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    • The 1924 date for the beguiling Frederick W. Glasier photographs of Zelda Boden (one included in the 2009 book ‘Circus, The Photographs of Frederick W. Glasier’, pages 72-73) was derived from the identifications applied by Glasier to the margins of his negatives. They are not included in published prints. While he is best known for the larger body of circus views made 1900-1910, Glasier was also active in the 1920s. The endlessly repeated 1890s, 1900s and 1910s dates can be dismissed as web-born and perpetuated fiction.

 

 

    •     1900 data Henry A. Boden, age 12, listed as born July 1887, residing in Montana Township, Jewell County, Kansas, 4th child, 3rd son of Henry C. Boden, 56, born Indiana (Ohio born father, NY born mother) and Mary J. F. Boden, 43, born Iowa (Indiana born parents). [1900 census]

 

    •     1917 data—Boden was listed as Henry Arthur Boden, born July 13, 1886 at Webber (Jewell County), KS, when he registered for the draft at Oakland, CA on June 1, 1917. He was then aged 30, single, an actor with the Texas Round Up Company working on the Pantages vaudeville circuit. He was described as short and slender, with olive eyes, brown hair and slightly bald. A slight rupture and blood disease may have disqualified him from service. He also had a broken shoulder bone, foot and finger, one or more of which were not properly set [draft registration].

 

    •     1928 data—Zelda Boden’s birth was reported as February 22, 1905, Harrison, NJ (Hudson County, suburb of Newark) and Arthur Boden was listed as born July 14, 1888, Webber, KS. Their residence was then at 504 Bowery Street, Iowa City, IA [1928 immigration, ship Majestic from Southampton, England, June 13-19, 1928, arriving NYC].

 

    •     The chronology of Boden’s career that follows was abstracted from entries in trade journals and newspapers, some on Fulton History and lacking exact dates. There are more entries but these provide a general representation. More will also be garnered from checking Billboard magazine between 1922 and 1942. Further entries for the Bodens might be found in the name finding aids at Circus World Museum.

 

    •     Years?? Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, or Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East

 

    •     Years?? Ringling Bros.??

 

    •     In 1938, Art Boden visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Then resident in Hollywood, CA, he related that he’d been with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Ringling Bros., where he was a cowboy in 1907 or 1908. Boden said his family resided in the Cooperstown area until they moved to the far west, he being raised on a ranch. [Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown), October 7, 1938] The comment must pertain to his mother’s family, as he was born in Kansas.

 

    •     1909 Gus Hornbrook’s ‘Broncho Busters’ in vaudeville, formerly with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West [Variety 1909] He spent a decade with Hornbrook.

 

    •     1910 Art Boden was in vaudeville in 1910, doing exhibition roping, appearing at the American Music Hall in NYC [New York Clipper, May 14, 1910, 341]. He was a member of ‘Arizona Joe and company’, a quartet that did ‘A Glimpse of Prairie Life’. It included high school rider Adele Von Ohl, Boden, Broncho Bob on a bucking horse and quartette singing. They were complimented further [Clipper, May 21, 1910, 361].

 

    •     1911 Boden was with the Cheyenne Days Company playing the Orpheum circuit [NY Dramatic Mirror, July 19, 1911, 21]. Boden, Wyoming’s Champion Roping Expert, appeared in a San Francisco vaudeville house as part of Gus Hornbrook’s Wild West Show doing Cheyenne Days [San Francisco Call, September 3, 1911]. Included in the group were Lucille Mulhall and Otto Kline, the tragically-killed spouse of circus aerialist Tiny Kline.

 

    •     1912 In Australia with wild west feature with Wirth Bros. Great Australian Circus [Billboard, August 31, 1912, 4] It’s confirmed that by 1917 Boden had been to Australia [Billboard, May 19, 1917, 28]

 

    •     1914 Boden and company did an appearance at the Hippodrome, another vaude house, in Los Angeles, CA [Clipper, March 7, 1914, 22.

 

    •     1915 Sells-Floto circus, when Buffalo Bill was with it; left to join Cheyenne Days [Billboard, June 19, 1915, 57; August 28, 1915, 62]

 

    •     c1915 Gus Hornbrook’s Wild West, rider, at local fair [Richfield Springs (NY) Mercury]

 

    •     1917 Gus Hornbrook’s Texas Round-Up [Billboard, June 23, 1917, 28]

 

    •     1919 Al G. Barnes ‘Circus Chief of Cowboys’ [Billboard, May 17, 1919, 39]; Gus Hornbrook�s Wild West at fairs [Billboard, November 8, 1919, 62]

 

    •     1920 Cy Compton’s ‘The Passing of the West’ in vaudeville [Billboard January 10, 1920, 62]

 

    •     1921 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, Cy Compton after show [Billboard, June 11, 1921, __?]

 

    •     1922 RBBB with Cy Compton’s Wild West concert [Variety, March 31, 1922, 17] Gus Hornbrook’s Wild West, manager of the No. 3 show, on Schubert Time [Billboard, October 14, 1922, 74]

 

    •     An article is linked above from 1923 that has Art and Zelda together, with California Frank’s Rodeo Attractions, doing an engagement at a Vermont fair, between track races. They were identified as brother and sister, which is surely in error. California Frank was Charles F. Hafley.

 

    •     Zelda was an iron jaw artist with Andrew Downie’s Walter L. Main Circus in 1924 [Clipper, June 14, 1924, page 12 (program)]. She was in display 16, over ring one. She also worked in the after show concert [Clipper, June 21, 1914, 12 (roster)]. Art Boden also was in the concert, duty unspecified, but likely some sort of western activity, like fancy trick roping.

 

    •     In the winter of 1925-1925 Art and Zelda were on vaudeville bills as ‘Art and Zelda Boden presenting: A Breeze from the West’. [Kokomo (IN) Tribune, February 27, 1926] Art and Zelda were with Fred Buchanan’s Robbins Bros. Circus for the 1926 summer season. Zelda was in the opening spec, did iron jaw and trick lariat spinning while Art did a rope act topped by catching four horses with a single throw [Billboard, May 8, 1926, in Bandwagon, Sept-Oct 1981, 8]. They may have established their Iowa residence after completing the Robbins engagement.

 

    •     Art and Zelda were on the 1929 Downie Bros. circus, she doing swinging ladders, working a white Eskimo dog act, doing iron jaw and with Janie Walters leading the tournament, or grand entrance, as the girls that keep you guessing. Art and Zelda were in the Wild West concert. [Billboard, May 4, 1929 in Bandwagon, Nov-Dec 1975, 16, 18].

 

    •     The outdoor show business tanked with the depression, the number of available jobs being greatly diminished as the number of shows dropped precipitously. The same was true of vaudeville, the bookings for which had been decimated by movies. The Bodens may have been forced to seek more conventional employment. Art may have gotten roles in Hollywood productions, given that he was reportedly a resident there in 1938.

 

        Someone named Arthur Henry Boden passed away in September 1963 in Florida [reported in New York state?]. His birth was then given as July 14, 1887, and his name as Henry Boden. The death index lists a Zelda Burroughs, born February 22, 1905, died September 9, 1996 in Mercer County, NJ (Trenton area). This is not Zelda Boden. Zelda’s passing remains unknown.
    Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

 

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