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Stuart Thayer Prize

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The Circus Historical Society encourages the highest quality of research, scholarship and writing about American circus history, announces The Stuart Thayer Prize. It annually recognizes a superior work by awarding the Stuart Thayer Prize. This award is named in honor of Stuart Thayer, the author of numerous foundational and insightful works published about the antebellum American circus and menagerie. The selection and awarding of the Stuart Thayer Prize is managed by a three member committee who are appointed every four years by the newly-elected Circus Historical Society president during his or her initial three months in office.


    Content. A nominated work must be substantially about American circus history or a very closely related topic.

    Format. Works may be in any printed form: book; article; pamphlet; booklet; bibliography; compendium of essays; exhibit or sales catalogue; a single essay that is part of a larger work; or an original work contained in digital format on a disk or loaded on a permanent website.

    Posthumous publication. Works by deceased authors being published posthumously for the first time are eligible for nomination. The prize shall be awarded to the closest survivor or an immediate family representative, or to a representative of the organization that accomplished the publication.

    Exclusions. Exhibits, websites, symposiums, etc., that do not issue a permanent document or are not archived in some permanent format are not eligible for nomination. Fictional works are not eligible. Simple re-printings and new editions of older works, without annotation or other updating that substantially improve the value of the work are not eligible for nomination.Virtual and digital library content and activity are not eligible for nomination.

    Release date. A work published, issued or released within the calendar year prior to the prize year is eligible for nomination.

    Nominators. Any current member in good standing of the Circus Historical Society may nominate one or more works for the Prize. Officers, board members and members of the prize committee who are CHS members may nominate works. Members may nominate their own works for the prize.

    Nominations submission. All nominations shall be submitted in the format of the Nomination form (below). No other nomination forms shall be accepted. Nominations may be submitted in hard copy, by fax, or e-mail delivered scan. Each nomination must be signed and dated by the nominator.

    Deadline. All nominations must be submitted no later than March 31, prize issued at the CHS convention.

Star Download complete details, with nomination form, of the Stuart Thayer Prize, pdf format.

Star Download complete details, with nomination form, of the Stuart Thayer Prize, Microsoft Word format.

Star Download nomination form only, Stuart Thayer Prize Nomination Form, pdf format.

Star Download nomination only, Stuart Thayer Prize Nomination Form, Microsoft Word format.

Submit nomination by email: Stuart Thayer Prize nomination

Stuart Thayer Prize

Past Winners

2012Richard Georgian. Cossacks, Indians and Buffalo Bill (Book)

2013Frederik Schodt. Professor Risley and the Imperial Japanese Troupe: How an American Acrobat Introduced Circus to Japan and Japan to the West (Book)

2014Kevin Duncan Wall. The Ordinary Acrobat (Book)

2015 – No Prize.

2016David Carlyon. The Education of a Circus Clown: Mentors, Audiences, Mistakes

2017Alex Albright. Mose McQuitty’s Band and Minstrel Days 1899-1937 (Bandwagon, Vol. 60 Issue 3)


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