that survive him (I believe he died in the 1970s). I’m reaching out to your readers/members to see if anyone might be of assistance on this. Thank you. Ric Brewer, Seattle, WA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Jan 2016 - On November 21, 1959, George Washington “Slim” Lewis married Lillian Ware Godsey in Seattle, WA. Her parents made the announcement, so she may have been a good bit younger than her husband. That might be a lead to her family, as would be their obituaries, internment records and death certificates.
        Circus Report of July 27, 1981, p8, carried a message from Lillian Lewis noting the passing of Slim “a month ago”. Lillian Lewis (Mrs. George W. ‘Slim’ Lewis) was then residing at 8107 Riverside Drive, Redding, CA 96002. It may have been the home of a child, or near an offspring’s residence. A Google check suggests that it’s no longer in existence. His obituary was in the June 29, 1981 issue of CR, p25. Both issues are online on this website.
        There is a listing in the California Death Index 1940-1987 for a George Washington Lewis, born June 10, 1911, Missouri, mother’s name Strubel, died Shasta, CA June 11, 1981, age 70. Shasta is adjacent to Redding.
        In a January 22, 2006 posting on Buckles Blog there was a posting by Dave Lewis, who identified himself as a child of Slim Lewis. His e-mail address was Windsaloft99@hotmail.com.
        Lewis’s circus career engagements might be verified by checking for entries in the yellow tickets at Circus World Museum, which have abstracts from route books, programs and other documentation. The weekly trade journal Billboard can also be searched with key words on ProQuest’s Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. Be sure to use all possible variants on Lewis’s name, first name-last name, last name—first name, with and without middle initial and nickname.
        His wife’s descendants would have only second-hand knowledge of his circus employment, which would have been related to his spouse nearly 30 years after the events.
        Some of the Al G. Barnes Circus employment records exist for the time frame in which Lewis claimed in his books to be an employee. I checked for Lewis name and it was not found therein. It challenges the reliability of his chronicles and suggests further research to verify the accuracy of his memoirs is appropriate. The employment documents, payroll registers, are in the RBBB business records filed at the Circus World Museum library.
        You may want to query Buckles Woodcock, whose father worked at the Hall farm, where Lewis also stated he was employed. Buckles would have general knowledge of his elephant handling career.
        Lewis’s name was mentioned in association with Tusko in a 1932 press release emanating from Seattle. The story, involving pachydermatic house wrecking, was picked up by a number of newspapers, including the October 6, 1932 Brooklyn Eagle. Many years before, some circus elephants were used to demolish a house that was engulfed in flames. Lewis’s resignation from his position at the Seattle zoo, caring for Tusko, was announced in January 1933 newspapers. He was employed by the King County Humane Society in 1960, suggesting a Seattle residency at that time.
        There are numerous references and images concerning Ned on M. L. Clark and Tusko on Al G. Barnes. A huge body of elephant lore exists in print and images, in show trade journals, researched papers and articles and various private and public collections. Amidst that accumulation are many questionable statements, observations and pitfalls of a tertiary nature. Be careful in their evaluation and how you employ them in your new chronicle. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 23 Jan 2016 - Thanks so much for this background. Most of the info about Tusko I currently have, but I will follow up on the possible leads you mentioned. Again, thank you and if you discover anything else, it would be much appreciated! Ric Brewer

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4590. Keeley & Patterson’s Circus, 04 Jan 2016 - Keeley & Patterson’s Circus. Searching for when and where Joseph Keeley died, somewhere between 1891 and 1894 while on tour in Ireland. I have already purchased several wrong death certificates. Can anyone please help me? Please contact sheila.sexton@btinternet.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4589. Prof. F E Jacoby, 01 Jan 2016 - I am looking for information about a Prof. F E Jacoby of Waterbury, CT. Around the turn of the 20th century, he was a tightrope walker. His right leg was amputated before 1896 (apparently after he started his career as a tightrope performer). He was fitted with an artificial limb manufactured by AA Marks who featured him in advertisements and publications.
    His testimonial read; “Dear Sir — I was a professional tight rope walker and aeronaut before I lost my leg, and I do not allow the loss of a leg to compel me to seek another occupation. With your patent artificial leg I can walk a tight rope nearly as well as I ever could. I feel safe and sure on my rubber foot, no matter where I place it. I consider your invention of the rubber foot the most valuable and important to persons who have lost their natural limbs. Respectfully yours, Prof. F. E. Jacoby, Waterbury, Conn.” “Note. — The above cut was made from a photograph of Prof. Jacoby while performing on a tight rope. He is balancing entirely on his artificial leg, his natural foot la off the rope and is in the act of passing forward to take the next step.” I would be interested in any additional information on this individual. Alan Hawk, National Museum of Health and Medicine Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2016 - There were no hits in New York Clipper, Slout’s “Olympians of the Sawdust Circle,” on Fulton History or in Google for Prof. F. E. Jacoby or Prof. Jacoby, rope walker and aeronaut (which could mean balloon ascension performer). It’s possible he employed a different name, but “Prof.” was a common name for an artiste. There were rope walkers and aeronauts outside the circus trade. It could well be that Jacoby did exhibitions at street fairs, at agricultural fairs, etc. Amputees are not unknown in the circus trade; there was at least one, one-legged trapeze performer, and there may have been others. Men and women born without legs and arms, or an extra leg or other appendages, were employed in side shows and dime museums in the off season.
        The 1900 census lists a Floyd E. Jacoby in Waterbury, CT, a salesman for notions. Born March 1865, in New York of New York-born parents, he was age 35. His wife and fellow lodger at 219 South Main Street was Elizabeth Jacoby, born Sept 1859 in Ohio of German parents, age 40. He listed 3 years of marriage, she had 25, suggesting a second marriage for her. She had no occupation and was the mother of one living child, which was not listed. His earlier address was 157 Bank Street, Waterbury, as given in the Marks advertisements.
        His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Jacoby of Port Jervis, NY. One newspaper issue from c1902-1904 stated he was a “traveling lecturer and vendor of medicines.” His territory ran from Boston to Chicago, and as far south as Norfolk, VA. The couple was involved in an accident involving the steamship Saginaw of the Clyde Line on May 5, 1903. This is covered in the New York Times of May 6, 1903. For a period of time the Jacoby couple did not know if their spouse survived as they were separated in the confusion. In 1914 Jacoby transferred real estate to Margaret A. Jacoby, but her relationship to him is unknown.
        There were entries for Floyd E. Jacoby and wife in Port Jervis, NY newspapers on Fulton History. In an issue of the Port Jervis (NY) Tri-States Union newspaper sometime 1884-1885 he was identified as a railroad brakeman who smashed three fingers when coupling cars at Hawley, NY. It would not be irrational to suspect that he lost a leg owing to another railroad mishap. A number of journals carried the Marks ad for artificial limbs, mainly focused on trades where there might be sales---medical and railroad (as early as 1894) - there being many loss of limbs in the latter owing to brakeman accidents.
        I would recommend further searching in New York state newspapers for Jacoby bookings as a public performer. They may also reveal the date of his injury. I am sure you’re already familiar with A. A. Marks’s book “A Treatise on Marks’ Patent Artificial Limbs,” (1888) which can be examined online. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4588. Trained wild animals, 01 Jan 2016 - Are there any circus schools with trained wild animals? Write me back and tell me what you think and let me know. Thank you, Lucas j. Walker Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2016 - Maybe 25 years back I was in Rio, Brazil. There was a circus school there in one of the suburbs. I went out there one day to see what it was like. I met the manager of the school and he introduced me to this older man who spoke better English. This chap was German and had worked in European circuses as a trainer and presenter of lions, tigers, etc. He had a few students who were study wild animal training with 3-4 tigers. Since the school was in a poor area of town he said that many of the students came for the free lunch meal. There were a lot of young kids doing acrobatics, aerial work, etc.
        On the week-end he picked me up at my hotel and took me out into the country to a exotic animal dealer and then on to a small circus that worked only on weekends and was made up of the better students of the circus school. There I saw one of his students working a cage act with 3-4 lions. Al

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4587. Norman Dempsey, 18 Dec 2015 - Does anyone's family remember or have a photo or info on Norman Dempsey. From Calif., possibly manager for Con T Kenney show in 1920, 1930. Thank you so much! Mary Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Jan 2016 - The Con T. Kennedy Shows [spelled as in the president’s name], was a railroad carnival. Kennedy was once part of the C. W. Parker world orbiting out of Leavenworth, KS. The enterprise is best known for a disastrous railroad wreck that happened a century ago. It was seized by the federal government for back taxes in 1924 and left the road. Kennedy died in December of that year. I don’t believe that the title was used by another enterprise subsequent to his passing, so the 1930 engagement isn’t very possible.
        I did name searches for Dempsey and “Norm[an] Dempsey” in both Clipper (Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections) and Billboard (Fulton History) into the 1920s and had no relevant hits. You may want to seek the show rosters that were published periodically in those journals; the OCR recognition software only works on about 50% of the actual entries.
        If your 1920 and 1930 data points are from federal censuses, you may want to reevaluate their interpretation. If the entries are for a specific community on a specific date when the census taker was at work, it’s possible that show routes could be consulted to ascertain the identity of the enterprise that employed him. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4586. Tiger trainer, 15 Dec 2015 - I wonder who this tiger trainer is or what circus or year this was. The picture really captures the magic and mystery of the circus, what a beautiful picture. Pictures are unavailable on the message board, please copy and paste: http://picpaste.com/t-R9fQo8RH.png. Thanks. Jackson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Dec 2015 - That's a picture of Clyde Beatty on Hagenbeck-Wallace in the early 1930s. Great trainer; handled large mixed (lion and tiger) acts for years, eventually having his own rail show. Finished life on Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros, died in 1965. Whitey

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4585. Col. A.J. Bates, 11 Dec 2015 - I collect antique and vintage Masonic memorabilia and a couple of years ago I obtained a medal / badge that had Masonic symbols on the front, an engraved portrait of a man and was dated 1872. On the back it is engraved with the following:
    Presented to Colonel A.J. Bates as a Token of Esteem and Remembrance of our European Tour. Judge Ingalls, D.W. Bixby, Capt M.V. Bates, Mrs. Anna Swan Bates, Millie Christine, Josh P. Smith.
    And around the perimeter of the back it is engraved: George Pulleyn Late of Crystal Palace and Agricultural Hall London.
    Based on my research I understand that Judge Ingalls was a showman/promoter that organized a company of performers that traveled to England in 1872 for a Tour. The performers included the giant Captain Martin Van Buren Bates, the giantess Ms. Anna Swan (who married Capt Bates) and the Siamese twins Millie-Christine. I also know that Josh P. Smith was the manager for Millie-Christine and that George Pulleyn was a long time showman and promoter in England. What I would like help with are the names: Colonel A.J. Bates and D.W. Bixby, but primarily Col. Bates. I know the company sailed from N.Y. in 1871 aboard the S.S. City of Brussels. I tracked down the passenger list and Colonel A.J. Bates is listed, so I know he was part of the company organized in the U.S. I looked up the family tree for Capt Martin Van Buren Bates and I can't find any immediate family connection to Colonel Bates, so I don't think they were related. I'm at the end of what I can do internet searching wise, so any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Ned Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Dec 2015 - Col. A. J. Bates advertised the sale of partial interest in a side show for $300 in New York Clipper, August 30, 1873, p171, col 1, about halfway down. His address was the Hotel Clarendon, 115 So. 8th St., Philadelphia, PA. It included a canvas, snakes, monkeys, four wax figures, six paintings, etc. A route of fair dates was planned. It can be found and read on Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. There were about a dozen hits in all, in the 1870s, for “A. J. Bates” in Clipper, and it’s likely more will be found with diligent searching using other terms, variations on his name, perusing the dates of interest, etc. Some of the hits are column references to advertisements that must be sought out elsewhere in the journal. There remains a 115 South 8th Street location in Philadelphia today, A & G Jewelers, in a jewelry district, between Sansom and Chestnut Streets, center city. You can view it in Google maps, a four story structure with a retail store at the sidewalk.
        In 1875-1877 and 1879 Bates gave his address as No. 11 St. Stephen’s Place in the same city. I think this location was near the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on South 10th, between Market and Chestnut Streets, 19 South 10th Street. A website indicated that the street ran north from College Ave and east from 10th Street [1851 data]; another gave it as from Chant to Market Streets, Ninth ward. It may now be re-named or obliterated. Various College Avenues today surround the Girard College site, 20th to 25th/26th; maybe there was a street re-naming or re-numbering at one time?
        Googling of the St. Stephen’s address revealed a hit in the 1880 census for people of another name [James P. Young and wife Anna Maria Casperson]. It may have been a multiple residence structure. You can readily find Jas. P. Young and wife Anna M. in the 1880 census and examine the names of the other residents at the same address. Bates must have left by the time, or was not at home when the entries were made. There are hundreds of Bates in the census; if the City of Brussels manifest entry contains any useful information, such as his age, you may be able to wade through all of the entries and find him via a birth year.
        Fulton History had two possibly relevant hits for Col. A. J. Bates, one in a 1929 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the other in the July 27, 1936 New York Sun, about a Civil War veteran. The site wasn’t functioning well and I couldn’t examine the first one.
        Joanne Martel’s book, “Millie Christine; Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” lists neither Col. Bates nor Bixby by name, referencing only various staff positions that accompanied them on the European tour that commenced April 22, 1871. They had fulfilled a two-month long engagement in Philadelphia before the departure. [Assembly Buildings, Philadelphia, Clipper, February 4, 1871, 351] The ensemble had also been together at Baltimore in January 1871 [New Masonic Temple, Clipper, January 7, 1871, p315], suggesting that A. J. Bates and Bixby may have been staffers while they toured various locations in the USA. Using their various troupe member names and titles you may be able to trace them via Clipper and newspaper reports.
        I had no luck in finding Bixby.
        None of the above answer your specific questions per se and the circumstances are reflective of the difficulty in tracing the occupational and life activities of traveling showmen. You might try consulting www.ancestry.com, which seems to be a good way to locate obscure facts about many people. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Dec 2015 - Thank you so much for the information and your effort, it is very much appreciated. I will let you know if I discover anything else. Ned

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4584. Fat lady, Johnny J Jones, 11 Dec 2015 - I recently found out that my great aunt was the fat lady in the Johnny J Jones exposition. The time period would have been between 1921-1928. I am looking for anyone that might have more information they could possibly give me. I found a picture of her with several others and an elephant. If anybody has any info my email address is jshultzaberger@gmail.com. Thanks for your time. Jessica Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Dec 2015 - There are no known surviving business records for the Johnny J. Jones Exposition, nor the man’s personal papers. The best continuums of knowledge will be the weekly trade journals New York Clipper and Billboard. The former is available online with key word searching at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections and to a degree at www.fultonhistory.com. Billboard is also available at the latter, into the early 1920s, then thereafter on a paid ProQuest website. You might check with the International Independent Showmen’s Foundation in Gibsonton, FL, which has a large collection of carnival materials. This message board also contains other responses to matters involving the Jones carnival. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator Of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4583. Elephant Maureen, 11 Dec 2015 - I am trying to track down a photo of my friend Lynda, on an elephant called Maureen, who was with Robert’s Circus in the seventies (1976 I think). They used to parade through Hull. I would be most grateful for any help with this. Thank you. Anna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4582. Daysh trio, 23 Nov 2015 - My nan and grandad and Nan's brother were trapeze artist in the 1930's. they were known as the Daysh Trio, Peggy Daysh, Fred Daysh and Herbert Shaw. Would love to know something about their exciting life. Tracey. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4581. Frank Saluto, 23 Nov 2015 - There is a wonderful picture of Frank Saluto on the Harold Voise Circus History blog with a carrot and rabbit I believe. Craig Voise. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4580. Shapo circus, 17 Nov 2015 - My Grandfather came from Ecaterenburg Russia (Ukraine). My Grandfather had a Circus that traveled in Asia. In 1928 they were in Japan. During the war the circus came to Shanghai China that was in early 1040's. My Grandfather's name was Geogy (George) Afanasev. The circus name was Shapo (hat in Russian). Do you have any information about the Circus? Leonard Frost, San Diego, California, USA, leonfrost@aol.com. Thank you Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4579. Louis Lafrain, 13 Nov 2015 - I am looking for information about a trapeze artist of the late 19th century name Louis Lafrain. He was my great grand father and I have heard stories about him. This is a serious inquiry from a 62 year old man in MS. Have a great day, Terry W. LaFrain Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4578. Germany 1900s, 12 Nov 2015 - I write to you from Queensland Australia. I am researching a story that had been passed down in my family. Some time around the early part of the 1900’s my grandmother who lived in Mannheim, near Frankfurt Germany, was taken to a circus by her family and apparently witnessed a trainer being killed by a lion in the performance. The story goes that his head was severed or mauled. Would you know anything about this, as I have not been able to find much in a Google search. My grandmother was born in 1895. Any help would be very much appreciated. Kind regards, Sylvia Jones Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4577. South America, circus, 09 Nov 2015 - I read in a book about the Amazon River that there was a circus in South America in the mi1800's that floated down the river to get out. Where can I find more information about this? Alice Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Nov 2015 - Alice, now you really have me scratching through my resources! Your question sparked a memory of a story I read years ago of an American army expedition to the Amazon. They were fighting their way up uncharted waters (or so they thought) when they met a circus, on a raft, coming from the opposite direction, having already explored the area! I have it in mind that it was Noble's Circus but would be delighted if anyone on here could confirm or add to this wonderful story and provide a source? jim@stockley.co.za

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4576. Mary DePolito, 07 Nov 2015 - My Grandmother tells the story of her brother leaving home to join the circus when his draft number came up. When she first told me about it I thought she was pulling my leg, but then she told me the story again, and how he would would when he was in town go and talk to her through her window in the TB sanitorium. What I know for sure is that they lived in Olean in the late 20’s early 30’s. My grandmother’s full name was Mary Rose DePolito, and I think she said her brothers name was John. She also share the story of how her Father forbade them to go to the circus when it was in town because he was ashamed of his son, but that her Mother would bring them to visit anyhow. Any help is greatly appreciated! Megan – Pittsburgh, PA Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4575. Good Clown, Bad Clown, 02 Nov 2015 - I wonder if anyone can pinpoint when clowns began to be portrayed to kids as evil? When I was a child all clowns were thought to be good guys and nobody was afraid of them. Maybe rock figures in makeup started the trend? Then movies? Any thoughts out there? Whitey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4574. Elephant death, 30 Oct 2015 - Hoping someone can help. I am looking for the owner of a elephant that died and was buried in a small UK town called Barnard Castle, in County Durham. I am 48 and it was a story going about when I was a kid. I have found out where it is buried. I just want more info on its owner and why it died. Thanks, Paul Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4573. Jack Mahlke, 27 Oct 2015 - I have fond memories of my dad Jack Mahlke, talking about his involvement in the circus industry over his years. He worked at Sooner Circus out of OK in the 50's and became good friends with Ed Birchall, better known in OK as Hoho the clown. My dad was always a mechanic and could fix anything. During his time following the circus he became fascinated with the calliope and came to be relied on to maintain and repair them. After the Sooner Circus closed my dad worked for the civil service at Tinker AFB but continued over the years to work on and Calliopes and became well known for his ability. He would build them for resale, or more often he would provide maintenance or restore them for different circuses. I remember him doing some for the Shrine circus back in the 60-70's and others for different music museums. I remember going with him to music museums in Atoka OK, Bella Vista AR and Fort Worth TX
    I have two intentions for reaching out that I wanted your advice, guidance on. One is around the Sooner Circus and if there is a source for old photos or artifacts from that circus. Part of that was hoping I might find a picture of my dad from his time there. My other intention was just to see if there is anyone in your organization might have known, or known of, my dad Jack Mahlke. He passed away in 1982 but he was exposed to the circus as a young boy in Indiana and that love of the circus stayed with him his whole life. Thank you for your time and I would love to hear your thoughts. Gary Mahlke Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Oct 2015 - The “Sooner Circus” may well be a well-known local operation, but little has yet to reach online accessibility under that specific phrase identity. A single hit for Sooner Circus was the January 19, 1959 “Billboard” (page 64) notice that Herb Walters and Glen J. Jarmes were establishing the Sooner Circus Corp., the former serving as president and Dr. J. C. Wyche as VP. Jarmes had bought out Dores R. Miller’s interest in the Famous Cole Circus to become a co-owner with Walters in the enterprise. George W. Cole Circus Company was the operating company name, used to operate the Famous Cole Circus, which was the public title. Others with knowledge of Hugo circus operations may be able to provide some insights into how it operated, perhaps using other titles, too. In 1959 John and Helen Frazier were with it, folks well known to Al Stencell and others. Perhaps you should be looking for Famous Cole information? “Billboard” closed out in 1960 as an outdoor amusement trade journal and you’ll have to continue searching in the magazines “Funspot” and “Amusement Business,” as well as the Circus Historical Society journal “Bandwagon” and Circus Fans Association journal “White Tops.”
        I think your father was associated with a different form of circus-like activity. There’s mention of the Sooner community circus, “an organization of amateur performers,” in the May 25, 1951 “Daily Oklahoman.” It was reported as organized by Fritz Holzberlein, 5612 NW23, in 1942. They did shows in convalescent homes, orphanages, children’s hospitals and for veterans groups. Holzberlein fabricated a replica calliope wagon for 1951, the instrument operated by Hugh Robertson. An included image portrays 15-year old Don Holzberlein and Ed Birchall, a bookkeeper playing amateur clown, with it. A July 28, 1950 photo of Robertson and the 43-whistle Tangley Calliaphone he played can be seen here: http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc531134/?q=calliope
        Ed Birchall, 933 N. Mueller, Bethany, OK, was HOHO the clown, so identified in the Daily Oklahoman of February 22, 1959, wherein he sought kiddie birthday engagements. There are a couple mentions of Ed Birchall in “Billboard” about 1947 and 1952 visits to shows in Oklahoma. These can be perused in Google Books, using the advanced search finding aid. Your father’s last name, Mahlke, garnered no hits in a search of that resource.
        Very likely the local amateur effort didn’t garner attention from the “professional” pages of “Billboard.” There are a number of hits for it in the “Daily Oklahoman” issues, 1940s-1960s. If you can gain access to www.newspaperarchive.com, you can peruse them. Searching for various names will likely broaden the results. A general Google search provided an obituary for Jess Button (1912-2012), a clown with the Sooner Circus in Oklahoma City. It also mentions HoHo the clown. http://legacy.newsok.com/obituaries/oklahoman/obituary.aspx?pid=161289193. A 1955 photograph of a 1920s vintage truck, associated with the Sooner circus, loaded with clowns, is available here: http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc221880/
        I’ve tracked calliope history for several decades and haven’t encountered your father’s name in the search, nor does it appear in standard reference volumes and other publications by Roehl, Reblitz, Bowers, Bopp and others. He could have been a little known repair man for mechanical music enthusiasts who never garnered higher profile coverage. Was he perhaps in the employ as an anonymous subcontractor to others that handled the contracts and sales, who gained the public profile? That has happened any number of times.
        Searching did reveal a photograph of your father and daughter, Phyllis, age 6, posed at the keyboard of a 43-whistle Tangley Calliaphone on August 4, 1956, while parked in his backyard on NE 10: http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc262927/?q=calliope. It was published with an article in the “Daily Oklahoman” newspaper. The calliope was mounted in a low-sided, two-wheel trailer suited for parade purposes. The family name was misspelled Mahike.” Further searching with that spelling didn’t provide any additional hits. All attempts, by key word and date, to locate the image in the “Daily Oklahoman” failed. The local Shrine temple also possessed a 43-whistle Tangley Calliaphone that your father may have maintained: http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc207529/?q=calliope and http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc267434/?q=calliope
        You could post a query about your father on the online Mechanical Music Digest, the most widely read forum about mechanical music interests of all types. There is currently no archival entry on MMD for your father. Others may know of collections in Ft. Worth (Perhaps a legacy of the Hames show family? Or, Jack Schott, Ft. Worth, or the Roy C. Lee Co. of Dallas, both of which fabricated and/or assembled air calliopes in the 1950s and thereafter?) and Bella Vista, AR (the Floyd Miles collection, known publicly as the Miles Mountain Musical Museum, was in Eureka Springs until being liquidated on June 30, 1997). The Chuckwagon Café in Atoka, OK, was owned and operated by Bob Nelson and wife, is known and images survive (book coverage and postcards). There’s a February 3, 1955 photograph of his Tangley air calliope (it’s not steam, as stated), mounted in a four-wheel trailer, one that can be identified as coming from the Roy C. Lee Co. in Dallas: http://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc474292/?q=calliope%20atoka. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4572. Jesse Adkins, 24 Oct 2015 - My name is David Alan Adkins Stuart. I joined CHS today for the first time. My father was Jesse Robert Adkins. On his marriage application to my biological mother, Helen Louse Cunningham, he names Inez Henry and Jesse Howard Adkins as his parents. During my childhood, we heard many stories of my father's life in the circus. Hagenbeck-Wallace and then Cole Brothers.
    The Ringling Brothers Circus visited California in the early 1960s. My father took us to the train station to meet the circus. He spoke to someone gaurding the crowd, was allowed beyond the ropes, and then brought a man over to meet us. He introduced the man as "Emmett Kelley". We later attended the circus and had privileged seats.
    There is no doubt in my mind that my father grew up in the circus. But whether Jesse "Jess" Howard Adkins was his biological father or not, is the question. My father often claimed that he was born a "Stewart" (or "Stuart"), in Columbus, Ohio, in or around 1928. My mother claimed to have seen his birth certificate and believed this. As the story was told (in fragments), he was adopted. But it has always been unclear to me as to whether he was adopted into the Jess Adkins/Inez Henry family, or after Jess and Inez divorced, or after Jess died and Theresa remarried (to Ray Marsh Brydon).
    Sorry for the explaination - but this is the reason why I am joining CHS. I'm trying to tie out a bunch of loose ends in my understanding of my ancestory, so I can pass that on to my 1 son, who is now 26 (I'm 60). Thanks very much if you're able to help. David, Rockford, Illinois. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Oct 2015 - We did have a son of Jess Adkins in the CHS but I don't know if he is still a member. Contact our secretary through this website and he might be able to help you reach this man. Whitey

    Reply: 02 Nov 2015 - The exact confirmation of life events that you’re seeking is unlikely to be found in a circus repository. There may be mention of the birth of children to circus proprietor and manager Jess Adkins in columns of “Billboard” magazine, in the late 1930s to 1940, but it will be a bit light on specifics. Adoptions and guardianships are less likely to have been reported. Those “Billboard” issues aren’t available online (with key word searching) other than via the paid service ProQuest, which you might be able to access at a major public or university library, or via a brief license. Be sure when you do searching therein to use all conceivable variations on names; also locations, street addresses, etc. The search engines are less than comprehensive, make character identification errors, etc., so raise the chances for success with as broad a net as possible.
        The documents that you need to locate about your father are his birth certificate, filed with local governmental bodies, and any relevant adoption or foster/guardianship papers, which will take a bit more effort to locate. You might get started with some basic online searching for how to locate these pieces. Try using an online genealogical service, like www.ancestry.com. The 1930 census has been available and the 1940 US census can now be consulted and might serve as a useful tool, as will Social Security and other resources. If you don’t make the desired progress, seek out a professional genealogist, a help group, etc., that can guide you in the search. This is general procedure and you may have already walked this path.
        A bit of online searching readily provided relevant information on at least two wives and four declared children of showman Jess Adkins. It seems that you already have this data pinned down. Adkins gravestone in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Peru, IN gives a birth year of 1886 (reportedly February 22, Van Buren, Grant County, IN) and the correct death year of 1940 (June 25, Gardner, MA). A website posting states he was in the U. S. Navy 1918-1920; there’ll be a record of that service. There should also be Social Security documentation, but it may be difficult or impossible to obtain, pending your personal relationship.
        An obituary in the June 27, 1940 Kokomo Tribune reported that he married Theresa Barren (given elsewhere as Barron) in 1935 and that they had two small children, Tom and Patricia. CHS founder Don Smith, writing in the early CHS publication “Spec,” I, 3, 1-2, reported that Jess and Mrs. Adkins had two children and that they posed in front of the Mother Goose pony float for him—until Jess had to leave and tend to show duties - an arriving storm that threatened patrons. That would have been about 1935-1937, and there’s a good chance that the photograph(s) made at the time survive today. Mother Goose survives in Baraboo.
        There were also two children from a prior (given as 1910) marriage, to Inez Henry, of Chicago, Helen and Bobby, both resident in Peru in 1940. Further details are provided regarding his childhood and career: http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/41939155/
        The 1920 census lists Jesse H. (33, born Indiana), Inez I. (31, born Kansas) and Helen (8, born Kansas, c1912), all residing in Chicago. There’s no mention of a son, Bobby.
        The 1930 census lists Jess H. (44, 24 when married, born Indiana), Inez I. (42, 22 when married, born Kansas), Helen I. (19, born Kansas, c1911). There’s no mention of a son. They resided in Peru, IN.
        The 1940 census lists Jess (57, born Indiana), Theresa (36, born Texas), Patricia (6, born Ohio) and Thomas (3, born Ohio), resident on Monroe Street in a leased home, Rochester, IN. With Patricia age 6 in 1940, it suggests a 1934 birth. The Adkins-Henry split would have been in 1935 or before, perhaps 1934/1933 as suggested by Patricia’s age and birth year.
        I was not able to locate Inez and her children in the 1940 census, unless she’s the resident in Seaton, Mercer County, IL. She was listed as single, head of house, no children. Adkins’s obituary makes no indication of her re-marriage. Neither Helen nor Bobby Adkins, as their names were given in Jess’s obituary, turned up in the 1940 census.
        The Logansport Press of December 27, 1935 reported the filing for divorce by Jess Adkins against his wife Inez owing to cruelty. They were married January 4, 1913 and separated in 1935. It was filed in Fulton County court. The decree was granted to Mrs. Adkins, for lack of support, in Rochester on March 21, per the March 21, 1936 issue of the Logansport Pharos. The reported 1935 date for the marriage of Adkins and Barren/Barron must be in error. It’s unclear if the 1913 marriage date of Jess and Inez suggest a different parentage for Helen, whose birth years from census records suggest 1911/1912. Yet, there are so many mistakes embedded in census listings that further work is required to establish her exact birth date.
        Jesse Robert Adkins was identified as the son of Mrs. Inez Adkins, 264 W. Main Street, Peru, when his marriage to Helen Cunningham was announced in the January 20, 1951 Logansport Press. That is consistent with his marriage license information.
        An Inez Adkins, identified only as an elderly Kansas native, passed away on October 24, 1975 per the Logansport Pharos Tribune and Press of October 26, 1975. She was born October 10, 1887 in Wichita, Kansas and was survived by her daughter, Mrs. James Cain of Marion, IN and three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mrs. James A. Cain’s first name was Helen, as given in her husband’s 1964 obituary.
        Your mother’s name, Helen Louise Cunningham Adkins (1929-1997), led to your father, Jesse Robert Adkins, whose birth year is given as 1928 (assumed correct, died 2000). It’s rational that he’s the “Bobbie” mentioned in Jess Adkin’s 1940 obituary. He’s not included in the 1930 census, when he would have been age 2 or so; he must have arrived thereafter, before the c1934 “split,” and surely before the 1935/1936 Adkins divorce and subsequent re-marriage. Lacking inclusion in the census, the presumed conclusion is that he was adopted. He would have been about four to six years old when Jess Adkins was managing Hagenbeck-Wallace in the early/mid-1930s. It all makes “sense” time-wise.
        There is another remote possibility, practiced in those days, which I suggest with great caution. Jess and Inez would both have been 40 or so when Bobby arrived. They weren’t too old to be parents per se, and they also weren’t too old to be adopting a child. But, there is another possibility; could Bobby have been young Helen Adkin’s child, their grandson? Being born out of state, under another name - Stewart/Stuart - then adoption - such circumstances are encountered in other unwed mother births of the time so that a child would have a “proper” parentage. There is a photo of Jess and Inez when he was with the 1921 Howes Great London (Bandwagon, Sept-Oct 1964, p6, online at: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1964Sep.htm, scroll down to third photo), and maybe others, in the 1920s, when he worked for the King brothers. Have you seen them? Did your father look like Jess and/or Inez? I have not seen a photo of their daughter Helen, but one may exist. There are photos of Jess Adkins online and elsewhere. If he resembles Jess and Inez, there’s a possibility. If there’s no resemblance, then you might have to search for the Columbus connection. The person who is pivotal to this, Helen Adkins, seemingly disappears after the 1940 obituary mention.
        The clown that your father reached out to at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey in the 1960s wasn’t Emmett Kelly. He left the circus after the 1956 tour. Perhaps there was another tramp character clown with the show that he knew - conceivably Otto Griebling - who could be visually confused with Kelly? Griebling had also been with shows for many years, including some associated with Peru, specifically Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1932, and the Adkins-Terrell Cole show between 1935 and 1940. Both Kelly and Griebling were with HW in 1933, as mentioned in Kelly’s autobiography, when Adkins managed the show. Your father could have met both in his youth, but Kelly wasn’t there in the 1960s.
        I concur with Dave Price on the CHS member who identified himself as the son of showman Jess Adkins; he visited Baraboo once or more in the 1990s and I met him. I believe he identified himself as Tom Adkins. There may be a record of that contact in the CWM library, contact Pete Shrake concerning it if it’s of interest. I don’t recall his residency, it may have been Indiana. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Nov 2015 - The challenges presented by tertiary documentation is underscored by some further research on Jess Adkins. An unidentified and undated newspaper obituary for him originating in Peru, IN and datelined June 26, 1940 gave his marriage to Inez Henry of Wichita, Kansas, as January 4, 1910, taking place in Chicago. Her city of origin agrees with her later obituary, but the date differs by three years from that given at the time of their 1936 divorce. The 1910 date accommodates Adkins’s paternity for his daughter Helen, based upon ages derived from census records. The same obituary gave his second wife’s name as Tresa Barron and stated she was a circus performer.
        In 1931-1932, Billboard magazine published brief career synopses for many leading showmen. Adkins personally filled out his own information sheet and dated it November 3, 1931. He declared a birthdate of February 22, 1886 in Van Buren, Indiana, son of William and Elizabeth Adkins of Warren, IN, both deceased in 1931. Inez, who wasn’t active in the business, was his wife and they had one child, Helen, age 20. The information suggests that Bobby was not yet present in his and Inez’s life.
        The 1940 obituary for Adkins in Billboard gave his widow’s name as Theresa Peters Adkins; children as daughters Patricia and Helen, and sons Bobby and Tommy. Peters was conceivably his second wife’s maiden name, employed after she married Adkins. There’s a record of the Barron Girls, Theresa and Eloise, aerialists and iron jaw performers on John Robinson in 1925. Theresa Barron was with the Walter L. Main circus in 1928 as an aerialist, again doing iron jaw, aerial ladder, dancing horses and high school horses. Adkins was assistant manager of Hagenbeck-Wallace in 1925 and legal adjuster with Sells-Floto in 1928. It would seem that Jess and Theresa encountered one another in the Peru circus colony, or somehow gained knowledge of each other when they were in the employ of Floyd and Howard King in the 1920s; Adkins was on their Gentry Bros. in 1926-1927 as manager.
        There was a clown named Tom Barron, who clowned with John Robinson in 1925 and Sells-Floto in 1929-1930. He’s not related to either Barron girl. We know this because he was a CHS member many years later. A memoir of his career is in Bandwagon, Nov-Dec 1995. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 11 Dec 2015 - I was reading a recent inquiry from a David Alan Adkins Stuart pertaining to Jesse Adkins, Inez and Helen Inez Adkins Cain. I am James Adam Cain Jr, grandson to the late Helen Inez (Adkins) Cain. Yes there is a lot of discrepancies as far as birthdates in our family. Im unsure as to why. I was told growing up that grandma was born in 1915 but when we she passed we found it to be 1912. Our family is still from Marion, Indiana. I had heard from my father that grandma mentioned a brother named Bob that lived in California. After the divorce of Jesse and Inez there was extreme bitterness amongst the family. Dad said that Helen would rarely ever talk about Jesse or any part of her past. I do know she said Jesse made her go to nursing school which she hated him for at the time but later loved and appreciated it since she spent 40 yrs of her life working at the VA Hospital in Marion, In. After Jesse and Inez divorce, Inez resided in Peru until her death in 1975. Jesse owned a house in Peru which is in his obituary and it just happens I drove by it just last week and its currently up for sale. The elderly lady that lived next to him told the former owners that Jesse would bring Animals home and keep them in the basement. The lady passed a yr before I came to see the house for the first time. I have a some information, pictures, burial plot information, etc. Please feel free to email me at jamesacainjr@yahoo.com. Thank you

    Reply: 28 Dec 2015 - Thank you so much for the replies. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! The record of the Adkins/Henry divorce is very helpful and new to me. Much of the other information I was able to find using Ancestry.com and/or Familysearch.com.
        It appears that my father, Jesse Robert Adkins, was born to Juanita Stewart in Corning, OH, on 10-Feb-1928 - and adopted by Inez and JH Adkins shortly thereafter. I'm having trouble coming to an understanding of how Jess H and Inez encountered the Stewart's. It's noteworthy that Corning is a small town, and my father's birth was just a year before the stock market crash, and grew up during the period of the depression. Inez Henry, apparently, was previously married to Charles Chase, a professional clown - which helps explain how Inez and Jess H met (inferring a lot here).
        Also, I would like to mention, that I've posted the results of my research to ancestry.com as public trees - both the "adopted" line (Adkins), and the "biological line" (Stewart).
        When I was very young, we made a trip to Peru Indiana to meet "Aunt Maggie". I have no idea who she was, but her home was stuffed with memoriabilia. I think from the circus days. In particular, there was a massive white bear rug, head and all, on the living room floor. Trying to find out who Aunt Maggie was. Was she my father's sister (a.k.a., Mary?) Anyway, again, thanks so much to everyone! David Adkins Stuart

    Reply: 01 Jan 2016 - As I said above a man identifying himself as the son of Jess Adkins joined the CHS while I was secretary. He may have been your father - his name was Jesse R (Bob) Adkins who lived in Texas in 1997 when he joined. I believe his wife's name was Diana. He had dropped out by the time I left office in 2003, when I turned sixty-five. Dave

    Reply: 04 Jan 2016 - Dave, Yes, that was him. His wife at the time was Diane Cottle. He died on 31-DEC-2000, Garland TX, in a car crash. I now have proof that he had been adopted by Jess Adkins and Inez Henry. His biological parents were Hazel Juanita Reed Stewart and Clarence Stewart, in Corning, Ohio. They divorced, the judge placed 2 of their 3 kids in a "Childrens Home", and he was adopted by Inez and Jess from there. Thanks again for your help! - David

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4571. Walter Macomber, 09 Oct 2015 - My great grandfather, Walter M. Macomber, was an historical architect in Williamsburg and Mt. Vernon. Before that, he was supposedly in a circus at some point when he was younger. He was born around 1895. I know he lived in Massachusetts but he may have been initially from Maine. The family thinks he said he was a heavy weight man. (Bar bells) He was very good looking and theatrical. He also sang Opera on stage which possibly he also did in a circus. If you have any information, please let me know. Thank you. Cyn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4570. Llamas, etc. circuses, 05 Oct 2015 - I am writing an academic book on the history of the exportation of llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas from South America to Europe, the United States, and Australia. The scope of the project is from 1568-1970. I have one section on the use of llamas and other Andean camelids in circuses and menageries. I would love to have some stories or images of llamas etc. performing in circuses, in the ring or as part of an act; of circus posters with a llama being ridden by a monkey or other animal, or human. I have one such image of a poster of the Grand Caravan of Living Animals (1825) but unfortunately the poster is torn right at the body of the llama. Any ideas or suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks in advance, Marcia Stephenson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Nov 2015 - Search for “Lama” on www.circusmuseum.nl. Herman

    Reply: 07 Oct 2015 - The beasts you seek were exhibited by itinerant menageries from the early 1810s to mid-19th century - and maybe even before, as individual attractions, depending upon the importation activity by enterprising ship captains and business entrepreneurs. The solo exhibitions can sometimes be found in newspapers; an older compilation of these by Vail for the American Antiquarian Society lists some, but many more can now be documented. Diaries are another source of personal observations of displayed species in the colonies and early nation.
        The early menagerie outfits up through near mid-19th century (some, like Van Amburgh, continued in name into the 1880s) are chronicled in a two-part article by Stuart Thayer published in the CHS journal Bandwagon. You can locate it in the online article index. He mentions some, but not all exhibited species. Animals being displayed are more likely to be listed in newspaper advertisements, handbills and show booklets, which are accessible in a variety of collections and by different means, online and not. Sale and auction lists are another opportunity, but they are quite rare. These and the large posters portraying traveling menagerie animals are generally in older theater collections in New England (NYHS, Harvard, Somers, etc.), though individual examples are at Circus World Museum and in the Ringling Museum/Tibbals collection. Some may be accessed online, others have yet to be digitized. Some menageries had small performances, in a center space, though they purposely avoided the use of “circus” even when it was a pretty complete demonstration - because some states barred circus activity by law.
        Circuses employed horses from the start in 1793, but trained animals are generally a later addition, other than some infrequent collaborative appearances with menagerie beasts. Ring shows started to feature imported beasts more towards mid-century and thereafter. Thayer’s book “The Performers” chronicles the early ring efforts with animals. That volume can be supplemented by searching weekly trade journal New York Clipper at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, online with key word searching; and also at Fulton History; and among all of the digitized newspapers and magazines.
        Circus and menageries moved towards combination in the 1840s. Both before and after the Civil War the breadth of menagerie holdings, in terms of species, expanded greatly. Newspaper ads, handbills, couriers and animal books, show programs and act listings, along with route books, posters and lithographs and some limited photography document the variety. Beasts were being sent to North America by animal exporters in Europe, as well as being imported by showmen in the US. A trade was essentially in place and numbers of imported animals grew.
        There was a Smithsonian symposium on animal importation and the proceedings were at least partially published. Seek Hoage and Deiss, eds., “New Worlds, New Animals,” 1996. A significant paper by Thayer didn’t make the “cut,” but it and much more on menageries are in his papers, a register for which can be viewed on the Ringling Museum website, under Collections. Other books about Karl Hagenbeck and other animal dealers by Nigel Rothfels and other acknowledged zoological experts and zoo historians would be very worthwhile to establish a framework. In general, in North America, menagerie and circus exhibition of species took place prior to zoo presentation.
        The beasts of interest to you were known as “led stock,” because they were generally led to the lot by their keepers using the same type of equipage as employed with ring horses; halters, reins and the like. They were walked along the road, with overland shows, or between the train yard and the show lot if it was a railroad show. They were generally not caged, except when there was a space to be filled, or an example exhibited problematic behavior. On a railroad show, they were housed and conveyed in a special stock car, akin to those hauling other led stock, and horses. Whether they were penned as a group or placed in individual stalls via swinging gates I do not know. Once on the lot, they would have been picketed inside the menagerie tent, or perhaps placed in a pen; photographs will reveal the practice employed. Some may have been included in a ring act featuring only their kind, or in a mixed act that featured multiple species. Whether certain importers, trainers, keepers and such specialized in the species you listed is unknown to me. Not all menagerie animals appeared in the ring and not all ring animals appeared in the menagerie; some were housed elsewhere in the back yard.
        I don’t recall any summary coverage of any of the species listed, so you’ll generally need to cast a broad net in larger collections to gain a comprehensive overview. Examples have appeared in the ring until recent times. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 08 Oct 2015 - References to llamas or alpacas on menageries and circuses show up in the newspaper advertisements back to the 1830s. Of course illustrations are scarce, as references in printed advertisements note that the llamas or alpacas were exhibited on a number of shows and usually in cages. The1833 Brown & Bailey's Menagerie and Circus exhibited a "Red Alpacha'; the 1834 Menagerie of Gregory, Crane, Waring, Tufts & Co. exhibited a 'Lama', the 1836 Grand Zoological Exhibition exhibited 'The Lama of Peru'; the 1839 Menagerie & Circus noted that they would exhibit 'In the animal department will be found the male Elephant, COLUMBUS, the largest ever in the United States and a the Peruvian Lama'. It is possible that by 1870 the elephant COLUMBUS (this one or another one by that name) held some deep seated resentment when it went wild in the menagerie tent of the John Robinson Circus. It broke loose and when it reached the llama cage it upset it and killed the llama that was inside. The 1848 Raymond & Waring's Grand Menagerie newspaper ad listed seventeen animals in cages and in Cage #4 there were a pair of Peruvian Lamas. In 1857 the Mabie Bros. Menagerie and Circus listed Lamas and Alpacas in their menagerie. The 1865 Van Amburgh Menagerie press agent guided a reporter through the menagerie tent and on the left side of the tent was a Prairie Wolf, a Himilaya Goat and a Peruvian Llama, or Alpaca Sheep. The Van Amburgh ad also contained a small illustration of the llama showing a long neck and noted that it was a 'white llama'. By 1870 the illustration of the llama on the Van Amburgh & Co. Great Golden Menagerie remained the same, however it also showed a second hairy llama with a hill in the background. The animal booklet of the Van Amburgh Menagerie gives a full page to the Peruvian Lama with an illustration and text. The animal is described as about four feet in height, and the animals differ in color with some being white, others black, but most of them are brown.The 1870 O'Brien's Monster Menagerie & Moral Exhibition also contains two illustrations of hairy alpacas or llamas which are different from the Van Amburgh newspaper ad.The 1873 List of wild animals, rare birds and wonderful curiosities to be seen in Adam Forepaugh's Great Moral Double Museums and Menagerie lists a Peruvian Alpaca and a Llama or 'Camel of the Andes', but does not provide an illustration. In 1897 the Chiarini Circus was on a tour of the world and was crossing Lake Titicaca when the zebra of the show fell overboard and was drowned. The animal was embalmed and presented to President Daza of Bolivia, who then presented to the circus owner, Mr. Chiarini - four vicunas, two alpacas and two llamas.
        Just when the led or lead stock were broken for harness is unknown and so is the date when llamas entered the circus ring. In 1907 the Norris & Rowe Circus had an act consisting of a big black bear, two monkeys, a zebu and a llama. There is a 1909 Ringling Bros. Circus courier on this website that shows four llamas hitched to a chariot that was used in a street parade. In 1910 the Campbell Bros Circus used a window card showing llamas hitched to a small cart. In 1917 the Al G. Barnes Circus would put a four llama team in their street parade.The 1947 Dailey Bros. Circus moved four llamas in their stock car, which were then led to the lot and these animals were also in an act in the circus ring. One of the great animal trainers from the 1960s was John Herriott who was on the 1962 Mills Bros. Circus with a trained Animal Fantasy which consisted of three llamas, a camel and a pony act. John Polacsek

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4569. Charley Churchill, 05 Oct 2015 - Does anyone have any information about Charley Churchill a horseback rider in the late 1800's from Illinois? Dorita Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Oct 2015 - None of the usual sources that provide a quick connection to circus personnel of the past (Slout’s Olympians, New York Clipper, Dan Draper notes on riders, Google, Fulton History, www.newspaperarchive.com) mention a Charley, Charlie, Charles or Chas. Churchill. There was a “head elephant man” reportedly named Charles Churchill associated with the Sells-Floto circus, as per an article by Frank Braden, “You Can Never Tell About Elephants,” in “Illustrated World,” February 1922, pages 853-856, 942-950 [see page 946, in Google Books]. Did Churchill perform using a stage name or alias? Was he an anonymous member of a larger riding act? People can “slip through the cracks,” so the place to start the search becomes the document, story or legend that sparked your initial query. What is the source of knowledge that you have in hand about him? Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 26 Oct 2015 - Fred, his great granddaughter is the source of the information and she has added the following. She feels that the head elephant man on Sells Floto was her great grandfather. He had a brother named Donald who was born in 1915 who remembered his brother as a drinker. Her great-grandmother was the bareback rider and they had a son Harold. After Churchill she married a Mr Gramp who was a businessman from Princeton, Il and she was referred to as Mrs. Gramp, and they had two children that both died young. My source knew Mr Gramp when he was in his 90's and that was his name, it was not just a referral to someone's grandfather. WRAC

    Reply: 02 Nov 2015 - If I follow your explanation, you’re now seeking a late 19th or early 20th century female bareback rider; what is her full name; or more importantly, her professional name, if she had one? No female rider with the last name Churchill is listed by Draper, or Slout. An article about the 1921-1922 Sells-Floto tours in Bandwagon, Jan-Feb 1980, names the well-known and documented Emery Stiles as the head bull man. Braden’s naming of Charles Campbell is perhaps open to question, especially since Braden mentioned Stiles in another 1922 “Illustrated World” article [pp 855-857, 952-954], “You couldn’t never always sometimes tell.” He was termed the “dean of all active animal men.” Stiles 1922 position was given as “Superintendent of Menageries” in the 1922 Sells-Floto route book, which can be found on this website. It includes a roster of show employees, but no Campbell is listed as a performer or bull man. The head elephant man was James Dooley, assisted by J. E. Smith and Wm. Gibson. http://www.circushistory.org/Pdf/1922SellsFlotoRoute.pdf. The various seasons review articles covering Sells-Floto in the 1920s might be examined to ascertain if any of the named performers are the person(s) being sought. The riding acts included the Hannefords and Hobsons, both were large troupes with various people who garnered no personal profile under their own name. The Hobsons have been profiled by Draper in a Bandwagon article and John McConnell wrote a book about the Hannefords. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4568. Dogs of Peru Circus Wagon, 02 Oct 2015 - My name is Carles Toldrà, I live in Spain and I'm currently working on a personal project based on hairless dogs. I've found some information that mentions a circus attraction: Killer Dogs of Peru Circus Style Wagon. It doesn't make sense because these dogs are shy and not agressive at all but anyway I want to investigate it. I've tried desperately to find some graphical or writen information about this topic but I've failed. Could you kindly give some advice or clue? accuracy of information is essential. Thank you in advance, sincerely, Carles Toldrà Sifrés Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Oct 2015 - The item that turned up in a Google search on the topic you cited, posted in a Yahoo chat room, does not have anything to do with bona fide circus activity, but 1960s and later dog importation, species, breeding and associated issues. It relates the characterization of a vehicle as resembling a ”circus wagon.” The posting reads: “I researched that and could find nothing to support this. I did see pictures of his ‘Killer Dogs of Peru’ circus style wagon he took the dogs around in.” The gentleman in question was identified as Jack Walklin[s] of Selma, California. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4567. Dolly Castle, 26 Sep 2015 - I’m trying to locate any information (or especially photographs) of Dolly Castle, animal trainer (lions/panthers) with Heritage Brothers Circus in the 20s and 30s. She was my great grandmother. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I know of one photo I’ve ever seen of her and it was with a big cat. The photo was since lost and I would love to find anything with her photograph. Thanks for any help you can provide. Best Regards, Kristina R. Barkhouser Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Oct 2015 - Dolly Castle was a well-known trainer and presenter in North America [USA and Canada]. She handled elephants (six baby elephants at one time), cats (as many as 16 lions, leopards and jaguars at once; 12 pumas another time) and other animals during her long show career, c1905 to c1935. She presented a tiger riding an elephant act (1922, 1924, 1926) and may have supervised a lion riding a horse (1905).
        Nothing of the animal trainer’s origins and demise were readily discovered. It’s possible that Dolly was a nickname, with a real name of Dorothy? Whether Castle was her maiden name (it is the earliest known), married name (it was the one taken by her son, born c1913) or stage name isn’t certain. Assuming she was about age 20 in 1905, her birth year would have been c1885. Perhaps you can provide accurate name and life span information for her?
        Dolly’s father was reported as dying after a fall on the sidewalk in San Francisco in the spring of 1916, no other details provided [Billboard, April 1, 1916, 23]. A son, Jack Castle, died age 45 at Baraboo, WI on May 21, 1958 of a heart attack. He was a an erection foreman with B. A. Schiff & Associates, a ride manufacturer of Miami, FL, where he resided, and was buried (Southern Memorial Park), survived by daughters Mary Ellen and Patricia, and a brother, Buster [obituary, Billboard, May 26, 1958, 53]. He had been on a number of carnivals, including Hagenbeck-Wallace, Cetlin & Wilson, and James E. Strates Shows (still touring today), where Dolly was employed in 1942. Dolly also lost a brother, name unknown, in 1958-1959. She was still alive in 1959, residing in Miami, FL.
        She should not be confused with a contemporary actress and prima donna from Berlin, Germany, of the same name. It’s unclear which Dolly Castle was the mother of Everett Castle, a four-year old son who was run over by a wagon at Indianapolis, IN on September 23, 1904, dying thereafter [Billboard, October 8, 1904, 12]. This Dolly was with the Humpty Dumpty Company and his father was a Baltimore newspaper man.
        A simple Google search turns up numerous references to the animal presenter with circuses, carnival back end shows and elsewhere. New York Clipper, on Illinois Digital Newspapers; Billboard, at Fulton History and Google Books; and www.newsapperarchive.com also serve as good resources. They were used to compile a chronology of her life and circus experiences. I used “’Dolly Castle’ circus” in the search block, also “’Castle, Dolly’ circus [or lion, elephant, etc.].”
        A 1953 mention stated that she started her career as a ballet girl with the “old John Robinson Circus,” which might mean the original outfit of that name out of Terrace Park, Ohio, which last toured in 1911. A specific reference places her with the 1905 Carl Hagenbeck Trained Wild Animal Show, a new railroad circus [Billboard, April 25, 1905, 19, program review]. She was described in another account as “Miss Dolly Castle, a handsome little brunette of 23 [born c1882; or maybe 28, born c1878, the last age digit is blurred], a trainer for the Hagenbeck animal show.” She wrote “For some years I have been acquainted with the natures of these beasts [lions] as a trainer for Carl Hagenbeck.” [Syracuse (NY) Telegram, May 29, 1905]
        She was with Al G. Barnes Wild Animal Circus in 1906 and 1907. This was when he was doing dates for other showmen, prior to owning a complete circus. In 1906 he toured with C. W. Parker’s Parker Amusement Co., a carnival and in July she auditioned for the role of performing a loop-the-loop and leap the gap thrill act, both conducted while the performer was inside a globe (sphere). No further reference was found to that specialty.
        Her career was marked by several injuries. On March 1, 1907, at Wichita, KS, she was attacked and bruised, suffering a broken arm and hospitalized [New York Clipper, June 1, 1907, 415]. A 1942 Barber Sol’s “Famous Close Shaves” cartoon portrayed her as being rescued by an associate armed only with a spray seltzer bottle. She filled some time thereafter handling lions at Fairmont Park, Kansas City, MO. Castle’s manager was C. C. Pratt. On February 24, 1919 she was again injured by a lion at the H. W. Campbell Shows winter quarters in Moultrie, GA. This was a railroad carnival. The incident took place on her first day of work with the act, with which she was entirely unfamiliar. Later in her career, she reportedly lost a part of one hand to an attack.
        She definitely returned to the Barnes show in 1912. It was stated that she’d been doing musical comedy for the past five years, since leaving Barnes (1907). “She does a dance in the lion’s den and a Texas Tommy dance in the concert” [Billboard, May 18, 1912, 29]. The Texas Tommy originated in San Francisco and gained wider popularity by 1910. Castle remained with Barnes for 1913. In 1911 it was claimed that she had a lion act on the Sig Sautelle circus, though it’s unconfirmed. Her whereabouts for 1914-1915 weren’t determined.
        One image of her, presenting the Rhoda Royal military elephants at indoor and fair dates, can be seen online. It was clipped from the pages of Billboard, 1916. She continued to present the Royal elephant act indoors into 1917. For 1918 she was with the Con. T. Kennedy Shows, a railroad carnival, the tour of 1921 spent with another midway, C. A. Wortham’s midway Hippodrome, presenting the John Robinson military elephants.
        In the spring of 1924 she was doing dates with a lion act for Ed Carruthers, a booking agent, and may have kept busy in other winters doing the same thing. In the summer of 1924 she was with a wild animal show on Rubin & Cherry, a railroad carnival [her son Jack was also listed]. The 1925 Gollmar show employed her [articles, Bandwagon, May-June and July-Aug 1968]. Heritage Bros. was a one-year circus operation, in 1926. An article by Joseph T. Bradbury about it can be read online here: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1969Mar.htm
        Your great-grandmother also declared that she’d been with major railroad circuses from the 1910s to 1930s. We were able to verify: Yankee Robinson (1920); Hagenbeck-Wallace (1922, reportedly featured on a special lithograph; 1927), John Robinson (1923, 1924), Sparks (1926) and Al G. Barnes (as stated earlier). Among the last reports of her with an animal is from 1935, when she had a trained poodle; and in 1951, when she bought a lion cub from the Clyde Beatty zoo intending to train it to wrestle. The 1942 association with the Strates Shows is the only report in that decade.
        You might consult Joanne Joys book on wild animal trainers and an article by Fred D. Pfening Jr. on the same topic, in Bandwagon, May-June 1972. Many of the named circuses have had season review articles about the tours published in Bandwagon. These can be found in the article index. Some of the carnivals have been the subject of books. I would also recommend contacting the major circus repositories to ascertain their textual and image holdings. Circus World Museum’s library will have a number of data entry points on her in the “yellow tickets” that will confirm the above employments and appearances with numerous shows. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 05 Oct 2015 - Obviously Hagenbeck-Wallace isn’t a carnival, but a circus. My apologies. Fred

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4566. Jewish circus families, 22 Sep 2015 - I am looking for information concerning the Jewish circus families in the Netherlands such as the Kinsbergen, the Kunstenaar, the Cohens, the Blanus. Thank you for your help in that sense. Beatrice Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Oct 2015 - I suggest you to contact Alfred van Maasakkers from the Dutch Circus Friends Association. His mail is a.van.maasakkers@wxs.nl Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4565. Westerfeld, 20 Sep 2015 - Seeking information on Westerfeld, high rope walker. My mother's father's father. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4564. John Rebman, 18 Sep 2015 - Following is an excerpt from a death notice, dated Nov 1, 1900 in Montour PA. The man named is John Rebman. I would like to learn more about the circus and the man. "he traveled with many of the leading circuses including Forepaugh's, Robinson's, Gardner's and Stoke's as an acrobat. While with the latter he made a trip to Europe and was billed as the special attraction. About this time he introduced the double somer-sault to the world and won great fame on that account." Can you direct me to more information? Edie Rudolph Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Sep 2015 - I’m sure that you’ve already performed a basic Google search and discovered such items as this: http://files.usgwarchives.net/pa/montour/bios/rebman-john1859.txt
        All of the shows with which Rebman was associated by the above account are well known and documented. You can peruse the biographical and show history information on this website, in the virtual library, which has bios of all of them in Slout’s Olympians, though the ambiguity in several of the names must first be resolved: Adam [probably] Forepaugh; [R. E. is not correct, likely Dan or Frank A., who was said to be the second to turn a double somersault leap] Gardner; [Alex, John or “Yankee”?] Robinson; Spencer Q. Stokes.
        It was Stokes who was in Europe c1851-c1861. With Rebman landing here in May 1860, that would seem to mark the start of his career with the domestic circus trade. You’ll need to trace the Stokes troupe in European resources and also the New York Clipper, which contained periodic news items from abroad. Since Rebman claims to have received special billing, he ought to stand out in the Stokes advertising.
        You can access the New York Clipper, the leading theatrical journal of the time, at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=p&p=home&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN------- A quick check limited to “John Rebman” yielded zero hits, as did the search for solely Rebman. This likely means his name was obscured by that of the troupe with which he performed; or perhaps he performed under an alias, or anonymously as part of a corps of leapers and aerial artists. It seems strange that his name is not found anywhere.
        When I checked for double somersault I learned that “young [James/Jimmy] Madigan” and Harry Cordona” were also doing it by 1862 and 1863, respectively, with a third also doing the trick at Lent’s Hippotheatron by 1864. It was then part of “battoute leaps,” which is also spelled other ways.
        You can also check him, the showmen and circuses at Fulton History, Chronicling America and other newspaper websites. The Circus World Museum library has a name finding aid. Contact librarian Pete Shrake and ask him to check for Rebman.
        Circus journals such as Bandwagon and White Tops also contain much information about these showmen and their circuses. You can locate articles via the indexes on this website. Bandwagon recently published an extended account of the Adam Forepaugh and his circus. There’s also an article about leapers by Steve Gossard that you may find of interest [July-Aug 1990]. He provides a survey of great leapers and Rebman isn’t mentioned. Rebman is also absent from Gossard’s published survey of aerial trapeze performance. Gossard does provide the names of the first double somersaulters [Burnell Runnells and Hiram Franklin, 1850s], with Thompkins doing it at Franconi’s in France in 1850, which leaves all the more mystery about Rebman and his claims. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4563. Cohens, circus family, 18 Sep 2015 - I am doing a research on my mother’s family, a Jewish Dutch circus family, the Cohens. My mother, Sarah Cohen will be 92 on September, the 30th, 2015. It would be a tremendous birthday present for her to know more about her family! (so much silence on it in order to survive). My main questions are:
    I wonder if anyone would have some documents on the circus and theater circus belonging to my family members: Marcus Levie Cohen, the Cohens, The Dulaar, the Kunstenaar.
    I found that they were living on board a barge on Amsterdam’s Grand Canal. I would like to know if this was common or not. Maybe you could be knowledgeable of historians who described the daily life of these people in the 18th Century. More generally, would anyone know of sources or documentation or resources about street singers, musicians, acrobats, and street artist performances in Holland in the 18th & 19th century?
    I try to imagine what the life of my ancestors was and I try to understand how, for centuries, they kept alive their dedication to the circus nomadic life and profession and brought it on a family basis until the tragic disruption due to the Shoah. I thank in advance anyone one who could help me in that sense. Best regards, Beatrice Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4562. Lion cage wagon, 12 Sep 2015 - I am doing some research on a lion cage wagon that I am in the process of buying. I was told it came out of Longmont, CO about 50 yrs ago and sold at an auction. The daughter said that her dad said it was an original wagon, according to the auction. It is pretty plain - not ornate like others I have seen in my research. This was stored in the shed for the last 50 ish years. It is about 8' tall and as wide as the heavy wagon under it. Their is a shelf for the lions to get on behind the driver and the back door slides down to close the door. On the sliding door is a circle wood emblem that has a yellow lion painted on it with bars. I do have pictures that I can send as well. My plan is to restore it to museum quality and looking for any information on wood used as well as any other information. Can you offer any help with this and is it authentic? I would like to restore it and need some help on the types of wood that would be used back in the 50's. Thank you so much, Joe Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Sep 2015 - You’ll need to establish a means to share photographs of your vehicle to make any analysis possible; perhaps an online posting will work? “Original” and “authentic” can be applied and interpreted in different ways and have no real meaning without supporting context. Such terms are more commonly used in the realm of marketing and sales promotion than museums.
        In addition to bona fide preserved circus artifacts, there have been many circus-like or inspired vehicles fabricated for movie studio use, amusement parks, zoos, parades, commercial enterprises, private individuals and so on in the post-WWII era. Some of these may have cultural value for other reasons. For example, people and institutions value and collect for preservation selected movie artifacts.
        More than 95% of the alleged show vehicles I’ve been asked to evaluate in the past 24 years have turned out to be of non-show origin and use, or indeterminate and unprovable as having any show affiliation. Show vehicles typically embody certain construction characteristics, hallmark features, that are readily identifiable. Some have been shorn of these, but others simply lack them and make differentiating one from another a straight forward task.
        The era of the wagon-using railroad tent circus came to a close in 1956. By then operating circuses had already moved on to the use of steel, aluminum and other rolled sections or formable sheet metals in fabricating cages and other vehicles, a transition started by the 1920s. The same was true of motorized shows, which relied upon fabricated highway trailers. Yes, some shows made cages and parade wagons that imitate older vehicles, using wood, Fiberglas and other modern materials. Their adherence to any prototype varies greatly.
        Your best resource on the vehicle origin and provenance is the daughter of the maker, so be sure to gather all that she can provide. Garnering more information about the Longmont auction will also be to your benefit. You might also pose queries about the vehicle in the Longmont, greater Denver and area reaching into SE Wyoming; someone may well have a recollection of it. Someone with good knowledge of wood may be able to discern the species via visual examination. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4561. Katy Malone, 08 Sep 2015 - I am looking for any information on a Katy (Katie) Malone. She was born abt 1875 in Missouri to Edward and Amanda Malone. I have very little information but was told that family lore states she ran away to join the circus when they lived near Kansas City. I honestly don't know if this is true but trying to track down this lead. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4560. Cole Bros., 1935-40, 06 Sep 2015 - I know that Joseph T. Bradbury wrote a series of articles detailing the history of Cole Bros. Circus, 1935-1940. Can you please tell me where the 1939 season article was published? Thanks very much, Chris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Sep 2015 - Bandwagon, May-June 1967, Vol 11 # 3. Dave

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4559. Trevor Barnett, 06 Sep 2015 - I'm looking for Trevor Barnett, he was a strongman. I do not know much about him apart from this. I do know that he is married to Betty Barnett. I have found here (post 1529 Samson the Great that he done a Samson and Delilah act (Trevor and Betty Barnett). I've found 2 videos on YouTube, 1 doing his act and one (Russian) as a tribute to him. If anyone has more info on how to contact them or other family of them (I supposedly am family of them) then please email ace_silver10@hotmail.com. Thank you, Adam Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4558. Reggie Montgomery, 03 Sep 2015 - To all possibilities out there: Did you know Reggie Montgomery. the first black clown at Ringling in 1968. I am looking for information and any photos. Reggie was my friend! I’m Don Hepner and hephephooray@sbcglobal.net is my email. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Oct 2015 - My name is Scott Bryan and I went to the first clown college in Venice with Reggie. I think I have some photo in my storage wingnutscott@me.com

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4557. Circus Light, 01 Sep 2015 - Would anyone know of a circus called Light in southern England in the late 1800's that may have moved to America, Many thanks, Alan Ralph Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Sep 2015 - This is a new one on me. I've looked through several Victorian references and cannot find any mention of Mr Light's Circus. Do you have any other snippet of information for us? Where do you get the idea that it was in southern England and then America? jim@stockley.co.za

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4556. Bullock family, 01 Sep 2015 - My name is Lisa, I am looking for any info on my great-great grandfather A. L. Bullock (Lou), and his sons Judd Bullock and Roy ( Jack ) Bullock. I have found that Judd was a trainmaster for the All G. Barnes Circus. I have photos of Lou Bullock taken in Los Angeles, CA in April of 1929. I had been told years ago he was a Ring Master. Could anyone tell me more about them and their connection with the circus? Thank you, whytewytch66@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4555. Ralph Kirk family, 24 Aug 2015 - I would like to learn more about Ralph Kirk family, we are not related; however, I remember meeting them in the 50's and maybe on into early 60's they traveled across the area with the Kirk Family Circus. Their home was Deshler, Nebraska. I would to learn more about that venture. Regardless, thanks for your work in preserving the history of Thayer County. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Michael Davis Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Aug 2015 - The Kirk family show operations of Deshler, NE challenge both the documentation and the definition of circus. They’re not listed in any of the usual title listings [Sturtevant, Chindahl, Parkinson]; might be confused with the later and unrelated Circus Kirk; and by strict definition may not have been a circus per se.
        Whether it was presented in a ring is unknown - but possible. “Circus” means different things to different people. It endured at least two generations, a father and son(?); manifested itself with engagements at fairs, as a back end show on carnivals, as an act with motorized circuses and in appearances at not-for-profit facilities where it brightened many days. It was likely housed in a truck and house trailer, or two, that navigated the highways.
        The elder Ralph Kirk Sr. appears to have had a talent for training animals and the family gained skills with a variety of acts that supported their various bookings. They were like hundreds of other efforts that sought fame as show people, but learned that it provided both opportunity and challenge, yet they never diverged from it.
        I found no suitable entry in the 1940 census for him, in Nebraska or nearby Kansas; he may have been on the road when the canvas was undertaken. In 1930 there is an entry for a Ralph M. van Kirk in nearby Fairfield, Clay County, Nebraska. He was born about 1920, the oldest son of Earl A. and Velma Kirk, farmers. He had younger sisters Nadine and Mildred. This family relocated to Drain, Douglas County, Oregon, by the time of the 1940 census, when Ralph was listed as a garage laborer. Several changes would be necessary for this to have been the Ralph Kirk of Deshler.
        Where and how Ralph Kirk Sr. started in the trade is unknown. The first entry, in 1943, has him offering a trained cow, Queenie, for sale, out of Deshler, NE. [Billboard, Nov 13, 1943, p48] Perhaps he presented it at a local fair, where it gained him attention?
        Kirk sold trained horses to Buck Lucas, identified as Banard Bros. Circus, when the latter passed through Deshler in the spring of 1944. [Billboard, April 1, 1944, p35] Lucas was a showman since the 1920s. Perhaps they shared some earlier traveling existence and thereby knew one another?
        Buck Lucas and the Rodeo Rangers were featured with the Bud Anderson Circus of Emporia, Kansas, that season. Lucas was out of Barnard, Ohio, and the general locale, and operated Barnard Bros. and also Barr Bros. circuses at various times. Lucas was profiled by Fred D. Pfening Jr. in the CHS journal Bandwagon, May-June 1990, which is available as a back issue. Kirk wasn’t mentioned therein.
        Kirk must have been married, and presumably a son was born as in 1951 the Kirk & Son ponies were mentioned, along with Kirk Attractions. [Billboard, June 2, 1951, p48 and Hamburg, IA Reporter, July 12, 1951]
        Kirk recognized that agricultural and county fairs provided numerous booking opportunities and to that end he was listed as an attendee of the Nebraska Association of County Fair Managers in early 1954. [Billboard, Feb 6, 1954, p46] Mr. and Mrs. Kirk and son Ralph Jr., representing Kirk & Son Attractions, attended the Kansas Fair Association in early 1958. [Billboard, January 13, 1958, p83] In early 1959 the Ralph Kirk Family Circus was represented at the Association of Oklahoma Fairs. [Billboard, February 9, 1959, p54]
        In 1955 father and son were booked on indoor Clyde Bros. Circus, the father serving as ringmaster and the son doing rope tricks. [Billboard, October 29, 1955, p66] For 1959 the Kirk & Son Circus were booked for a three-month stay as a back end attraction, a show, with the Wonderland Exposition Shows, a motorized carnival. Such outfits usually played one-week stands. [Billboard, Feb 9, 1959, p62] In 1960 Ralph Kirk & Sons (first mention of plural) were with the motorized James Christy Circus. Earlier in the year he eagerly sought a rolling globe. [Billboard, October 10, 1960, p38 and Feb 1, 1960, p87]
        The younger Kirk was involved in several shows presented as benefit for the less privileged. In 1958 residents of Lincoln, NE’s children homes [Whitehall, St. Thomas, Cedars, Tabitha and perhaps the State Hospital] were treated to the Ralph Kirk Jr. Circus. The sponsors were prison inmates, who donated their earned salaries, and handmade and purchased gifts for about 100 children. Kirk presented a monkey, dogs, magic, rope and whip acts. [Lincoln Evening Journal, Dec 15, 1958] A decade later, Kirk did another engagement, this time at the Beatrice State Home, adding acrobatics. It had been his custom to visit the home for years, each December. [Beatrice, NE, Daily Sun, Dec 10, 1967]
        The above is what could readily be found online. Perhaps Deshler residents recall the Kirks? It’s not that long ago. There may be more information in other local newspapers (also check the county seat, Hebron, newspaper), Thayer County Historical Society and the Nebraska state library or historical society. Are any interred in local cemeteries?
        The 1959 James Christy Circus was owned by Corky Plunkett and Vernon Pratt. Plunketts are still around the circus business today and some members may recall the Kirks. James Plunkett and wife Cristine were recently active with the James C[h]risty Cole Circus out of Texas; they have a website with a contact template. It played Nebraska this summer (2015). The 1959 troupe was out of Hugo, OK, which has an awareness of the local circus heritage, home to today’s Carson & Barnes and Kelly-Miller Circuses. Elephant trainer Buckles Woodcock and his wife Barbara were on the 1960 James Christy outfit and his online Buckles Blog published four photos of the troupe. You might inquire of him about the Kirks, via his website. He may be able to link you with others that knew the Kirks. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 31 Aug 2015 - Fred, "sought fame as show people"? Sorry, but I found that sentence, and some of the tone your answer to be a bit condescending. I don't know the Kirks, but I know show people having been born (1928) and raised in "show business". Professional entertainment was your goal. Michael, look in old local newspapers if you can. Billie

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4554. Paul Hastie, 17 Aug 2015 - Paul Hastie high diver for barnum and Bailey circus in.1940 or so. High dive act 110 ft into 5ft water. Looking for info. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Aug 2015 - There’s no listing for a Paul Hastie/Hastie in Billboard magazine in the 1942-1960 period. Did he use a stage name or performance alias? Google also yielded no hits for a diver of that name. There were some high dive acts with circuses, pre-1930, but mostly they’re free acts with traveling carnivals, at amusement parks, state/county/street fairs, etc. What’s the basis of reference source for him and his presentations? Perhaps it can serve to initiate a search? If he was a RBBB employee between 1938 and 1956, his employment card will be in the RBBB business records filed in the Circus World Museum library. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4553. Johnny Elliott, 17 Aug 2015 - We are looking for any information on Johnny Elliott who apparently owned a small circus based in Ontario in the 1930's and 40's. We think it was called Elliott Shows. We don't have much to go on, he was my wife's uncle and she remembers holding a lion cub. Any information would be very much appreciated. Thank you, Bill & Dawn Williams Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Aug 2015 - I don't know of any Elliot Shows in Ontario but the Elliots who owned carnivals lived in Amherst, N.S. Frank Elliot the father had a small show (maybe 3-4 rides) out in the 1930's and played New Brunswick mainly along with Ben Williams Shows. Frank Elliots Show's main route was New Brunswick and a few Nova Scotia dates. During the war years the show was completely wrecked by soldiers in Truro, Nova Scotia. Bill Lynch Shows with 2-3 units blanketed Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland with #2 unit) and played all the bigger fairs in New Brunswick, i.e. Woodstock, Chatham, Fredericton, St. John's.
        In my time 1960's on; Ron Elliot operated the show which grew to be about 12 rides. Prior to that. King Reid Shows from Vermont played still dates in Campbellton, Batherst, New Castle and Quispamsis across the river from Fredericton. In the 1970's there was no more King Reid Shows and Ron Elliot played more still dates in northern New Brunswick. His brother Glen started a midway company which grew into a fair size carnival. Glen kept it in Newfoundland most of the season and played a couple of main land fairs late in the fall. Unfortunately Glen got cancer and died in middle of his carnival career. Ron Elliot's son that was helping his dad run the show in the 1980's and who was next in line to take it over died playing hockey one winter. That was the end of Elliot Shows. I saw Ron and his wife in Amherst in their home there about five years ago. There was also another relative that owned a variety store.
        Bill Lynch Shows under Soggie Reid was still the big show in the maritimes into the early 1990's. Now Campbell Amusements from Brantford, Ontario plays the bigger fairs and celebrations in N.B., P.E.I., and Nova Scotia. Al Stencell

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4552. United Shows, 13 Aug 2015 - My father recalls that when he was young (3-5 years old) his family traveled with a "United Shows". There was a lady lion tamer names "Mable or Mabel Star". They were originally from Texas, but moved to California. This would have been around 1930-1940. Cnthyd1 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Aug 2015 - The obvious, but perhaps not correct answer is famed wild animal trainer and presenter Mabel Stark, who was born in Tennessee 1889 and died in California 1968. Unfortunately, “United Shows” is a bit problematical since it could be many different things. There’s an enormous amount of information available about Stark. Wikipedia has a basic outline that does have at least one error [Barnes didn’t fold in 1935, was closed in 1938]. She published an “assisted” autobiography, “Hold That Tiger,” in 1938. Check that and determine if anything resonates with your father; there are routes for some of the shows on this website, and other information. It’s also possible that a female trainer or presenter tried to ride Mabel Stark’s coattails to fame by using a similar name. A limited search provided no hits for a “Mable/Mabel Star,” but other variations are possible. Joanne Joys published a book about wild animal trainers and Fred D. Pfening Jr. published a large compilation about them in the CHS journal, "Bandwagon". These might also be worth checking. The key will be establishing a fixed link between your father and a specific show, and a date, and that will prove to be the key in unlocking the mystery. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4551. Flying Fostellians, 11 Aug 2015 - G. mother Dorothea (Dora) Fredricka Moss Jacobs (DOB 12-28-1891, Chicago, IL)and Everett Ray Jacobs(DOB 9-19-1889, Jeffersonville, IN) billed as The Flying Fostellians (1916). Traveled with the Sells Floto Circus; Carl Hagenbeck/Wallace Shows combined; Ringling; Golmer (Gollmar?) Circuit Show on the East Coast, USA. Seeking information - especially about Dora. She was billed as "Iron Jawed Dora" as she hung by her teeth;and did aerial gymnastics with G.father as the Butterfly Act. Also called Dora Fostellian. She was said to have the "Most perfect figure in show business" and was a Flora Dora Girl. Her brothers Joseph Moss, William Moss and Elsworth (Elsie) Moss were also performers. She lived with the Da Coma family when she was 9 (1900) and older. Her mothers name was Emma Schroeder (Schraeder) (USA) and father was Elmer Emmons Moss, London, England. My grandfather, Everett, was a high wire aerialist and clown. Any information regarding these wonderful persons would be most appreciated. B.J. Larson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Sep 2015 - I have searched through the programs collections of Milner Library at Illinois State University, which are extensive but by no means comprehensive. I’m afraid I could not find the Fostellians listed in the Gollmar, the Hagenbeck Wallace, or the Sells Floto programs. It is possible that the Fostellains were working under another name or that the programs for the years they were working are not in our collection. Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin; the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida; and the Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana may have more programs from the American Circus Corporation on file.
        Another avenue of research would be to skim the weekly circus columns of the New York Clipper and Billboard magazines from the early 1900s. So far I have not found an internet search engine for these two publications, but though it is a tedious process to skim through the pages on microfilm, it would certainly yield results if you have the time and patience. [Clipper and Billboard can be found online - webmaster]
        If Dora had lived with the Da Coma family in the early 1900s she would certainly have been exposed to the high end of aerial performance. The Da Comas worked with the Ringling Brothers Circus for a number of years performing a flying return act, and participating in other sorts of aerial performances. Dora would have had a good education in performing arts with the Da Comas.
        I was able to find a few references to the Fostellains by searching the newspapers.com and chroniclingamerica.com sites on line. Between 1914 and 1919 the “Two Fostellains” were working in theaters doing what was variously described as a “Comedy and Acrobatic” act, “Aerial Novelty and Teeth Suspension,” “Roman Ring Artists,” “Aerial Suspension,” and “aerial gymnastic novelty act.” One advertisement described them as “European Roman rings artists,” another as “Gymnasts Par Excellence,” and another described them as “new and different.” Actually, there were many acts of this nature which toured the vaudeville circuits, and they required extreme physical discipline and skill. They were called “dumb acts” on the stage because there was no speaking involved, and circus performers often found work in this way through the winter when the circuses were in winter quarters. The Fostellains may have performed a “flying” act with the circus, but performed a simpler act on stage where space was limited. The Fostellains are found performing their iron jaw performance and Roman rings at the annual fair in Portland, Indiana as well in 1915, and it is possible that they were living in Indiana, where the American Circus Corporation was quartered. Steve Gossard, Curator of Circus Collections, Milner Library Special Collections, Illinois State University

    Reply: 22 Sep 2015 - By the way, the Floradora Girls were a sensation in their day. Though Dora Moss would have been too young to be one of the original Floradora Sextet when it debuted in 1900, there were likely a number of actresses who served as Floradora girls over the next twenty years or so. They were considered by many people to be the most beautiful women on the stage, and were so well remembered that when Warner Brothers produced their first big variety musical feature in 1930, The Show of Shows, they featured a skit called “The Floradora Boys.” The theme of the skit was that the Floradora Girls had all married millionaires, but now that the depression had hit the boys were all working menial jobs sweeping floors, etc. The skit featured all the Warner Bros. top comedians and actresses of the day, including Myrna Loy. Steve Gossard

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4550. Carl Martini, 09 Aug 2015 - My great grandfather was a strongman in England in the early 1900s. He was known as Carl Martini the pocket Hercules and travelled with Sandow circus. He competed in a 10 pound challenge at Blackpool and there was huge poster advertising the event. I cannot locate any sources that refer to these challenges and the men who participated. Any ideas where I could research this info Cheers, Angie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Aug 2015 - I suggest you to contact the English Circus Friends Association, http://www.circusfriends.co.uk/ Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4549. Beach Park IL, 09 Aug 2015 - Waukegan Illinois and I was raised in Beach Park Illinois and I remember there was a circus on Sheridan Road in Beach Park Illinois. Can someone find me the information? It had to be in the late 1960, I want to say around 67 68. jeswaineed Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4548. Tekla Johanna Nygaard, 06 Aug 2015 - My grandmother, Tekla Johanna Nygaard, was born in Denmark in 1867. She immigrated to New York City in 1887. She joined the Ringling Bros. Circus between 1887 and 1892. She was in Minneapolis in 1890 and had a daughter Emma born there, she may also have been married when Emma was born. Somehow she arrived in Pottawattamie County Iowa around 1892 and married my grandfather Benjamin Franklin Doty in Weston, Pott. Co. Ia. She was avid about circuses and everytime one came to Council Bluffs, Iowa she would put up circus posters in her little store window in Weston and always got free tickets so her grandchildren could go to the circus. I you didn’t want to go to the circus you couldn’t have a ticket. I am trying to find out if this information is correct or just something she said. I do not know how to find out this info or where to go next to find out if this is true. Please reply if you have any information. Thank You, Kay Doty Shipley. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Aug 2015 - Local citizens, merchants, building and fence owners and farmers were commonly given complimentary circus performance tickets, coupons or passes (wording varies) when they permitted the posting of show posters on their structure walls, in windows, on fences and elsewhere. They signed a contract form that gave permission to the circus men to post their “bills” on the signer’s property. A second group of circus men would come around and verify that the posters remained in place; had they been removed, or covered, complimentary passes were not honored as the recipient had voided the contract terms. Showmen also sought space in unoccupied and abandoned structures, in some instances. Posters exist today with tape on them, confirming that they were used in window installations. The complimentary tickets were then redeemed at the marquee, the canopied show entrance, which gained the holder admittance to the menagerie [the tented zoo] and the big top. You can read about circus posters, the crews, the pass system, etc. in the book “Billers, Banners and Bombast.” Some later examples of comp tickets are on pages 106-107. Earlier examples, including those actually used by the Ringling show, can be seen in the Circus World Museum library, and perhaps elsewhere.
        Passes saved the circus from buying the advertising space, but it gave away seats in the big top. One source indicates only 60% of the complimentary tickets were redeemed, so it was bargain exchange for the show. In total, complimentary tickets might represent a quarter or more of the circus audience, meaning it was a costly practice. Complimentary ticket holders had to purchase separate tickets to see the side show, in a separate tent on the midway, and the concert, a brief performance that followed the ring performance inside the big top.
        So, yes, your grandmother could have received “comps” for permitting the placement of posters in her windows. These generally smaller posters, 28” x 42” or smaller, were thus called “window work,” as opposed to “wall work.” Wall work tended to be larger, multiple sheet posters. Each style was augmented with “date tails” or “date sheets,” which proclaimed the day and date, and location (city) of the circus presence. A bit of searching on Google will reveal any number of commercial establishments with posters in the windows.
        Weston, Iowa is too small to have hosted any show, so Council Bluffs/Omaha to the southwest would have been the show sites, as you state. Weston was on a rail line (it was actually established after the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific was built and went into operation), so excursion trains may have passed through it, taking people to the circus community on show day. Showmen posted bills far outside show communities, with specially-arranged railroad excursion days provided to bring hinterlands residents to see the circus.
        There is no route book for the 1884 to 1889 Ringling shows, but they are synopsized in two summary route books issued later. They are in numerous circus archives. They do not include the complete rosters of the show. The route books for the 1890 to 1892 tours have been abstracted and the text is on this website---go to “Virtual library” on the home page, then “circuses” and then “Ringling Bros. 1884- . . .”. to find and read them. You’ll learn much about your grandma’s life on the road. I did not find her name listed, but not all employees are in the documents. If she was not a performer (ring show, side show, concert), there’s a good chance that she worked in wardrobe, the most common department for female workers.
        In addition to those route books, you can read reports about the Ringling show online in the weekly trade newspaper, “New York Clipper.” You can scan pages at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.
        Jerry Apps’s fine book, “Ringlingville,” provides the best available chronicle of the Ringling circus between 1884 and 1918. You can obtain it on interlibrary loan. It can be supplemented by Henry Ringling North’s family memoir, “Circus Kings,” which retains its value. A new edition was recently released, but it’s also available via interlibrary loan. Both books can also be obtained from second hand sources. You’ll find them to be enjoyable, and enlightening reads.
        You might check libraries and historical societies in the vicinity of your grandmother’s store, especially Council Bluffs and Omaha, and also state facilities. Given her circus allegiance, there might be a surviving photograph of her establishment in one of the repositories, complete with circus posters in the windows. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4547. Ringling Bros. Barnum Bailey, 05 Aug 2015 - I am trying to organize my Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus programs as well as identify those which I do not have. Does any one know the program names - for example “Bellobration” - the unit, and the edition for the years 2000 to 2015? I would appreciate the assistance. Michael McGuckin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Aug 2015 -
        2000 - Blue - Sara and the Tigers - 130th Edition
        2001 - Red - Bellobration - 131st Edition
        2002 - Blue - Not titled ( has David Larible, Sylvia Zerbini, T.M. the Gator Guy and Mystical Mei Ling on cover ) - 132nd Edition
        2003 - Red - Bello / Bailey's Comet - 133rd Edition
        2004 - Blue - Not titled ( has David Larible, Sylvia Zerbini Crazy Wilson and Motorcycle Mania on the cover ) - 134th Edition
        2004 - Gold - Hometown Edition
        2005 - Red - Saving the Day from Everyday - 135th Edition
        2006 - Blue - Circus of Dreams - 136th Edition
        2006 - Gold - Circus of Dreams ( Totally different cover then Blue unit )
        2007 - Red - Bellobration - 137th Edition
        2008 - Blue - Over the Top - 138th Edition
        2009 - Red - Over the Top - 139th Edition ( carried over from the Blue unit )
        2009 - Gold - Boom a Ring - This became the Coney Island show all summer
        2010 - Blue - Barnum's Fundundrum - 140th Edition ( 200 years of P.T. Barnum )
        2010 - Gold - Illuscination - This became the Coney Island show all summer
        2010 - Red - Zing, Zang, Zoom - 139th Edition
        2011 - Gold - Zing, Zang, Zoom
        2011 - Red - Fully Charged - 141st Edition
        2012 - Gold - Barnum Bash
        2012 - Blue - Dragons - 142nd Edition
        2013 - Gold - Fully Charged
        2013 - Red - Built to Amaze - 143rd Edition
        2014 - Blue - Legends - 144th Edition
        2014 - Gold - Circus Super Heroes
        2015 - Red - Circus Extreme - 145th Edition
        2015 - Gold - Built to Amaze - ( last season of operation - closes in October )
        I hope that helps. Bob Cline

    Reply: 12 Aug 2015 - Thanks, Bob Cline. The information helps a great deal. Michael McGuckin

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4546. Reverhos, jugglers, 31 Jul 2015 - We are working on a biography of very famous french jugglers: "Reverhos". We know from their family they have been 8 months touring Brazil in end 1937/38. We are enable to trace this period, can you give us any better information. Thank you, Denis Jean Marie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4545. Hagenbeck-Wallace 1937, 30 Jul 2015 - Can anyone tell me the sideshow line up for the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus for the 1937 season? I have looked through the Billboard but am unable to find it. Thank you for your help. Best Regards, Chris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 31 Jul 2015 - Joseph T. Bradbury’s comprehensive coverage of the 1937 Hagenbeck-Wallace tour in two issues of White Tops [ND68, JF69] doesn’t provide a side show attraction listing. Given that Joe scoured the journal for every tidbit of knowledge, and usually included it in his subsequent writings, I would conclude that no side show list was given to, or compiled by the Billboard reviewer that covered the show. You can verify that by accessing Joe’s raw notes, which might be preserved in the Circus World Museum library, or the Billboard review itself. I would doubt that Joe’s dragnet of issues missed such a list, but anything is possible.
        There are irregularly-dated issues of the Greater Show World that came out in the 1930s, which are difficult to find for the most part. You could check for those. Another tactic might be to access photographs of the 1937 side show bannerline and develop your own list. Yet, they might be in short supply; not a single image of it was in his well-illustrated piece.
        Though the later 1937 ownership and management continued into 1938, I think it would be unwise to assume that the same people populated both the 1937 and 1938 sideshows. Joe’s coverage of the 1938 tour is in White Tops, ND69 and JF70. The side show roster is in the first named issue, page 10. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4544. Circus wrestler, 28 Jul 2015 - Need Help with a book. Developing a fictional character based on my HS Wrestling Coach. Setting is pre Civil War in Texas, 1850's. Would be traveling with a circus or carnival as a Wrestler challenging locals to stay with him for 10 minutes. Does this match anyone or was this a common attraction for traveling circuses of the day? Jim Bowlin Pflugerville, TX Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - There were generally no wrestlers with circuses, in the 19th century and few later; exceptions might be some Japanese acts (that did not engage in public interaction) and the others that appeared in side shows in the 20th century. Traveling carnivals of the 20th century (by definition traveling carnivals didn’t exist until c1898) sometimes had wrestlers who would take on all “volunteers.” For antebellum circus activity, gain a look at books by Stuart Thayer: Traveling Showmen; The Performers; and Annals of the American Circus 1793-1860; which summarize most important aspects of the era. These are all out of print, but usually available by interlibrary loan or secondhand market purchase. For carnival wrestlers, check recent books by Al W. Stencell on back end shows, sideshows and the like. Texas circus history is a specialty, not yet well-defined in well-researched literature; for the moment avoid the error-filled account of Mollie Bailey written by a relative, and works that are largely derived from it. There are better accounts of Texas incidents, like a Jan-Feb 2006 Bandwagon article about the big fight in Jacksonville, TX in 1872 that claimed a number of lives. Delving into surviving Texas papers is a good way to gain insight into the context of 1850s Texas; you can also read about circus news in the columns of the New York Clipper, online at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 12 Aug 2016 - There were wrestlers on circuses. If you look in Billboard you will find mention of them in circus concerts and in side shows. Wrestlers often appear in the rosters of late 1800 side shows with circuses. In the 1920's forward boxers were on many circuses concert line ups as were wild west movie starts. Perhaps they were not as many wrestlers because there names were not widely known. Check out some of the truck circuses in the 1920's-30's and you will see wrestlers in the concert or after show. The carnival business was full of wrestlers. "ATT" shows or athletic shows were great midway drawing cards. The Att shows drew male customers which were needed on shows that carried a lot of flat and alibi joints. Midway att shows provide a steady place for wrestlers to work before promoters came along and organized circuits and before television made the entertainment extremely popular. James Strates Sr. was a wrestler before he owned a carnival. Mad Cody Fleming was both a successful wrestler and a carnival owner. I believe in the 1960's Bill Dillard was perhaps the last wrestler who owned a carnival. There were dozens of wrestler -carnival owners. I have a 40-50 page manuscript on wrestlers in carnivals. Al Stencell

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4543. Circus, Ireland, 27 Jul 2015 - My father brought me to a circus at the Fair Green in Portadown Northern Ireland around 1948 era. Whose circus was it? I think it had the wall of death motor-cyclists. Ed Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - I suggest you to contact David Jamieson, editor of King Pole, published by the UK Circus Friends Association, david.jamieson@btinernet.com King Pole deals also with circuses in Ireland. Kind regards, Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - “Wall of death motor-cyclists” suggests a fairground, with mechanical rides, food/drink/souvenir/game stalls and smaller tented attractions like side shows, and generally not circus activity-though an actual circus might have been booked into a fair as a special attraction. There may also have been animal shows as part of the fair. Perhaps one of the UK chroniclers will know whether Northern Ireland activity was recorded in the British journal “World’s Fair”, which remains in existence today? It is not a readily found journal, not microfilmed or digitized, as far as I know. The other resource to check is local newspapers, many of which are often available online. Circus advertising usually stands out from typical local advertisements. Start by Googling “Ireland historical newspapers” and then evaluate the options set forth, in terms of location, time coverage, accessibility and cost. You can also speak with your local librarian about resource availability. The National Fairground Archive at Sheffield University has voluminous resources and might also be a worthwhile contact. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 12 Aug 2016 - I would suggest that you contact the National fairground Archives at Sheffield University.You may also want to check out 2-3 books written by wall drivers in England. There was at one time a British Wall Of death Co. that owned a dozen or more touring motor dromes and had them on shows all over and in Ireland, England and the continent. A few years back at Munich Octoberfest the drivers hired to work in the big drome were Ken Wall and his troupe from England. Ken was a long time wall vet and has written a fine book on his life as a drome operator. Visiting was an old chap who had been associated with the British Wall of death Co. That's were i first heard of the organization. I'm sure if you contact Ken he would be able to help you. There are also several German books out on Wall of Death performers. Al Stencell

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4542. Levi J. North, 26 Jul 2015 - I am doing some genealogical research on my family and recently learned that Levi J. North (an Equestrian & Circus manager from the mid-1800’s) is my 1st cousin (4 times removed). I found the essay written about him on your site and am amazed at the life he lived. I was wondering if you might have any other information about him? Thanks very much. Charlie North Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - I suggest you to contact Gesellschaft der Circusfreunde in Germany, http://www.circus-verlag.de/ Kind regards, Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - The original edition of Thayer’s biography of Levi J. North, in the Nov-Dec 2001 issue of Bandwagon (available for purchase as a back issue) contains a couple additional illustrations that are not in the digitized text online. An older article by George Chindahl in the Circus Fans Association journal White Tops, Nov-Dec 1954, about the circus in Chicago, includes a photo documenting North’s Amphitheater in that city, and provides further insight, as does an older history of Chicago that is likely to be found in Google Books. The late Don Hensey composed a manuscript on North’s Amphitheater that has not yet been published, but may appear in Bandwagon in the future. A poster for North’s 1855 show is preserved at Circus World Museum, reproduced on page 14 of the book Billers, Banners and Bombast. The George Chindahl and Thomas P. Parkinson files on the man and his shows, note cards and other materials, are also filed there. Stuart Thayer’s research files on North are accessible at the Ringling Museum. Visits to those institutions would be the best way to augment your knowledge. With a long and relatively well-documented career in the circus business, one could expend many hours pursuing all of the available resources. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4541. Circus acts, Germany, 24 Jul 2015 - I am doing a little research for a historical fiction book that is set in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. I'm looking for specific details about the types of acts would be typical during that time at the Sarrasani Theatre in Dresden. I believe theatre was finished on September 19, 1912 and destroyed in the Dresden fire in 1945, but I'm focusing on the 20s and 30s. The scene is a 12 or so year-old boy watching the circus with his family. I'm curious how the circus might begin, what type of acts would he see, and specifically what would the elephant act include, and if it would come at the end. I'm hoping for as many accurate descriptive details as possible about the acts as well. I realize it's a lot to ask, and I appreciate any information. Thank you, Jerry Charles Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Aug 2015 - I suggest you to contact Gesellschaft der Circusfreunde in Germany, http://www.circus-verlag.de/ Kind regards, Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

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4540. Ted Nicholson, 20 Jul 2015 - Hello Circus History team. My name is Lisa. With kind regards, I am ‘Lisa at Camp’s’. Looking for background on a legendary Circus Band director. I would like photos of him in his younger days as a Circus Band Leader. I would like all kinds of information to follow him. He is heralded important, and a kind of hero in my home town. He would have been active in circus music prior to 1928. His name is Theodore (Ted) Nicholson. Photos of him and his son Paul Nicholson from 1928 to 1958 would help. Paul played music in bands too, while attending Midland High School.
    You see, having a reputation as a great Circus Band director Theodore (Ted) Nicholson, in circa 1928, came to Midland Michigan and became Midland’s first High School Band director. I think he started the Midland High Marching Band. To this day, The MHS Marching Band’s half time shows are expertly entertaining. 20 years later (1948) Ted Nicholson retired and founded Midland’s (first) Music Store - (Our local news paper has an article of their announcement of the store opening hand stamped 1948) I run this same music store - which Ted invented - now (2015) and no one realizes - or can remember that this store is Ted Nicholson’s legacy too. More than one music program instigated by him in Midland is still fantastic and he quite possibly single-handedly put us on the map having established quite a kick-start beginning and I must not say that without saying all due respect for all the current music leaders who perpetuate our musical culture.
    I’d like to make a power point presentation for Elementary schools, the local teacher organization, and others featuring Ted and Paul Nicholson in the Timeline, to portray the store’s usefulness and character and history to remind the city. For a small business to stand the test of time, and be 67 years old, this is unusual in this economy and age of technology. I see what this store does for the community members who find it useful but no one else does. And, along with keeping that which is tradition since “Ted’s Music Store”: Ted Nicholson’s brain child, along with that which is still in and with the store, (perhaps some original inventory), plus the years of unique experience and knowledge passed on, which serves the unique needs of students and the teachers, I’m trying to save the store. It’s an Icon and an institution. Some people know this however they are the Grandparents of the parents who have kids who have children who now play instruments and the children’s new music parents are taken care of by the school band directors who are taken care of by the ‘big boy’ stores so the band directors don’t need the local store and the parents don’t need to know about the local music store ‘bursting’ with musical ‘magical’ treasures. This little store is like no other in the world. I’ve been collecting history (from 1978 on). I need to know more of it’s history. It’s future looks more dim every year. It’s the only music store in town currently that provides access to private lesson teachers, their teaching methods, the band, orchestra and string instrument supplies & accessories and, popular sheet music. It serves with the same integrity as a traditional, personal service music store, yet and still, it’s lively-hood and existence is threatened - perhaps because it’s a “nitch” or, specialty store. It’s a music store (renamed “Camp’s Music Center” by Lester Camp who got it from Paul Nicholson in year unknown but estimate 1958) - It was invented by Ted Nicholson. He came to town in circa 1928 and was a Circus Band Director. Midland’s Band Shell is named after Ted Nicholson and is honored. And this is his store, also Midland’s own original music store, and it’s not honored. It’s still here alive and kickin’ as facilitator and supporter and local servant. I’ve got to inform people of the history of their store before it just disappears - and they say why? Lisa@campsmusic.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Jul 2015 - The best quick resource on circus musicians and bandleaders are the Sverre O. Braathen-compiled lists. There are copies of these at Circus World Museum’s library, Illinois State University-Milner Library Special Collections and the Ringling Museum’s Circus Museum. Contact the librarians, archivists or other staff for their assistance. You might also ask the CWM librarian to check their yellow tickets name finding aid for Nicholson entries. They have a few Wixom photographs that could also be checked.
        There’s a reference to Nicholson in the Billboard issue of August 9, 1947, page 102, that seems to suggest he was with the Wixom circus, a long-time Michigan show operation. He was apparently mentioned in an article about circus music in the Detroit News of July 17, 1947.
        Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University has a significant holding of relevant materials. Here’s a link to their web presence: https://www.cmich.edu/library/clarke/ResearchResources/Michigan_Material_Statewide/Circuses_and_Carnivals/Pages/Major-Circus-Families.aspx
        A quick check for Ted Nicholson yielded hits in New York Clipper [on the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections website]: March 27, 1909, p165, bandmaster with “Hans Hanson” Co. playing the Midwest; June 22, 1912, p3, member of Hagenbeck-Wallace big show band, Nicholson in photo; July 24, 1915, p28, banner painter for Bert Cole—maybe a different man of the same name, or painting banners in his spare time?; October 9, 1915, p23, with Hagenbeck-Wallace (being kept busy by Bert Cole); a Ted Nicholson listed with Hugo Players, August 15, 1917, p13.
        You can try and do further searching under the last name Nicholson and also try your hand with Billboard on the Fulton History website. I had 16 hits on Fulton History for “Ted Nicholson.” You can also search with other name variants and words.
        There is photographic and other coverage for Hagenbeck-Wallace 1915 and other tours. Bert Cole’s papers have been widely dispersed in the past through years via many ebay sales. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - I happened to be at the Detroit Library and looked at the July 17, 1947 issue of the Detroit News and found no article on circus music. John Polacsek

    Reply: 30 Jul 2015 - I re-checked Billboard for August 9, 1947, page 102 and it does indeed state, specifically, that the article on circus music to which Wixom was a contributor is in the July 17, 1947 issue of the Detroit News. That much is unambiguous. Several explanations come to mind: the newspaper title is in error; the date (month, day) is in error; both title and date are in error; the article is not part of the document, as preserved; it was missed in the search. In any event, additional and broader searching will likely yield the article, given the specificity of the reference and the less than one month elapsed time between publication and citation. It’s not the first error in a reported reference that obligated a researcher to explore further. There was no correction to the reference in the August 16 issue of Billboard. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 07 Aug 2015 - I rechecked the Detroit News July 17, 1947, George Stark one of the local editor ran a column called Town Talk wrote "Suggestion: I asked for suggestions for Old Timers Day and here's one from Clyde Wixom: "May I respectfully submit for you and band leader director Leonard Smith's approval, "Colossus of Columbia," a favorite circus gem of the 90's. This piece of music was a favorite of Mat Wixom, the old circus man. Ted Nicholson, who now conducts the Midland High School Band, but who was bandmaster with Mat Wixom in those early days will vouch for this." John Polacsek

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4539. Borza family, 19 Jul 2015 - I was in the Ringling Show 1945 with my family. Adriana and Charley, Nita and Peppi. I am wondering if anyone has any film of my father's act called Adriana and Charley. They did a trampoline act where the woman was the underman. I believe they were with Ringling from 1940 through 1945. Also, does anyone have any info on the Gretona's high wire act? La Tosca, Nita and Peppi, the Lopez Trio, Canestrelli, Lalage. I would appreciate any info. Thank you, Nita. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Oct 2015 - Nita, If you are the Nita from Peppi and Nita, I have an 8 1/2 x 11 still of you from the 1947 season on Polack or possibly the following winter dates. I was there with my parents. I'm afraid that the still is not in very good condition but you are welcome to it if you want it. Dorita Durbin Estes

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4538. Jacob Kozelchyk, 15 Jul 2015 - I'm hoping someone can help me, I'm trying to find documentation or references of a Jewish strongman called Jacob Kozelchyk. Kozelchyk was a born in Poland in 1902 and immigrated to Havana Cuba in 1926. Around 1930 he immigrated to the U.S. and allegedly joined a circus that traveled around the U.S., America and probably Europe. He probably was the circus' strongman but also might have been a boxer. I definitely know he arrived with the circus in Poland (probably in Warsaw) in 1938- 1939 where he remained until 1942, when he was taken to Auschwitz by the nazis. If this story sounds familiar to anyone, please contact me at: anna@arbeltelevision.com. Thanks!! Anna Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4537. Les Chameroy, 08 Jul 2015 - Les Chameroy was strongest woman holding a pyramid of men up in circus. Trying to find something on her. She came from Germany when the circus came. Can you find any answers for me. She was on billboards in ct to real long hair in a braid. Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Mar 2016 - My name is Nichole Heimall. My grand father was Robert Chameroy; he just passed away on March 24, 2016. Les Chameroy was my grandfather's grandma. I've been trying to look up any information and pictures of her. I do have a flier for 'The Chameroys' act for the circus but want to find more. If you can help me find more on my great great grandma that would be amazing! Thank you in Advance!

    Reply: 25 May 2016 - I too have been searching for more information on the Chameroy’s and their time in the circus/vaudeville. Nichole, my your grandmother was your grandfather’s sister, Dorothy Hansen. So far I’ve only found records of them in the U.S. census going back to 1880. Their names were Martin Chameroy and Jeanette “Jenny” Chameroy and they lived in Brooklyn. From what I’ve been told, Jenny’s maiden name was “von Beichov” (thats how it’s pronounced anyway), but our cousin Bruce Chameroy seemed to think it was spelled “Bischoff", however I have so far failed to find documented evidence of this or any other spelling. The family name is apparently linked to her father, who as I was told, was a Prussian general, though I cannot verify that either. If you come across anything from this information that I have not yet found, please let me know. Daniel Carson

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4536. Hood, lion tamer, 08 Jul 2015 - Thank you in advance for any information or assistance. I am trying to piece together our family tree and according to family lore, my great-grandfather’s brother was the first lion tamer for Ringling. The only information that I have is the last name of Hood. His brother, my great-grandfather, was born 2/9/1880 in Carter, Kentucky. I have been unable to find anything in my research. Thank you again, Erin Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4535. Eli Layton, 07 Jul 2015 - Eli Layton, also known as William Elijah Layton, joined a circus about 1930 for several years and traveled throughout the US, Canada and Cuba. I’m his daughter, a genealogist, and researching these years of his life. He was born in 1914 in Washington County, GA. When his father died in 1929, he was sent to live with a half-brother to work on his farm. A few months later, probably when my father turned 16, he ran away and joined a circus. It is believed that he was with Barnum Circus but research shows they had already merged with Bailey’s and Ringling Brother’s by this time. One of my brothers stated, “Our father traveled by train while he was with the circus, ran the bumper cars and was a ‘manager of sorts’. His crew supposedly was the fastest at setting up and taking down the ride - in less than 2 hrs.”
    I have several photos of my father during this time; however, none of these pictures reveal the name of the circus; if they do I can’t make it out. A couple of the photos show my father standing in front of a huge sign over his head that reads “MONKEY-T, Main Entrance, 10c to all”. The T is cut off by the frame of the photo. Another photo of an unknown man (possibly Frencie) in front of the same sign reads “-TOW, 10c to all”. Again the frame of the photo cuts off the rest of the word. In the background I can see a sign that may say ‘MONKEY-TOWN’. These photos may have been taken at Shreine Park, LA, which is handwritten on the border of the photo, I think by my mother. On the back I can barely read a stamp from the developer, Majestic Photo Finishers, Beaumont, Tex. It’s hard to make out the smaller print.
    I have a couple of other photos in Houston TX of my father and possibly his crew (no names listed). The top left corner is torn off but I can read a handwritten word, Gang.
    Another photo has written on the top border, “Mary Palack &”, written on the bottom border “Frencie Palmar”. (It’s hard to read the last name.)
    A couple of photos taken in Peoria, IL; one of my father, the other of Frencie. Three photos of my father in Minneapolis and the fairgrounds.
    Another photo has written, “Mirtes Whittney” on top and “Canada” on the bottom border. On the back a note “just a bum whats the diff.” signed Bernie, Jun 30-35, and a developer stamp, McCutchon’s Kodak Service, Edmonton, Alta. And a second photo of “Mirtse Whittney & Brother” in “Canada”, and written on the back a note, “Your old pal, Bern” with the same Kodak Service stamp.
    Another photo of 3 people, written at the top border, (Cookie) Louise Hangshal & Frencie, Jimmie, in Minneapolis, Minn.
    One last photo taken on a beach with a lady, Joan Stone, in a swimsuit and two men in dark business suits in the background; written on the back, Miss Joan Stone, Suite 415, Alexander or Alexandria, the bottom of the photo is torn off.
    I also remember my father talking about a “best friend” during this time that was killed in a motorcycle accident. Because of this, he would never allow my brothers to have one.
    I think my father left the circus about 1935-1938 to go to college, in KY. 1940 Census Records list him at Pewee Valley, Oldham, KY. He met my mother at church and they were married in 1941, in Obion County, TN. I’ve provide this detail list of the photos I have in case there is someone that might have some information to help in my research. I would like to find which circus he was with and any employment documentation I might be able to acquire, if possible. I can be reached at laytongenealogy@hotmail.com. Thank you, S M Layton Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Jul 2015 - Based on the information that you have posted, your father was with a traveling carnival, one moving by special railroad train between engagements. It may have had a circus-type back end show, and other tented attractions, along with the usual mechanical thrill rides and food and game joints, but it was a carnival---not a circus. Dodgem or bumper cars, a Monkey-Town and other aspects also point to that identification. The distances between the various cities, and their population sizes, is pretty good evidence of railroad operations. The “Barnum circus“ identification is inaccurate.
        The best continuum of knowledge about carnivals for the 1930s is the weekly “Billboard” magazine. In published news columns, routes, gossip and other data about the trade. Unfortunately, it’s only online via the paid service at ProQuest, their Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. You can search there for your father’s name, and variations thereon. You might be able to obtain Billboard on microfilm via interlibrary loan, or find it at a major public or university library. That will require the old style cranking and scanning reading. It’s possible that he was with one show for his entire traveling career, or he may have moved around, both circumstances are known.
        The Class A Circuit of Canadian fairs, which included the Edmonton, Alberta fair, was played by these railroad shows: 1926-1929 and 1931 Johnny J. Jones Exposition; 1930 Morris & Castle; 1932-1933 Castle-Ehrlich-Hirsch Shows [formerly M&C]; 1934-1940 Royal American Shows.
        The item postmarked June 30-35, at Edmonton, is the year 1935. It means that your father was with the Royal American Shows [RAS], or an attraction contracted to appear with RAS at that engagement; they had the Edmonton contract in 1935. Larry Banthin’s Monkey Town attraction was with RAS in 1936-1937, and 1942, and possibly in other seasons, too. RAS changed ownership during the war and the old business/employment records are likely destroyed. There’s much online about RAS, which has a broad following.
        The Minnesota State Fair, actually held in Minneapolis, featured these railroad carnivals: 1924-1925 and 1927-1930 Morris & Castle; 1931 Johnny J. Jones Exposition; 1932 Rubin & Cherry; 1933-1940 Royal American Shows. Your father may also have been with RAS when it played the Minnesota State Fair---or perhaps another show.
        I don’t recall that RAS ever played Los Angeles, or Houston or Beaumont, TX, so there’s more to be learned about those locations and how they connect to your father. He may have wintered there, been engaged by another attraction or show, etc.
        There are books by the late Bob Goldsack about Johnny J. Jones and Royal American Shows [with Fred Heatley]. Chris Audibert did a book about Rubin & Cherry. There are various photos of these shows in public and private collections, and much more. The first step is to gain the specific Billboard coverage that places your father on specific shows. That will enable you to focus on other resources and expand his story. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 Jul 2015 - Dear Fred, Thank you so much for your reply to message 4535. You have given me a lot of information and a direction to continue my research on my father. For some reason Royal American Shows (RAS) clicks with my memory. My father didn't want to "glorify" those years by talking about it too much about it. He wanted us kids to get an education and may have had concerns that one of us might follow in his foot steps because we looked up to our father, so we have very little information to go on. Again, thank you for your time and effort. Much appreciated!! S M Layton

    Reply: 27 Jul 2015 - Hi Fred, I found Royal American Shows (RAS) on Facebook and posted a couple of photos. I found they had posted a photo back in Aug 2014 of Monkey-Town so I was quiet happy to find this. Do you know which carnivals would have gone to Cuba? My father mentioned the shows went there as well as Canada, as mentioned in my previous posting. Thank you again for your help. SM Layton

    Reply: 29 Jul 2015 - The big World of Mirth Shows went to the Dominican Republic, but other carnivals going to Cuba are beyond my retained knowledge. I would recommend that you go to Google Books Advanced Search, limit the search to the title “Billboard” and then enter Cuba, carnival and other terms in the relevant search blocks. The search will cover the c1942-1960 period; visits ended with the Communist takeover. You’ll have to go to ProQuest’s site to seek pre-1942 activity; or you might get lucky with some simple online searching. The general searching is tough because “carnival” comes up for the cruise line, celebrations, etc. It might be better to use various show titles in conjunction with “Cuba” to zero in on useful results. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4534. Pinders Circus, 07 Jul 2015 - In 1944/45 a travelling circus visited West Calder. The acts included an armless man who prepared and drank tea, and performing dogs. This information is from a letter from my father who was in the armed forces, to be read to me by my mother. I have several of these letters with drawings. My mother would write to him then he would “pretend” he knew what I had been doing. Could this have been Pinders Circus. I was three at the time. Ario Santini Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4533. Selena, Circassian Queen, 04 Jul 2015 - My name is Merry, and I am from AZ. I have a cdv photograph of a woman labeled "Mlle. Selena, Circassian Queen" by Charles Eisenmann. I know it dates circa 1880s because of the photographer's address on the backmark. Eisenmann wan't there until 1879. I did some hunting around on the New York Clipper in the 1870s and 1880s and found mentions of a Mlle. Selena (Selina, sometimes) Bedar, a Circassian, who traveled exclusively with Sig Sautelle during that period. Almost all of the ads in the Clipper mention Sautelle appearing with Mlle. Selena until I got to 1884, where a clip about Sautelle's "Parlor of Fun" mentions "Ida B. Sautelle, Circassian and snake-act" instead of Mlle. Selena or any other Circassian. My question is this: is it safe to assume that Mlle. Selena and Sautelle's own wife, Ida B. Travers, are likely one and the same? One mention of Sautelle departing Troy, NY, for Glens Falls in 1880 mentions "Santelle [sic] and wife (Circassian)," which is why I would have thought that maybe Selena Bedar was her stage name...I had just never seen anything about her performing with him when I looked him up. Thanks in advance! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4532. Poster list, 24 Jun 2015 - In 1955 Central Show Printing Co in Mason City put out a list to clean their shelves. Paper by them or Riverside sold for dollar a sheet. I was in high school so couldn't afford many but I bought what I could and have seen some of these sell on eBay for several hundred dollars. Does anyone know where a copy of this list might be so that I could get a copy? Thanks, Dave Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4531. Female lion tamer, 23 Jun 2015 - I am trying to find out who was Britain's first female lion tamer. Babbette who performed with Boswell Brothers in 1942 is as early as I can find. But US had a female lion tamer in 1916 and USSR in 1929. Did Britain have a female lion tamer before Babbette? Thanks for any insights you might have. Duq Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Jun 2015 - The "Babbette" you refer to was Helen Boswell, wife of Stanley Boswell of Boswell Brothers Circus. There were many female lion trainers before her, google Adjie, Lady Lion Tamer, 1897 Also look at Claire Heliot Feb. 9, 1866 - Jun. 9, 1953 Celebrated Animal Trainer. She was known as "Claire Heliot and her 12 Lions" and had international fame in England and the USA. At the end of her shows she used to carry her lion "Sascha" across the stage - and the animal weighed 175 kg. In 1907, she was very seriously injured by one of her lions, ending her career. She later bought a farm. During the inflation in Germany, she lost everything. She died poor and nearly forgotten in an old people's home in Stuttgart, Germany - see also http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9D0CE7DD153AE733A2575AC2A9669D946497D6CF. Jim

    Reply: 26 Jun 2015 - I wanted to add that in the travelling menageries in Europe there would have been numerous female wild animal trainers. According to Thomas Frost (The Old Showmen and the Old London Fairs, page 336) Hilton's Menagerie exhibited a 'Lion Queen' in 1839. Hilton's were immediately matched by Ada Chapman appearing at Edmund's Menagerie and Helen Blight at Wombwells. Unfortunately Miss Blight was soon killed by a tiger at Greenwich Fair and the practice of exhibiting "Lion Queens" prohibited for a time. Lorraine ( Laurane) Day, daughter of John Day of Day's Menagerie, trained leopards and was killed by them in the 1870s. My aunt, Maude Chipperfield, was working with a act of Lions and Great Dane dogs on Sedgwick's Menagerie in 1930s. jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 17 Jul 2015 - Don’t forget Mille Carlotta aka Mrs Edgar Daniel Boone, The Lion Queen from the 1880’s to 1890’s performing across Europe, the UK and the US. Here is a poster in theBritish Library Evanion Collection. http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/evanion/Record.aspx?EvanID=024-000004730&ImageIndex=0 Have you also tried searching the British Newspaper Archive? www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. Paul Griffiths

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4530. Robert Webster, clown, 20 Jun 2015 - Wife and children of Robert Webster (Bobo the Clown) killed by drunk driver in 1987.
    I am interested in the piecing together the extended members of Wallenda family.
    The following article states that Robert H. Webster was a clown for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for 22 years, beginning in the 1960s. http://www.mpnnow.com/article/20101213/NEWS/312139881. It states that "In 1970... he married Marie Wallenda of the famous Flying Wallendas high wire troupe. They had two children who followed their father performing as clowns under the big top." It continues to say that on Dec. 16, 1987, his wife and children were killed by a drunk driver, after which, Robert left the circus. Before he died, he performed as Bobo the Clown for sick children in the Naples, NY area.
    What name did Robert use in the circus? Neither "Robert/Bob Webster", nor "Bobo the Clown" seem to match circus records? Who was Marie? Was she truly a Wallenda, or just using the name as a member of the troupe? What were their children's names? Where did their fatal accident occur? Where are they buried? My inability to locate any additional information makes me think they used other names. Does anybody have additional information on this family? I can also be contacted at mollynightingale73 at gmail dot com. Thanks, Molly Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4529. Fred & Frieda Fischer, 14 Jun 2015 - I have a photograph of Fred & Frieda Fischer, the Tallest Married Couple who worked for the Ringling-Barnum show during the 1940's. The caption written in the negative says, "Romeo and Juliett" (sic) "Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey". They are wearing costumes that look very Shakespearean. I believe these costumes were worn when the Fischers appeared in the spec. Can you tell me what year it is or could be? I have been able to determine it is not 1946. Thank you for your help. Best Regards, Chris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 Oct 2015 - I have film of the Fischer's on Ringling in the costumes that you described that would have had to have been late 1940's or early 1950's. Most likely 1951 or 1952. Dorita Durbin Estes

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4528. Rita Mitchell, 09 Jun 2015 - My great-grandmother traveled with one of the circuses in the mid 1920s. She was a Navajo teenage girl with very long hair and of course she was from the Navajo Reservation. She was told to show her long beautiful hair to the world. Her name was Rita Mitchell, but could have been using an alias name. She had a Lakota man as her care giver whom sadly lost his wife as they traveled to New York. She told us stories about her adventure and said they had traveled up the coast all the way to New York. Which circus would have been traveling through Arizona, specifically through the Navajo Reservation around that time frame? If there are any records of her or the care givers name and what he did, I would greatly appreciate it. I am very interested to know if there were photos of her as well. Thank you, Francena Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Jun 2015 - If your Great-Grandmother was on an Indian Reservation in the mid 1920s and traveled with a circus she was probably what was referred to as a "Show Indian". Indians on Reservations were not free to come and go under their own volition. So "Show Indians" were requested by circuses and other entertainment venues. They worked under Government contracts, and were still under Government control and documentation. Finding individuals is not easy. The Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation gave their "Show Indian" files to the National Archives depositary in Kansas City, and I was able to acquire a few copies of request letters and other documents. If you post an email address I will send you some copies. Billie

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4527. Jim Stillman, 05 Jun 2015 - During 1970 I was given a drawing (horse head study) done by an artist named Jim Stillman. This may was hospitalized at the time & told me he had been an artist for Ringling Bros Circus at one time. I am trying to research this fact. Was a man named Jim Stillman associated with paintings done for Ringling from about the 1940s through 1985 or so? If so, please contact me and let me know whether or not this artist was telling me the truth or is this a fiction? Jean C. Wright, Jojevon@aol.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4526. Wheeler Trio, 05 Jun 2015 - My grandfather was George Wheeler. Him and his brothers were the Wheeler Trio, formally the Olmar Trio acrobats. They had an address in Manchester, 21 Elizabeth street, Ancoats. It's seems the sisters later joined the group. I have a few newspaper articles and photos but am unable to find out why the trio changed their name or anything else about them. I am hoping someone can shed some light on this. Regards, Pp Beryl Jacobs Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4525. George Wilson, 03 Jun 2015 - I am trying to locate information on my husband's grandfather, George Wilson, who as born in 1881 in Chicago, put up for adoption as parents were not married and were circus performers, possibly trapeze or arial act that were killed. Would appreciate any information available. I have no idea of parents name as George Wilson is his adopted name. Jan Wilson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4524. Sonny the clown, 01 Jun 2015 - I am researching our family tree and would like to know if anyone remembers my uncle Sonny. He was with Chipperfield's Circus I think. He has sadly passed away now but was performing in the 1950s and 60s. It's possible he may have worked at other circuses. He was a large man with a lovely sense of humour and I would like to find out more about him. I can be contacted at cathy.baker1@btinternet.com. Thank you, Cathy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Jun 2015 - I suggest you to contact the Circus Friends Association of Great Britain. Website: www.circusfriends.co.uk. Ole Simonsen

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4523. Circus fire, 01 Jun 2015 - Why did circus fires break out? (I'm thinking back in history, not current day circuses). Does anyone know any account of a fire in or near Toledo, Ohio? I found a few pictures that approximate this fire but I don't know the date. Best, Jackson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 Jun 2015 - I think your question should be looked at in periods of time. At the turn of the century, on railroad shows, the old journal boxes on the railroad wheels would over heat rather easily and burn a car or cars up. Likewise at the turn of the century, many fires occurred as a result of kerosene lanterns and straw bedding. The most publicized circus fire is without a doubt the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's tragic Hartford, CT fire in 1944 in which the entire Big Top went up in flames killing many. This was as a result of the World War II use of proper waterproofing materials for the military. The tents were then treated with a combination of a fuel and paraffin to coat the canvas. While it was waterproofed, it was also flammable. In the newer eras that have utilized electricity, there have been some electric shorts, grease fires from food cooking and mechanical failures that have set trucks on fire. Hope that helps just a little bit. Bob Cline

    Reply: 04 Jun 2015 - I have a fairly complete clipping collection of circus/carnival articles from the Toledo Times between the years 1906 and 1960. The circus accident articles that were printed in the newspaper included the following - 1944 - Ringling Bros Circus fire in Hartford, Conn; 1942 - Fire sweeps menagerie tent of Ringling Bros Circus at Cleveland, Ohio; 1939 - Gale flattens Carnival Tents of the Dodson World Fair Carnival at Telegraph and Alexis Roads in Toledo; 1917 - Three elephants killed when an elephant car of the Coop & Lent circus was destroyed by fire in Kenton, Ohio. A bottle containing oil used for lighting fell to the floor and ignited the bed clothes of the 24 men living at the other end of the railroad car; 1906 - Panic at circus when tent burns at New Rochelle, New York on May 12 after an exploding gasoline lamp set fire to the main tent. No name of the show in the article, but no one died just a a number of bruises and slight injuries. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 05 Jun 2015 - If you care to do so, please send scans of your images (300dpi is fine), front and reverse, to me at the following address and I’ll have a look at them. If you have any context for the images, or provenance (local scrapbook, other items found with them, etc.), that information may also prove useful. Frederick.Dahlinger@ringling.org. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 30 Jun 2015 - It is possible that you are referring to the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey menagerie fire that happened along the Cleveland lakefront showgrounds on Aug 4, 1942. Although no one was killed in the fire, 40 animals were either killed by the flames or had to be shot after escaping from their cages. - Chris Berry circusposters@gmail.com

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4522. Indian River High, 01 Jun 2015 - My name is Laveta. My daughter was in circus in 1980 on elephant back. She was in early adventure at Indian River High. Do you have that picture. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4521. Poster, Mardi Gras floats, 27 May 2015 - Years ago I donated a large poster to the Circus World Museum containing drawings of horse drawn Mardi Gras floats which were representative of some of the old floats. The poster I donated to the museum disappeared but I saw one in a window in the French quarter of New Orleans. Does anyone have a copy of one of these posters or a drawing of one wagon? Thanks, dick_britton@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 May 2015 - The topic of Mardi Gras floats and posters representing them is covered in Henri Schindler’s books, “Mardi Gras Treasures, Float Designs of the Golden Age” (2001) and “Mardi Gras New Orleans” (1997). Numerous posters with float vignettes are reproduced in the first volume, in particular. Images are also available online, but you’ll need to use augmenting search terms to limit and focus the results. Stuart Thayer published an article that revealed how the 1903 Ringling Egypt float originated with a vignette clipped from one such poster. It’s in Bandwagon, Sept-Oct 1988, 42-43. The 1903 India-themed float was likely cloned from it, with different decorations. W. W. Cole wintered in New Orleans and invoked Mardi Gras influence in some of his publicity materials, as early as 1877, and notably later, in one c1882 lithograph. The Great London did likewise in an 1877 press release and 1879 ads, as did Wallace in 1884 and presumably others. “Mardi Gras” fit into the extended titles of the time, adding a parameter of envisioned grandeur. There were a number of municipal “triumphal” parades akin to the Mardi Gras processions, in Cincinnati, St. Louis and elsewhere, as well as parades that commemorated railroad completions and other civic enterprise. Some of these had an impact on circus spectacles, as revealed in Jennifer Lemmer-Posey’s recent articles on the topic in the Bard Graduate Center and Strobridge Lithograph exhibition companion books. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4520. H Kitto, 27 May 2015 - Does anyone know of a Mr/Mrs/Miss H Kitto who worked in or with a Wild West show that toured the UK in early 1912? I have very ornate leather cowboy outfit that is signed and dated H Kitto on each piece. The outfit consists of a pair of chaps, a poncho and a pair of gauntlets. Any information on H Kitto's role would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, D Couch Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4519. Cornelia jewels wagon, 26 May 2015 - I am drawing a picture of the original Cornelia and her jewels wagon for a plan in the LCW. I am wondering if anyone has a good photo of the wagon. I have a couple of photos but they aren't very good. Thanks. dick_britton@yahoo.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 May 2015 - Dick: There's an article on this wagon and several others in Bandwagon Vol. 3, No. 4, p. 4 (July-Aug 1959). Unfortunately the photo of Cornelia is not very good and may be the one you already have. If not, ask Judy to give you my e-mail address and I'll scan it for you. Dave

    Reply: 28 May 2015 - The subject wagon is one of the six that were assembled or altered by the Barnes wagon shop for the 1922 season, utilizing a cache of carvings acquired from the Bode Wagon Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. They included: tableau #180 with three figural panels between carved trees; tableau #181 featuring a carved elephant; #182 the subject tableau with bas relief figures; #183 white ticket wagon with three arches and figures; and re-decorated air and steam calliopes. The name as stated appears to be another misnomer invented during the early days of circus fans.
        The earliest coverage incorporating a photo is in the wagon history by Joseph T. Bradbury in Bandwagon, July-Aug 1959 [online at: http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1959Jul.htm]. There are images of the tableau in some of the Chang Reynolds articles dealing with the Barnes show 1922-1924, which were published in Bandwagon. These can be found in the online article index [see Jan-Feb 1985; May-June 1985; Sept-Oct 1985]. Editor Pfening also ran a “wedge” shot of the tableau with the 1926 season coverage in the July-August 1986 issue, p14.
        Views of #180 and #181 may also be useful in defining the front and back construction and detailing of the wagon bodies. They were also covered in Bandwagon history articles and miscellaneous views; and there is an extensive history of #181, with gathered illustrations, in the Circus World Museum library files.
        Several principal carvings from the wagon were salvaged when the wagon was dismantled later and these were eventually acquired by Frank Myers of Peoria, IL. He applied them to a small air calliope wagon that he constructed for local parade use. A few detail photographs of them can be found in C. P. Fox’s “Circus Parades” book. The wagon went through a couple auctions in recent times and one or more auction catalogues may illustrate it. It is presumably still in existence; the carvings could be measured to facilitate scaling of side views to define the height and length of the vehicle. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4518. Acrobatic Act c1920, 12 May 2015 - I am wondering if you could possibly point me in a direction to research a traveling trapeze show of Mexican origin c. 1920 (and before). I believe they traveled mostly in Mexico but they might have come into parts of California, particularly in areas that had agricultural worker camps. Any information is appreciated. I don't know the name of the act/show but I do know that 1 performer (in 1920) was in East Highland, San Bernardino Co., CA and gave his usual residence as Juarez, Mexico. I believe his name was Daniel Rodriguez and that he was born abt 1898 in Mexico. Regards, Nora Smith Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4517. Elizabeth Jones, 10 May 2015 - I'm hoping you can help me. I've been looking for information about my grandmother for my father's family tree and she is the only missing link. Her name was Elizabeth "Betty" Leona Jones, DOB 12/25/1931 in Waco TX, daughter of Mary Alice Pigg and John Paul Jones. She was said to have been put in an orphange with her 2 siblings when her mother died during childbirth and ther father disappeared (a sea captain). She was then apparently married at 14 to a John Saunders and had her first child John Saunders in 1947 at age 16. At that time it is rumored she was an employee of a traveling circus, from what we can figure a possible showgirl and the way she made it from TX to VA/MD where she met her 2nd husband in 1955. She had 4 more childern between 1947 and 1955, possibly while on the cirus route. Ancestry.com can't even locate her or her parents, and the state of Texas has beeb uncooperative in helping, since I am not her, which is impossible since she died in WV in 1992 with the name Elizabeth Leona Dasher. Is there anyway I can search members of the circus during the 1940s or can you help with that. Thanks, Erin Dasher Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 May 2015 - There’s a paucity of employment records for traveling shows of the 1940s and 1950s. The shortfall is filled to some degree by the rosters and gossip that were published in the pages of the weekly trade journal “Billboard.” It has been digitized and available with key word searching on Google Books Advanced Search. Google for that heading; in the title block enter “Billboard” and in the search terms use as many different variations on the names you know. Perhaps you’ll get a hit. The available coverage runs 1942 to 1960. Many people confuse circus and carnival, so be open in your approach to her traveling show affiliation(s). If you know of any geographic locations for your grandmother, you might also examine them in the context of being a show winter quarters facility. It’s possible to look at show routes, in the route information published in Billboard, and discern one that may have extended from Texas to the tidewater area; if you can establish the show identity, that may open up other avenues of investigation. The US census for 1940 is now available; have you checked it? If all efforts come to naught, seek the talents of a professional genealogist or support group that can offer additional guidance. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4516. Mary Johnson, 05 May 2015 - I am looking for information on Mary Johnson. She was with a circus sometime between 1910-1930. She was a bareback rider. She had three sons Bernard, Patrick and Michael. Bernard was born in Philadelphia. She had possible kinfolk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Any info email: evangm77@aol.com. David Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2015 - Your query appears to be related to this posting on a genealogical website: http://boards.ancestry.com/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=2286&p=surnames.johnson. The data there, if interpreted correctly, provides a birth year of 1887 for Mary Johnson, which is said to be both her maiden and married name. Her husband was identified as Joseph Johnson, also born 1887. Most of this comes from a birth certificate for their oldest son, Bernard (your father), who was reported as born January 24, 1915, at 1123 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia (now a depressed commercial area). There were two later sons named Michael and Patrick, birth years unknown, probably before 1931, when the three boys were possibly retrieved from, or present at a Philadelphia orphanage. The postings are a bit unclear, but I believe I have it mostly correct.
        Given the dates, and ages for performers, it would seem that Mary Johnson could have been in the ring sometime between the very late 19th century and circa 1915-1930. There is no listing for a Mary Johnson in Slout’s biographical dictionary of circus people, “Olympians of the Sawdust Circle,” which includes most significant performers of the 19th century; nor is there a hit for the name in the New York Clipper, 1853-1923; nor anything suitable in Billboard 1894-1922 or 1942-1960; nor any pertinent entry in Draper’s online equestrian resource. I looked at every entry for a woman named Mary in Draper’s research and found no one suitable time-wise.
        The only remote possibility of a connection was a listing for “Johnson, Frank & Mary,” in the letter list of Billboard, August 18, 1956, page 97. Who they may have been is not discernable.
        A Harry B. Truax, railroad ticket agent, is in the 1920 census, age 28, married to Genevieve, age 25, daughter Dorothy E, age 3-9/12. He’s also in the 1930 census (occupation supt. Construction) and the 1940 census, age 48, born c1892, asst. supervisor/assistant project sup., resident in Atlantic City, NJ, married to wife Genevieve, age 45, daughter Dorothy, age 24. The 400 block of Melrose Avenue was their location for all entries. Harry B., a railroad clerk, was the eldest son of William B., a railroad night watchman, and Beula Truax, who are in the 1910 census. Whether he’s your Harry Truex link I cannot discern; there’s no specific hit for a Truex in the Atlantic City area.
        It’s possible that Mary Johnson was a minor performer, a walk-on, an apprentice, a limited time employee, served under an unknown stage name, or bore a name other than [Mary] Johnson; or perhaps her role in the circus was something actually accomplished in the world of the carnival or another performance field, doing an act that some recalled as bareback riding. Without some additional information I don’t know of another course of investigation to pursue. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4515. Hagenbeck-Wallace, 03 May 2015 - I have two questions regarding the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. It is said that it close in 1938. My questions are, when in 1938 did it close, at the end of the season or before? And was there any warning or advance notice to the employees about the closing, and if so about when? Thanks for your help. Best Regards, Chris Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2015 - The early closure of the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus in 1937 and 1938 was for various reasons. In 1937 the show closed at Austin, Texas on November 8 due to the tick disease quarentine in South Texas, and was shipped back to Peru, Indiana. In 1938 there are two similar stories why it closed in Riverside, California on September 20. As there were only two route cards issued for the entire season and documentation comes from the notes on the typed route sheets that historians have done. "Show closed unexpectedly at Riverside due to poor business. The following towns were billed but cancelled - Sept 21 - Alhambra, Calif; Sept 22 - Whittier, Calif; Sept 23 - Santa Ana, Calif; Sept 24. - 25 San Diego, Calif. Equipment was stored at Baldwin Park, Calif." The second typed route sheet notes that "Show closed at Riverside. Was billed up to San Diego Sept. 25th, but attachments and foreclosure on tents, etc. prevented the show going any farther." You might check the Billboard but the show was planning on a two day stand in San Diego, Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 06 May 2015 - Circus Historian Joseph T. Bradbury covered the 1938 tour of Hagenbeck-Wallace with articles in two issues of the CFA journal White Tops, Nov-Dec 1969 and Jan-Feb 1970. The show faced financial problems already in June, when Mickey King left over a salary dispute—either a requested reduction or lack of payment. Bradbury indicated that the show was behind on salaries, owing to a rainy series of Canadian dates and the generally poor economy in North America.
        Howard Y. Bary, the show operator, staged a general meeting, apparently in early July, at which time he bargained with his employees to keep the show going. With job opportunities so limited, presumably most employees went along with what he offered for compensation. The carrot dangled out front was the anticipation of better business as the show moved towards the west coast. The year 1938 was a real nadir during the Depression; Ringling-Barnum closed early owing to union problems and Cole closed early because of poor business, as did others. For some employees, their last paycheck was received in July. From then on the show was on borrowed time as any number of filings or pending legal actions could have brought it down. Keeping the show on tour was in the best interest of everyone, other than those who would lose money for uncompensated products or services. For the latter, if they received room and board in the form of a bunk in a sleeper and a seat in the dining top they were ahead of funding it from their own pocket. They also had the ability to travel until reaching a community that might offer employment prospects.
        For the wiser employees, no formal notice needed to be served that their employment was on borrowed time; it was evident from July onwards. Operations were finally ceased at Riverside, CA on September 20. The route was to have continued thereafter, with a date in San Diego on Sept. 24-25, and presumably more after that time, given the hospitable weather in California and the southwest. Joe usually based his writings on entries he found in Billboard and issues of White Tops, supplemented with correspondence with show veterans and others. His work has generally stood the test of time very well. You can re-visit his sources, as well as checking newspaper coverage along the route. The accumulated documentation for some of his writings are filed in the Circus World Museum library. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 09 May 2015 - I would like to thank the Gentlemen who replied to my request for information regarding the closing of the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus. The references to the the White Tops articles was also much appreciated. Chris

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4514. Lion tamers, 30 Apr 2015 - Is there any circus lion tamers that is born in the 1950s and is born in the European countrys and has a mustache and has black hair or brown hair it doesn't matter and has a deep baritone voice and has a European country accent and is big and strong and wears a safari uniform and use whips,chairs and blank shooting pistols and wrestles with lions and tigers and sticking their head in the lions jaw and lions and tigers jumping threw hopes and fire and walking tight ropes and standing in pyramids and leap in the air and stand on their hind legs and trainers ride lions and tigers like a horse and does other circus acts and other acts and lions and tigers running threw tunnels into steel arenas and keeping lions and tigers in steel bar cages and whatever so are those kinds of lion tamers still living or are they dead are they dead or alive write me back and let me know. Thank you, from, Lucas j. Walker Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 May 2015 - The last act that I saw that resembles your inquiry would have been Larry Allen Dean working a James Clubb lion act on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus many years ago. Larry had the thick mustache, khaki jungle type outfits and his lions were roaring the entire time. A Whip, Chair and blank gun hasn't been used in the United States since Dave Hoover stopped performing in 2001. Both of these acts used the large pedestal jumps through the fire hoops. I can't think of anyone in a European Circus that used the Clyde Beatty style of performing with the whip cracking, chair and blank shooting guns. Neither of these acts wrestled with their animals. Larry has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/larry.a.dean.5. Dave Hoover has passed away. Bob Cline

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4513. Dawson, GA, 29 Apr 2015 - My grandmother told me of a circus or carnival worker that died performing a stunt on a bicycle in Dawson Georgia. This would have been in the late 1800s or early 1900s. She told me that they buried him at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Dawson instead of returning his body home. I find this so sad and years later I still think of him. Do you have any info? Laurie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Apr 2015 - I found the answer to your query in posting 763 of this message board: "Charles T[homas] Honneus, a Bicyclist known as "Cyclone" . . . was killed in an accident in Dawson, Georgia on Friday, February 24, 1909 while performing his act with the Cosmopolitan Carnival Company." The accident took place on Thursday, the 25th; the death date was Saturday, February 27, 1909.
        A complete account of Honneus's death can be read on www.fultonhistory.com; in the search block enter "Cyclone 1909 'Dawson Georgia.'" The article is "Gap Rider." The people of Dawson demonstrated their Christian virtues to the traveler and the entire show company, providing for a place for his body until the service, a church service (a collaborative effort by the Baptists and Methodists) and local internment. The article makes several poignant remarks about the sadness that fell over the show, and the community where the mishap occurred.
        "Cy," as he was known, was just 26, a native of Boston, married only four months prior to Flossie White of Urbana, IL, in a ceremony at Bardwell, KY. Surprisingly, a search of Cedar Hill internments, found online, has no entry for Honneus. Perhaps his grave is unmarked, or part of a plot under a different name?
        Honneus gained a US Patent, 798,102, for an apparatus termed "leaping the letter S." It was applied for and received in 1905, when he was a resident of Neponset, Massachusetts. It was assigned to Barnum & Bailey, Ltd., the stock company formed by James A. Bailey. From an elevated platform he went into an inverted position and then leaped a gap before entering a curve that returned him to terra firma. During the descent and the inversion, the bicycle was restrained against the track by means of a fixed guide system.
        It seems to have been inspired by L'Auto Bolide, which employed a similar inversion path with an automobile. There is much to be read and seen about that apparatus. The Honneus patent can be examined online; http://www.google.com/patents/US798102. It's one of the few such acts not mentioned in Fred D. Pfening's summary article on the topic of loop the loop acts in Bandwagon, May-June 1969. One patent witness was William Ed. Honneus, a presumed relative. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, "The Ringling, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4512. Janice Deveree, 28 Apr 2015 - I'm looking for information on my 5th great aunt who was in the circus. Don't know the circus name. It would have been in the late 1880s. Her name was Janice Deveree from Bracken county, Ky. She died in 1884. She was the bearded lady. Her beard was 14 inches long. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Apr 2015 - “Madame” Devere (also De Vere and other spellings) passed away at Oelwein, Iowa, on June 18, 1912, age 53 (also given as 57), from a brief, three-day illness instigated by heart trouble. At the time she was traveling with the James Patterson Shows, a well-known railroad carnival out of Paola, Kansas. Upon her passing, the booth she occupied in the Patterson side show was draped with black, with a bouquet of flowers in a vase set upon a table wrapped with a black ribbon and bow. Her kindnesses towards others were recalled after her death. [Billboard, June 29, 1912, p42; New York Clipper, July 6, 1912, p21] Her remains were interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Oelwein after the obsequies were conducted at the Winder Rooming House, where she had been taken and expired after being stricken. Reportedly her grave is unmarked.
        Her first name and initial, Mary A., were given in her obituary in the local newspaper, the Oelwein (IA) Register of June 20 and 26, 1912. The name of Annie was reported for her in 1886, after an appearance at the new dime museum opening in Springfield, Ohio. [Clipper, December 11, 1886, p612] Perhaps Anne or something similar was her middle name, and the familiar “Annie” commonly used by family and friends? But, we question the accuracy of “Annie”; Annie Jones was then a popular bearded lady and there may have been confusion in the 1886 reporter’s mind. There was also a stage actress named Annie Devere, contemporary to Madame Devere.
        She was said to be born in Bracken County, Kentucky, circa 1855, or 1858, based upon her age at death. Her parents were reported as being Hebrew and French. Whether this information is correct cannot be ascertained at this time. Bracken County is rural, lying along the south bank of the Ohio River, southeast of Cincinnati.
        It was said that her public career lasted 40 years, starting at age 17 (circa 1872). The earliest entry we have found, for “Mme. De Vere,” is dated 1879. She was then appearing in a modest side show operated by George Poole and Frank Willis in Columbus, OH. This would have been when she was nominally age 24. It’s not clear if she was simply a protégé and had assumed his name, or was already the wife of J. W. Devere. Fundamentally, it is unusual, but not impossible, that they shared the same last name. One would surmise that her “maiden” name was something other than Devere. [Clipper, July 12, 1879, p127.] Frank E. Willis was the proprietor of the proposed Great Atlantean Circus that he attempted to organize in St. Louis in 1878. Nothing is known of Poole.
        The references to Madame Devere start in earnest in the mid-1880s, after she appeared at Herzog’s Dime museum in Baltimore. [Clipper, January 19, 1884, p748]. Where Devere spent her time between her reported start in circa 1872 and 1883, other than for the one 1879 engagement remains a mystery. In 1886 she was billed as the “Kentucky Bearded Lady,” and reportedly at times as the “Kentucky Wonder.”
        She was in the circus trade by 1884, when she was with the Sells Bros. circus, per a route book listing. The show was associated with the same city, Columbus, Ohio, where she’d appeared in 1879. The following year she was in the cast of [James T. ] Johnson, Simpson & Co.’s Circus and Museum, which opened in Glen Elder, Kansas on July 25, 1885. It wasn’t a superior booking, but it was managed by her husband, “Prof. De Vere. [Clipper, August 1, 1885, p312] De Vere also had skill as a magician.
        It was said that she visited Australia with the Sells Bros. (1891-1892); route books confirm that and a presence on Sells in the summers of 1891 and 1892. At her demise it was claimed that she had toured Europe with Barnum & Bailey (late 1897 to 1902), but there’s no confirmation in Barnum & Bailey documentation for her presence. She was with Campbell Bros., circus out of Fairbury, Nebraska in 1905-1906, the first year J. W. Devere reported as a ticket seller. There’s also a listing of Madame Devere on Yankee Robinson, Fred Buchanan’s Iowa-based circus in 1908. Between these summer traveling engagements and during other seasons Devere did bookings in dime museums, carnival sideshows and elsewhere.
        Some considered her the original bearded lady, a claim that is invalid, unless protected by some restrictive definitional criteria. There were a number of bearded ladies contemporary to her (Annie Jones, Mme. Squires, Mlle. Myers, etc.), and others that preceded her. It was said that her beard reached her waist, but no formal measurement of the purported length was given. Michael Mitchell’s book “Monsters of the Gilded Age,” (1979), page 92, mentions an 1884 measurement, but no reference was provided. Perhaps the Sells show staged some public event, but it wasn’t mentioned in the route book and could not be located in a newspaper search.
        The bearded lady married Capt. J. W. Devere on October 8, 1883, according to her Oelwein obituary. Presumably her birth name wasn’t Devere. Where and how they met, and where they were married is unknown. J. W. Devere, after a 42-year career with side shows, dime museums and carnival companies, lived out his days at the poor farm at Albany, GA. He mentioned being with Batcheller & Doris when Johnny Patterson clowned with it (1881), also serving as an extra card on the Sells Bros. outfit during the New Orleans exposition (1884 World Industrial and Cotton Exposition). The first is possible; the second almost assuredly correct, Annie Oakley was then with the troupe. [Billboard, November 25, 1916, p21]
        Five card photos of Madame Devere, sold as souvenirs, can be seen here: http://www.sideshowworld.com/81-SSPAlbumcover/Beard/Lady.html, with some of these duplicated at: http://www.nkyviews.com/bracken/bracken_county_folks.htm One includes her husband, whom some have termed “Bill.” We’ve not seen the name in a primary record, but perhaps his middle name was William?
        A prior CHS message, 266, inquired about a bearded lady named Jane Devere. Her birth year has been given as 1842, the location as Brooksville, KY, which is in Bracken County. Mitchell, Bogdan and many others who have used their words without question or verification have given the same data. They also place her on the same post-1900 shows as Madame Devere; Campbell and Yankee Robinson. A search for any period mention of a Jane Devere came up empty. Unless Mary A. “Annie” Devere is “Jane” Devere, it’s another example of the many factual fallacies that corrupt so much of side show personality “history.” I would surmise that the Janice Deveree name and 1884 death are either incorrect, or pertain to another person; or may be a case of blended identity. A more remote possibility is that there were two bearded ladies named Devere, a hypothesis that the primary record doesn’t support.
        After considerable time spent exploring the story of Mary A. Devere, one comes to the realization that little is readily found about her life that is certain. In that regard, her private life is like that of many side show personalities, who lived out their existence behind the shield of a publicly-promulgated biography that aggrandized their existence. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4511. Minting the Marvel, 25 Apr 2015 - I'm trying to trace information about a famous unicyclist, known as Minting the Marvel. He seems to have been known as Albert or Alfred Minting, but I believe that his real name was Alfred Henry Martin, born in England. He performed throughout the World in the early 1900s, and was associated with Forpaugh and Sells. There is a poster featuring him on his corkscrew tower. There were many performances in the USA. Please can you let me know how I can find more information about him, for example whether he died performing his act and when. Many thanks, Bob Minting Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Apr 2015 - Circus performers have always pushed the envelopes of daring, speed and height in their efforts to continually amaze audiences with their practiced prowess in and above the ring. In the case of Minting the Marvel, he combined the elements of height and balance with a recently advanced and improved form of vehicular technology---the bicycle. Circus audiences saw acts like the Stirk family doing their ground-level tricks on elevated stages between the rings, but adventuresome performers realized that greater thrills would be had by taking their wheeled devices high into the air. Elevated unicycle and bicycle acts reached the tops of the big tops and also fulfilled bookings at street fairs, agricultural fairs, amusement parks and carnivals. Their presentations were aggrandized in special lithographs, handbills, couriers and newspaper advertising. They rode across tight wires strung between center poles, of from the ground to the top of a pole; down smooth and ladder or stairway-like inclines at reckless speeds; leaped gaps upright and circled loops while inverted; raced around inside spheres and silos on the ground and elevated in the air; and ascended and descended spiral ramps and traversed elevated narrow platforms. If the clever mind could conceive it, there were initial presentations and variations as others copied the act.
        The story of Albert H. Minting, as his name was given in one source, varies in different accounts. One says he was born in Adelaide, Australia, the son of British parents, who returned to the island nation when he was three months old. It was his father who made him his first bicycle, “a little ten inch machine,” which he started to ride at age three. After gaining a conventional bicycle, Minting the Marvel reportedly made his debut as a trick bicyclist in 1879. In an era when bicycling became one of the rages of the era, he decided that he needed something to set himself apart and above other trick cyclists. He started out with a modest spiral but proceeded to have one fabricated that stood 45 feet tall. It cost 600 British pounds. His first booking was at the Agricultural Hall, during the run of “Arcadia.” Though he performed in the British Isles, his favorite domain was the USA, where he appeared 1901-1913. [The Showman, January 3, 1902, pp270-271, which includes a half tone of his spiral ascension apparatus.]
        An unidentified account from c1902 [probably “Illustrated Arena”] stated he was born in London, his father an English acrobat, claimed as the first to ever ride a unicycle. (The claim is disputed and hasn’t been confirmed.) Minting followed in his father’s steps at age ten. His mother was a descendant of French circus performers. The idea to ascend a spiral ramp reportedly came to him after an engagement he fulfilled in Circus Salmonski, in Moscow, Russia. He returned home, consulted with his father and proceeded to have his initial apparatus constructed. He took it to the European continent, appearing for a year at a Parisian indoor circus and three years elsewhere before going back to London. He appeared there at the London Aquarium for three years and seven months, doing two turns a day. [http://www.proteanpaper.com/scart_results.cgi?comp=howiebik&framed=0&part=1st%20Unicyclist&scat=1&scatord=desc&scatall=no&skey=norm&srkeyall=&srkeywords=&srcateg=000000000000000423]
        His cycle was indeed unconventional; it was nothing more than a single bicycle wheel with an offset pedal attached to both sides; there was no seat for him to rest his weight upon, his mass was all taken by his legs onto the pedals. Depictions show him having a fork with a handle affixed to the axle, essentially serving as a tiller, so that the wheel could be steered during the ascent. His balance and shifting of body weight alone didn’t accomplish the piloting of the wheel. Minting’s track tapered from bottom to top. The changing diameter increased the difficulty of both the ascent and descent as he had to constantly adjust his turn radius; a fixed radius track would have been easier to navigate.
        Minting the Marvel appeared as a special attraction with the Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros. Enormous Shows United, the third-largest railroad circus, during their 1901 and 1902 engagements at Madison Square Garden and subsequent road tours, and the season of 1903. They were place-holding for the Barnum & Bailey show, which was then in Europe. Amongst the abundant aggrandizing phraseology on a lithograph portraying his act was the statement “The Apex Of Equilibric Effort.” http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2013/08/12/frame-frame-the-spiral-unicycle-ascensionist-shelburne-museum/ZUhgoIxb0QXsI8uzLdb67K/story.html It was an era of thrill acts. See message 4449 on this message board for more on the general topic.
        In a mid-1901 advertisement seeking engagements, Minting the Marvel proclaimed that his bicycle ascension spiral reached the bottom chord of the Madison Square Garden roof structural steel, at a height of 58 feet. With a declared spiral height of 54 feet, it was considerably higher than the 25 to 30-feet of his competitors. Ascending at one end, he then traversed a 16” wide plank some 100-feet long and descended by means of another spiral. [New York Clipper, July 20, 1901, p451] His apparatus was then said to weigh six tons, which seems to be an exaggeration. Other ads stated he did his act in France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Russia and elsewhere.
        A 1902 Billboard issue reported his death at Racine, WI, as the result of a fall from his apparatus. The show engagement date was August 29, 1902. It was later reported that he fell again, on October 31, 1902, at Albany, Georgia. He busted several ribs and sustained other injuries in a fall from the top. Billboard wouldn’t stand behind the report, given the previous reporting error.
        Presumably it was Minting (and less likely someone that took on his identity and act) who fulfilled engagements with Forepaugh-Sells in 1903; at White City amusement Park, Chicago, and the Ohio State Fair in 1905 [photo--http://digital-collections-prod.columbuslibrary.org/cml_item_viewer.php?cobj=1&CISOROOT=/memory&CISOPTR=13338&REC=6]; Dominion Park, Montreal, in 1906; the Trenton, New Jersey fair and at Happyland, Staten Island, NY in 1907; Lakeside Park, Dayton, Ohio in 1908; West Point, Mississippi in 1909; and at Janesville, Wisconsin in 1913. Nothing was reported of him thereafter. He may have returned to England, or enjoyed the privacy of his retirement in the US.
        Leonati, a British performer advertised as a Frenchman, preceded Minting by doing a spiral ascension inside the Great Forepaugh Show big top in 1882-1883. He was said to be the world’s only spiral ascensionist at that time. It was stated as being a 50-foot ascent, which might have been a slight exaggeration. The length of a big top center pole at the time was absolutely no more than the length of a 60-foot flat car; his apparatus likely reached somewhat over forty feet. Whatever the height, a fall was bound to cause serious injury, and it is known that he fell at least once in England and once in 1883. His ramp was reported as a foot wide. Leonati’s apparatus was illustrated in show publicity materials, depicted as the central support type with a single pole. There are mentions of “four poles” in the route book, suggesting a segmented pole that could be made shorter or higher, as performance conditions dictated. Bad weather usually forced cancellation of Leonati’s act under the big top. One time he had to abandon his bike at the top, after a storm hit the show. He was styled the “Gymnastic Autocrat of Aerial Art,” at which time he was paid $350 per week. His vehicle was a high wheel bike, with a small diameter trailing wheel, which he pedaled up and down the incline. http://yesterdaystowns.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html and http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/evanion/Record.aspx?EvanID=024-000002214&ImageIndex=0 Ricky Jay’s inspiring book, “Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women,” illustrates an act similar to Leonati’s accomplished by a performer named Leonce. He had fires placed periodically along the edges of the spiral pathway, to further threaten his life, and increase the thrill of the viewing.
        Among contemporary competitors for Minting’s style of presentation were Lionel Legare and Achille Philion, who foot-pedaled globes up and down a tapered spiral incline. Philion also appeared with Forepaugh-Sells at one time. Photos of both can be found online and elsewhere. They were preceded by Ethardo in 1865 and later Etienne Buislay. Lepere (1879) and LaRoche (by 1897) later did a similar sphere up a spiral act, but they were inside the globe! Ricky Jay has additional commentary about them.
        No name other than Albert H. Minting was discovered, nor was any mention found of his post-1913 existence. This suggests that you’ll need to pursue genealogical, immigration, census, naturalization and other records for confirmation of that name or other aliases, and his basic existence. You might start with www.ancestry.com, Ellis Island documentation, etc. red Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 May 2015 - Thank you very much for your reply. I have seen some of these references before, but many are new to me, and anyway it is useful to have the story set out in one place.
        We have searched for genealogical records for Albert H Minting (born 1875) in the UK, USA and Australia, but with no positive results. However we have found records of Alfred Henry and Berti Minting travelling from British ports to New York between 1900 and 1905. From their declared ages, their years of birth are approximately 1875 and 1880, and they describe themselves as Bicyclists or Artistes. Also, there is a record of a registration card for the US army in 1918, for Alfred Henry Minting (1875) - and this importantly states that his nearest relative is his father Frederick Minting with and address in Great Yarmouth. A 1911 census record shows this address occupied by a Frederick Martin and his wife Mary Ann, and a 1881 census record shows the Martin family including four brothers Frederick, Alfred (1875) Richard and Berti (1880) in Aston Warwickshire. The Marvel did claim to have performed with his brothers from an early age. There is also a record of him writing from Norfolk in 'merry England'.
        There is also a reference (on a website devoted to Norfolk Inns) to a 'Frederick Martin (as F Minting)' being the landlord of the Fishing Boat pub in Great Yarmouth around 1900. This is, I believe, Alfred's eldest brother, who I have now found moved to Canada with a large and growing family. Frederick, his father, was the landlord of the Canterbury Inn in Great Yarmouth, also around 1900. So I think that Albert H Minting was in fact Alfred Henry Martin. The mystery now is how he came to chose his stage-name.
        Our family does have several Albert Mintings, and one was of a similar age to the Marvel. We have recently discovered a professional photograph of our Albert with his family that can be dated to approximately 1915. On the back it says that the photo was taken in Great Yarmouth! This is too late for Alfred to have met our Albert and adopted his name, but maybe he met him earlier, say in the 1890s. A further coincidence is that a later census shows that the Marvel's parents to have had another younger son, William or Willie Martin, who became a photographer known as 'Little Bill the Postcard King' in Great Yarmouth, with a studio at the very same address that was on the Marvel's US army registration card. And in another census we find William with his wife in Wrexham, describing themselves as 'fair people and showmen'. It would be good to identify any living descendants of the Martin family, in the hope that they may be able to add more to the story of Minting the Marvel. Bob Minting

    Reply: 15 May 2015 - You might try searching “The Era,” the British show trade paper, which is now available online at British libraries and elsewhere. The subsequent “World’s Fair” hasn’t been microfilmed, as far as I know, and must be consulted in hard copy. There’s also “The Showman,” about which you’ll need to consult British resources for existence and accessibility. There are also various continental showmen’s trade journals, most of which haven’t been made more readily available.
        Discovery of interviews with Minting in newspapers, British, American and continental, might be the best remaining resource as to the “why” questions. Sometimes technical journals, like Scientific American, covered mechanical thrill acts; similarly, bicycle industry trade journals might have commented upon unusual “wheel” applications.
        Contact with the National Fairground Archive at Sheffield University might also prove useful. The good folks at “no fixed address” might have some additional ideas for searching. Compiling all of the growing body of data into a linear chronology will establish what is known and what is not, and suggest possible answers and links. Be sure to include supporting references, as there will likely be conflicts and a need to go back and re-evaluate each account. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 May 2015 - Dear Mr Stacey. Thank you very much for this interesting information. It shows that Alfred Martin was using the name Minting from at least 1894 (when he was 19), albeit as 'The Great' rather than 'The Marvel' And the tower gets higher in every report! Maybe it was 70ft measured along the ascending track. I think my next line of research needs to be the Aquarium in London, do you know of any contacts that I could write to in connection with the history of that venue, please?
        I think that I have made some more progress towards confirming that Minting the Marvel was actually Alfred Martin. I followed the link that you gave me regarding Leonati's bikes http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/evanion/Record.aspx?EvanID=024-000002214&ImageIndex=0 Below the Summer Gardens programme, are some notes about where his bicycles were made. It mentions Aston Park in Birmingham, and I immediately recognised this as the place where I had found the Martin family in the 1881 census. I then 'googled' Palmer Brothers and came up with http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1875_Bicycle_and_Tricycle_Manufacturers and saw Hawkins and Co at 55 Lister Street. The Martins lived at 57 Great Lister Street! So the Martins were living very close to two bicycle manufacturers in 1881, when Alfred Martin was 6 years old and 'Minting the Marvel' was said to be learning to ride unicycles. His father may even have been working for one of them. He calls himself an ironmonger. Ironmongery originally referred, first, to the manufacture of iron goods.
        Leonati may even have been known to the Martins and introduced them to the Forepaugh Circus, and indeed may have been an example to Alfred to go by a stage name (as Leonati was said to be French, adopted an Italian name and was said to be British). There are several similarities including the spiral tower. Was that made in Aston also, I wonder?
        I lose track of the Martins in 1891 census, and assume that they were on tour (as Martins or Mintings?). But by 1901 both Fredericks (the Marvel's father and his eldest brother) have settled in Great Yarmouth as Innkeepers. Alfred and Berti (another brother) start travelling to New York, both using the name Minting. What I would like to know is if they ever performed as Martins, and if so when they adopted the name Minting. Bob Minting

    Reply: 22 May 2015 - With the help of a contact in Norfolk, we have found a reference in a Trade Directory - Kelly's Norfolk 1908, to Frederick Martin, cycle manufacturer, 87 South Market Road, Great Yarmouth. So it would seem that the father (who we had previously tracked to Great Yarmouth) of the person we believe was Minting the Marvel, was making bikes, at least in 1908. As the family had previously lived in Aston, Birmingham (a centre for bicycle manufacturers in the late 1880s), this does support the claim by the Marvel that his father made his first bicycle. I believe that the first attempts at unicycling were when cyclists with Penny Farthings found that they could balance for a time just on the large front wheel, by lifting the small back wheel off the ground. If Frederick had experimented by building a Penny Farthing without a back wheel at all, and succeeded in riding it, then again the Marvel's claim that his father was the first unicyclist would in theory be true (even if he wasn't performing to an audience at the time). Grateful if anyone has any further information. Bob Minting

    Reply: 26 May 2015 - Establishing “the first” is a very tricky and often elusive matter as it involves evolution and re-definition, and challenges the limitations of surviving documentation. In some cases the analysis of conflicting arguments gets as far as sustaining both competing counter-claims, with final resolution precluded by the absence of a requisite pivot-point fact.
        Though the means of communication today are orders of magnitude greater today, word of mouth supplementing of the printed word likely provided a good means to learn of others who were at the cutting edge in various developments in the 19th century. There’s always been anxiousness to share, and to garner fame. It’s another complicating factor in ascertaining “the first,” along with the determination of who influenced who. The remaining printed record often doesn’t reveal initial presentations, because they are obscure or tentative, nor who learned what fact at a particular time and if it was before or after another pioneer. It then becomes a matter of sorting through the conflicting claims made at a later date. In that time, there wasn’t concern about someone hopping on the internet to check the coverage for the advance claimed. Our contemporary analysis is therefore confined by the record, and what it says, rather than being able to access absolute knowledge.
        Exactly how does one define “unicycle” and has the definition evolved over time? Is it any single-wheeled apparatus supporting a rider? Are two eccentrically offset pedals, one on either side of the wheel, also part of the definition? If it involves additional features it becomes a point of discussion and re-definition.
        The single Minting illustration cited above shows a hand-held tiller connected to the wheel shaft to facilitate balance and steering. The “common” unicycle of today has a seat atop a shaft-mounted post to serve the same purpose. Each design has a different mode of rider operation, Minting using the arms, the other using the legs, to “connect to the shaft. I suspect there’s significance of some sort in the variation. Did Minting go on to devise and use a single wheel apparatus with a seat, or is the design nuance irrelevant for “the first”? If Minting’s apparatus remained unchanged, it presumably leaves the matter of the single wheel with a weight-bearing seat used for guidance and balance to be discovered.
        The Minting apparatus, given a second wheel and an inside platform in place of outside pedals, as well as advanced dynamic control, is an underlying element of the Segway, which had a debut in 2001. Abstracted to essential elements, the two are quite similar, but with Minting being the personal “advanced dynamic controller.”
        Your hypothesis of progress from a penny farthing tilted forward to Minting’s form of unicycle is “rational.” The key element in that evolutionary step forward is the use of the handlebars as a steering and balance “tool,” with no use of the seat for similar purposes. That seems to resonate with the Minting apparatus representation. The place to look for confirmation would be riders that “hot dogged” with their two-wheeled conveyances, just as they have in subsequent years with anything that moves, be it autos, skis and snowmobiles. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 01 Jun 2015 - Thank you for your reply. I wasn't trying necessarily to prove that The Marvel's father was the first unicyclist, but merely that it could have been a reasonable claim if he had experimented with a one wheeled machine before unicycles were manufactured for sale. So much of what is written about the Marvel seems to be exaggerated, but this might be true. Your comparison with the Segway is very interesting, and having ridden one myself I know how manoeuvrable they are, albeit with complex electronic aids. Taking all his weight on his legs and balancing by using a handle bar attached to the wheel might not have been as difficult as it seems. The Marvel's ability was in his willingness to ride at heights at which most people would not risk (but presumably for considerable monetary reward), and thus his fairly short career. I had overlooked a small piece of information, which might lead to more revelations: On his US Army registration card dated 1918, (the one which gave us his father's address in England) https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-25106-36438-80?cc=1968530, it also states that his Permanent Home was 1604 Broadway New York City. This is also the address he gives for his Employment - which is as a self employed Salesman for the 'Clipping Office'. I believe this may refer to the offices of The New York Clipper newspaper, and a Jazz venue in the early 1900s. I'm not sure of the significance of this, or where it leads us. We have also found the tombstone of his wife Clara (whom he had divorced) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=minting&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=128098602&df=all This gives a lot of information about the dates and relations of 'Mrs Minting', but unfortunately no more information about Alfred. What I would like to do is to find a descendant of this family who may be able to complete the story. Bob Minting

    Reply: 02 Jun 2015 - Showfolks often used the complimentary mail forwarding service provided by the New York Clipper, Billboard and perhaps other publications. In 1918, the street address cited by Minting was for the Clipper Corporation, publisher of the New York Clipper. They printed a weekly column titled “Clipper Letter Box.” It had two listings, for “Gentlemen” and “Ladies.” It provided family, friends and associates with a constant address by which mail might be posted to the desired recipient. A list of mail received was published weekly by the journal and once they saw a listing for their name the recipient would then advise the publication of an address to which the mail could be forwarded. People continued to receive mail via this manner even after retiring from the field, especially if they were mobile or didn’t want to disclose a residential or other address that might be used by a process server or others contrary to their interests. Many people continued to read trade journals after leaving the field, having a desire to maintain knowledge of family and friends, or the enterprises that once employed them.
        Finding a contemporary descendant requires dogged digging and good luck. The “luck” component has increased greatly with the internet, genealogy websites and such, where descendants often discover the researcher! It’s happened where a descendant contacted an interested party two decades after the initial search.
        If there’s a target to find, it’s the date and location of Minting’s death. Published obituaries in newspapers and trade journals will often list next of kin, which starts various lines of investigation. The notifying person on death certificates is another resource, but other information on them is usually suspect. Cemetery internment records can also be useful, indicating the plot owner, or next of kin. Probate records and wills can be very revealing, but you’ll need to ascertain city and perhaps county of death/residence. Personal medical and legal records are usually not available owing to privacy laws; some states even shield everyone other than proven descendants from accessing documents. Funeral home records can also be consulted; they’re sometimes mentioned in obituaries and the internment record. Unfortunately, family oral traditions and knowledge seldom go back beyond the grandparents. Great-grandparents names are often unknown, unless someone has done a family history project or researched the genealogy.
        Divorced spouses and their descendants may remain sources of information despite the split. It all depends upon who received what in the division of assets. Children of a dissolved marriage may also be recipients of parental papers. Did Minting have any offspring? There are also instances when I’ve found nieces and nephews who were in the possession of relevant papers. Other recipients might be close friends or business associates, or a local library or historical society, or a local historian or enthusiast in the field in which they were most prominently known.
        A few have had success in contacting current address occupants, or neighbors nearby. Unfortunately, in the case of Minting, that sort of trail is likely pretty cold. Addresses can come from city directories, census records, vital statistics of a wide variety, military service records, Social Security employment and benefit information, passports, licenses, patents, lawsuits and anything else that would have required the entry of a residential address.
        BTW, a search of Clipper did reveal several 1914 listings for “Minting, Alfred” and “Minting, The Marvel” in route listings, suggesting a continuation of performing through that year. Comparing his locations to show routes and fairs might reveal his affiliations. In August 1914 he was with Littlejohn’s United Shows, as per a Billboard issue on Fulton History. He seems to have retired from performing in the US after that season, yet remained connected to the trade via the Clipper forwarding address. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4510. Buckskin Bill’s show, 24 Apr 2015 - I am interesting in obtaining any primary documents or photographs on “Buckskin Bill’s Wild West Show.” Buckskin Bill’s show was originally located in Paducah, Kentucky. The show was started by the Terrell Bros. (who previously owned the Terrell Bros. Circus- 1890-1892), and then by Harry E. Allott or (Bunk Allen), who would eventually name the show “The Great Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West Show.” Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Richard Parker Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Apr 2015 - I made a mistake in my posting. I meant to write Henry E. Allott instead of Harry. Sorry for the mistake. Thank you, Richard D. Parker

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4509. Boswell family, 23 Apr 2015 - Would like to learn about the various Boswell family members who either performed in or were in some way connected to the circus in southern africa since 1800 as I am distantly related to them and would like to know more about who did what. Robert Boswell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 May 2015 - I am the author of a book “The Boswells – The Story of a South African Circus” which gives an overview of the history of the family. This book is available directly from the circus on the website Boswell.co.za If there is anything specific on which you need details I would be happy to assist. The book includes a fairly detailed family tree. My email address is cricketts@mymtnmail.co.za

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4508. Alexim Troupe, 18 Apr 2015 - I am trying to trace the history of the Alexim Troupe from France around 1934-1939. Two of my aunts were in this troupe. I believe this was managed by Madam Alexim. One aunt used to be called the clown, because she was small and mischievous. Unfortunately she fell and broke her ankle and then returned to England. The other aunt died in 1939 and is buried in France. Apparrently they used to travel all around Europe. Can you help please. Anita Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4507. Alan Gold, 15 Apr 2015 - I was just wondering is Alan Gold from Europe and does he have an accent and what year was he born and I was also wondering does he sometimes ever wear a safari uniform for his acts and use whips, chairs and blank shooting pistols and I was also wondering does he sometimes ever journey to Africa and India and goes on African safaris hunting down lions and tigers in jungles for his act and career in the circus and the big top. Just wondering write me back and let me know. Thank you, from,Lucas j. Walker. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 Apr 2015 - No, to all of the above. Alan is from the United States and currently enjoys the good life in Hawaii. His performing days ended years ago. Bob Cline

    Reply: 04 May 2015 - There's a story to be told here? jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 09 May 2015 - Where did Alan Goldberg study wild animals and where did he learn to become a lion tamer? When did he start his own lion and tiger act. Who and what are the other trainers that he learned from and worked for until he started his own lion and tiger act? Are they from Europe and are they lion gamers too? I was talking about the other trainers that he learned from and worked for. Write me back and let me know. Thank you, from,Lucas j. Walker.

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4506. Fred Ellis, 15 Apr 2015 - Searching for information on Fred Ellis, born ca 1869 in England. He and his brother (perhaps Henry) were sent from the family owned circus to receive training at another circus in England. While Fred and brother were away at training, the teaching circus took the boys (Fred, aged approximately 5 years old) and boarded a ship for the United States. Fred was (immediately) adopted by the Edwin S. Bliss family of Allegany County, New York. Family information was that an article appeared in McCall’s magazine detailing the events. Further information is that the biological parents came to the US to retrieve their children but were unsuccessful. Fred Ellis Bliss is the g-grandfather of my husband. Appreciate any clues or information. Thank you. Kathryn West Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Apr 2015 - Tracing Edwin Stillman Bliss and his adopted son Fred Ellis Bliss through census records presents no major challenge, but the entries reveal nothing about the circus aspect of the story. That investigation may hinge on the “McCall’s Magazine” article, if it can be located. That publication doesn’t appear to be available in any digitized version, so you may be compelled to search page by page through bound copies. Toole-Stott’s multi-volume circus bibliography contains no abstracts from McCall’s, but there are a number from “McClure’s Magazine”; could someone have recalled the title incorrectly? McCall’s catered to a female readership, published 1873-2000. McClure’s was an illustrated and investigative magazine, 1893-1929, changed into a women’s journal in the 1920s. Some of the McClure articles about circus can be read online, in Google Books, or elsewhere. The oral account that you related sounds more akin to an investigative story, as McClure’s would have published.
        Your query seems to be of the type alleging some sort of abduction, or removal of children, without parental approval, or consent. There were a number of such cases involving circuses in the 19th century. The phenomenon is somewhat related to the fabled “running away with the circus,” children escaping abusive parents or guardians, or lives of childhood hardships, as in the instance of James A. Bailey. There are other situations wherein children became separated from parents, never to be re-united, as with Charles Sparks. Then there are the in-between stories, where circumstances are murky; children placed outside the home owing to various financial or other issues, entrusted to strangers or friends; then being sought for retrieval when circumstances changed for the better, but only after they had been out of the picture for some time.
        The 1880 census lists Edwin S[tillman] Bliss (1836/1837-1911), age 43, then a merchant, wife Sarah, 38, and family in Wirt, Allegany County, NY. Given as age 10, born England, “son adpt,” at school was “Fredie E.”, as discernable from the script. There were also two older daughters, a son aged 5, name not readily discernable, and a 7-month old baby, Theron Coit. There’s no mention at any time of a second adopted son, so if Fred had been accompanied by a brother he was elsewhere.
        Bliss, a Civil War veteran, is also in the 1870 census in Wirt, NY, and again in 1900, when only a daughter and the grown baby were at home with his wife in Alfred, NY. A lengthy obituary for Bliss can be read here: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=81773714 with the original version in the “Sabbath Recorder” viewable on Google Books. It makes no mention of his adopted son, Fred, nor does another “mug book” biography, in “Allegany County and Its People,” 1896. It traced his movements as: Genesee in 1861; military service 1862-1865; Richburg through 1887 [sic? maybe 1867 or 1877?]; 1881 relocation to Alfred. His spotless career is marred only by a reported 1882 indictment for embezzlement, but the December 1, 1882 issue of the Wellsville (NY) Allegany County Republican newspaper containing the news is temporarily unavailable on www.newspaperarchive.com. Another local obituary is also currently unavailable; it’s in the July 13, 1911 Wellsville Daily Reporter on the same resource.
        The 1900 census lists a Fred E. Bliss, age 30, born Sept 1869 in England, oil well driller in Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio, married 3 years to Minnie M., age 19, one child, daughter Ina M., age 1, wife and daughter both born in Ohio. In 1920 he was a 50-year old lodger, an unemployed driller, in Tulsa, OK. The 1930 census gives his year of immigration as 1875. He was then 60, divorced, was 27 when he’d married, worked as a cook in a café and lived as a lodger. I found no suitable 1940 entry.
        There were a few American shows that toured England and returned to the US. A case in point was Howes & Cushing, reported in the Clipper as arriving at New York from England on April 15, 1875. There were also performing families that came to the US with some frequency, some British or continental Europeans, others were Americans who had been contracted in England and across the channel.
        There were no hits for “Fred Ellis” in the New York Clipper, nor did anything else turn up under British arrivals, young apprentices and other search terms. The boy could have appeared as an apprentice, given his six years of age. His identity would not necessarily have been revealed, or he might have been “Master Freddie” or some such persona. Perhaps he never appeared with a circus operation in America, despite the British connection?
        The question arises as to how Fred Ellis, after arriving at an eastern seaport, came to be adopted by Edwin S. Bliss and his wife in upstate New York. More might be revealed by accessing newspapers in and near the communities where Bliss resided. I’d recommend searching for the McCall’s/McClure’s article, which presumably sets forth the circus allegation. Given that 1875 seems to be the year of Fred’s arrival, I’d also advise looking into arriving passenger ship lists for that year. If you haven’t already gone online at www.ancestry.com, you might try that as an initial step. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4505. Frank Carswell, 13 Apr 2015 - Shortly after the 1st World War my father, Frank Carswell, moved from England to New Zealand and was employed there by a circus as a Teacher/Ringmaster. He wrote some great stories about his circus experiences which I would love to edit and publish but there is no mention of the name of the circus he was with or the names of any of its personnel. It was a large circus with a work force of 122 persons, 2 Elephants,36 horses,8 dogs, 4 sheep, 2lions, 3 lionesses, 2 Bengal tigers, 6 monkeys, plus a zoo of caged animals including lions, Tigers, jaguars, panthers, monkeys, baboons, and so on. The circus had its own train which carried two or three lorries, a tractor and all the circus staff and animals. The train had two dining carriages and was home to all the staff. The only clue as to the name of the circus, apart from the above description, was it’s the headline in the poster “The greatest show on earth”. But the I guess that was a common claim. If anyone can help me with the name of this circus I would be very grateful. Thank you Chris Carswell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Apr 2015 - Wirth’s Circus [Ltd.], generally associated with Australia, traveled by a railroad system-supplied train and also employed the now legally protected and trademarked “Greatest Show on Earth” slogan on posters, on the big top entrance marquee and perhaps elsewhere. They also did periodic tours of New Zealand. In the 1920s there was an arrangement between Wirth’s and the Ringling show concerning acts, perhaps in part justifying the application of the world-famous subtitle. You can find abundant information about the Wirth show in various books, archival repositories, and elsewhere, as well as in the online digitized newspapers for New Zealand http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast and Australia https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 15 Apr 2015 - Search with the word “greatest” on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng. Herman

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4504. Pagel family circus, 11 Apr 2015 - I am trying to find out information about the Pagel family circus and can see that there is a book written by Carol Birkby. Do you know where I could get this book or read it? My husband is a direct relation of William Pagel. Your help will be greatly appreciated, Thank you, Rea Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Apr 2015 - You can try and obtain a copy of Carel Birkby’s “The Pagel Story” (1948) via interlibrary loan (speak with a local librarian, practices vary country to country) or seek second hand copies via Google and site searches. Currently a copy is available for purchase at www.biblio.com. It’s $30.00 plus shipping to where you reside. You can monitor ebay, amazon, abebooks and any number of other resale book sellers, create a finding aid for it, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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4503. Toni Cristiani, 11 Apr 2015 - Toni Cristiani, I’m doing research for a book of memoirs. I need to know if you’d be willing to verify my bashfulness in Mrs. Eggars English class, 1952. I can’t seem to locate you other than your being in Sarasota. Also, were you in the Greatest Show on Earth, riding your white Lippizan Stallion? I am just trying to bring back some old memories. The last time we talked was when you signed my album. Sincerely, Terry Taylor , A Florida Boy adopted by Texas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4502. Serbian horse trainer, 11 Apr 2015 - I am trying to help my friend find her mother. We don't have a name. All records were destroyed on the Indian reservation. She was a very tall very famous serbian horse trainer who supposedly traveled in the circus. She gave her up for adoption in 1966 at an Indian reservation in Oklahoma. Any leads would be amazing! Thank you! Cheryl Skinner Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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4501. Sideshow wish granter, 09 Apr 2015 - I was just wondering are there any sideshows that can grant people's wishes for a sideshow. You know like a wish granter or a wish giver or is there any circus magicians that can grant people's wishes. Just wondering write back to me and let me know. Thank you, from Lucas j. Walker. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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