Message Archives:

4501-4600

4401-4500

4301-4400

4201-4300

4101-4200

4001-4100

3901-4000

3801-3900

3701-3800

3601-3700

3501-3600

3451-3500

3401-3450

3351-3400

3301-3350

3251-3300

3201-3250

3151-3200

3101-3150

3051-3100

3001-3050

2951-3000

2901-2950

2851-2900

2801-2850

2751-2800

2701-2750

2651-2700

2601-2650

2551-2600

2501-2550

2451-2500

2401-2450

2351-2400

2301-2350

2251-2300

2201-2250

2151-2200

2101-2150

2051-2100

2001-2050

1951-2000

1901-1950

1851-1900

1801-1850

1751-1800

1701-1750

1651-1700

1601-1650

1551-1600

1501-1550

1451-1500

1401-1450

1351-1400

1301-1350

1251-1300

1201-1250

1151-1200

1101-1150

1151-1100

1001-1050

951-1000

901-950

851-900

801-850

751-800

701-750

651-700

601-650

551-600

501-550

451-500

401-450

351-400

301-350

251-300

201-250

151-200

101-150

51-100

1-50


Main page      Circus Historical Society      Membership
Circus Historical Society

Circus History Message & Discussion Board

Send a Message     Current Messages

Before you send your message, have you done a search for the information you are looking for? Use the search on this website and your favorite search engine. If you arrived here via a search engine, use "find" to locate the item.

This board is provided by the Circus Historical Society, Inc. for posting questions or conducting discussions regarding circus history. Please do not submit attachments or questions regarding the value of circus memorabilia.

When you click on Send or Respond to a Message above, your browser will attempt to send your question or comment using its email program. If you prefer to use a different email program to send your message, please address your question to circushistory@gmail.com with Circus History Message in the subject line.

Circus History Message must be in the subject line of your email. You must include at least your given name. Your city and state would be appreciated. Your response should include the topic of the message you are replying to in the text of your email, as well as your name. Please read the Guidelines and Disclaimer before emailing your message or response. Your message or response will be posted within one week, unless otherwise indicated above. Read Guidelines and Disclaimer regarding genealogy questions.


Message Archive: Messages 3801-3900




3900. Chipperfield Circus, Grice, 23 Feb 2012 - Do you have any information on the history of Chipperfield Circus? I believe my Nan and her family were part of it around the 1930s. My Nan’s name would have been Maria Gracita Grice, her brother was Arthur Grice who was a human canon ball and her mother was Josephine who was a trapeze artist. Any detailed information would be much appreciated. Many Thanks, Kimberley Thurgood Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 Feb 2012 - Hello Kimberley, I remember Authur Grice. I was a small boy of 12yrs and was there the night Aurthur died on 19 July 1965, in Salisbury Rhodesia when he missed the net. His wife's name was Fatima. His body was flown back to England and buried at North London Cemetery on 31 July 1965. He was with us in the 1960s (not the 1930s) My sister and brother-in-law would remember more. email me your questions jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 20 Apr 2013 - Please contact me. I am Wilfred Burns's granddaughter. I have a lot of information for you about Price. BTW Wiflred did over 500 balloon flights and drops. He and Price had a circus together in Hawaii in 1896-97ish. I have documents. 2maryjanice@gmail.com

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3899. Smiletta Family, 23 Feb 2012 - My grandmother's name was Pansy (Smiletta) Erickson and was an aerialist with her family, The Smiletta Family Troupe at the turn of the century. She married my grandfather, Carl Erickson around 1912. He was also in various circuses (band member), and supposedly married Pansy in the circus during an intermission. Her father's name was Victor Smiletta and was the head of the Smiletta Troupe along with Pansy's sisters, Daisy and Pearl, and her brothers, Hugo, Homer, and Barnum. I know they worked for Ringling-Barnum, Lamont Bros., Nat Reiss, and Yankee Robinson Show. I'm given to understand at one time Pansy's father, Victor had his own circus, but I can't find any information on this. After my grandparents left the circus, her family still performed as contortionists under the names of The Smiletta Sisters, The Smiletta Trio, and The Smiletta Bros. & Adair. I would so love to have any information someone might have on my family. Thanks so much! Elaine Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Mar 2012 - My Great-grandfather was Theodore Smith, the brother to Victor. Theodore was a clown and also painted pictures. The name Smiletta was a name they used as circus performers. I grew up knowing Daisy and her sister Pearl. I also met the rest of the family when they visited Daisy. E-mail me at ssweciii@yahoo.com if you would want more info about the family. Donna

    Reply: 12 Mar 2012 - Donna, Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I sent you a personal e-mail, but if you want to contact me, please use my personal e-mail address: elmosnarl@hotmail.com. Thanks again, Donna; I'm so looking forward to hearing from you! Elaine

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3898. Siebrand Bros. Miniature Train, 23 Feb 2012 - I am researching the Miniature Train Company and found that they supplied a type G-12 train set to Siebrand Bros. Circus in around 1947. This was set up outside on a level piece of ground near the concession stands and consisted an oval track layout. This was aimed at kids but adults could rides as well. I am looking for the following information , the paint scheme, and when it was disposed of and to whom. Thanks Daniel Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Mar 2012 - You can start your search for the disposition of the Siebrand train by doing some searching in Google Books, under a title search limited to Billboard. You’ll be able to garner quite a few entries on the show by doing a standard search, limited to the Billboard title and the exact phrase “Siebrand Bros.” If you’ve not yet searched the journal for trains, you’ll find many entries for various parks and other enterprises.
        The first step would be to ascertain how long the 1947 train remained actively with the show. Once you find what year it was no longer carried for an attraction you can start to search for advertisements offering it for sale, people having a train that didn’t the year before, etc. It’s always possible that it was stored for some time before being sold, or if it was literally worn out it might have been junked. Another possibility is a sale to a local kiddieland or amusement park, in the vicinity of the Siebrand winter quarters or along their route, or sale to a concessionaire that booked it on a variety of midways. A brief look suggests the Siebrand show did not maintain a single location for winter quarters, which will complicate matters a bit.
        McKennon’s book on carnivals indicates Siebrand was operational as late as 1967. With Billboard halting outdoor amusement coverage in 1960, it means that you may have to peruse issues of Fun Spot and successor Amusement Business. Those have not yet been digitized.
        Finding a paint scheme will be a challenge unless you can find a set of color photographs of Siebrand Bros. Ron Hamm in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, once sold dozens and dozens of sets of carnival photographs, but I’ve not seen anything from him of late. He also had possession of the Art Speltz collection, a vast trove of carnival material. I don’t recall if Bob Goldsack’s short-lived Midway Journal Illustrated covered Siebrand, you could check it, and also Carousel, the carnival journal. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3897. Melvin Arnold Decker, 21 Feb 2012 - Looking for information on Melvin Arnold Decker "Lucky" who I was told worked for the circus sometime before 1940. Not sure what service he provided, it could have been setting up the big top to performing. I do know he could eat glass, but this could have been something he learned while spending time with the circus. He was from New York, around Sullivan County. Any help is greatly appericated. You can contact me bkdeck@zoominternet.net. Bonita Decker, New York Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3896. Lillian Leitzel, 21 Feb 2012 - Dear all. I am keen to hear from anyone who has any information on the father of Lillian Leitzel. He is stated only as a former Hungarian officer int he army, and a theatre empresario. I cannot find any record of any person named Edward J. Eleanore in any of the German, Hungarian or Austrian war archives. If anyone happens to know anything about her family history could they please share? I'm writing an article about the parents of successful entertainers - looking at harsh parenting and the drive it gives their offspring. Many thanks, Joy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Mar 2012 - Dean Jensen has written a book about Lllian Leitzel/Alfredo Codona. As far as I know it is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2012. It will be published under the imprint of Crown Publishing Group, the division within the Random House that publishes biographies and other nonfiction works. Maybe the book will answer your question. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3895. John & Jacob Cassel, 20 Feb 2012 - John and Jacob Cassel - Looking for data about either of these twins. General data accumulated to date can be viewed at CircusOntario.ca, specifically here circusontario.ca/index.php/John_Cassel John was a trapezist and balloonist who went by the name of Professor Jack Cassel and his touring company was called the Jack Cassel Balloon Co. He apparently toured full time in the US although I only have data about his following winter itinerary in 1899/1900: Anniston AL (1899.12.12), Gadsden AL (1899.12.19), Piedmont AL (1900.01.15), Talladega AL (1900.01.22), Sylacauga AL (1900.2.5), Goodwater AL (1900.2.12), Alexander City (1900.2.26). He was reported as living in South Carolina but there are some discrepancies here. He died in 1910 in Indiana as a result of a fall from about 200 ft.
    Jacob Cassel was also a trapezist reported as being a magician and sharpshooter who toured in a medicine show. An unsubstantiated listing says he died as a result a heart attack after being only partially recovered from a balloon fall in 1910. There is no indication he toured the US with his brother and he was unmarried.It is possible he may have taken over his brother's company. Looking for any and all data, especially newspaper clippings, circulars, posters, etc. Please respond to this message board in order to maintain a common thread. John Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3894. James William Price, 20 Feb 2012 - I am looking for any information that you may have on James William Price. The information below is all I can seem to find. He is my great grandfather and unfortunately there are no surviving family members that can help me. Thank you, Andrea

    Price, James W., USA (1875?1930) (SM), See Appendix-L/S. Professional balloonist. p: Worked for "Wilsons Circus"; Protégé of W. Burns; Worked assistant, Miss.K. Cameron. f: First B-Flight 1884 USA; Made 500 ascents by 1898. l: Made two World Tours before 1898; Flew in: Britain, Indonesia, Thailand (Bangkok), Madagascar, Mauritius, S. Africa (2 Apr.1893); Flew in Hawaii (Pearl City) 22 Feb.1898; Inventor of the "Hemichute," and an Airship. a: Resident of Springfield, IL. r: Early Aeronautics in S.Africa; Burns-Scrapbook (M.Galvin archives). Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Feb 2012 - The New York Clipper noted on May 9, 1903 that James W. Price has just returned from India, where he engaged the Nizam of Hydrabads troupe of Hindoo and Mahommedan jugglers, magicians, snake charmers, acrobats, rope walkers, swordsmen, etc. The troupe consists of twenty-three members, and Mr. Price claims that it is the first troupe of the kind ever landed in America. The troupe will be the principal attraction at Glen Island this summer, where Mr. Price is manager of amusements. At the conclusion of the Glen Island season he intends to tour them through America. The 105 acre park is located on Long Island near New Rochelle, New York and was a popular amusement site. John Polacsek

    Reply: 06 Mar 2012 - Info to sender of message; - Family member. He flew in Australia late 1889 -1890s. Flew in my town Broken Hill, New South Wales 1890. Followed by Millie Viola in parachute display. He flew in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. Seek contact re story, as I am writing story on Balloon ascents in my town. Kind Regards, Paul Armstrong. Newspaper History Writer, Broken Hill NSW, Australia, armsfam@sov.net.au

    Reply: 20 Mar 2012 - James William Price performed in various states of the USA with a Millie Viola (probably several female aeronauts). When in Australia he also toured Tasmania, but without much success. I am trying to complete a history of early aeronautics in Australia and Price is included in a chapter. I have still to locate a picture or photograph of him. He toured the globe quite a few times. He was back in Asia in 1906 and again in 1910. As for being a protégé of Wilfred Burns I strongly doubt that. Burns was in Australia with Price, but his few ascents were only marginally successful. I would like to hear more from Andrea about her great grandfather – when and where he was born and died. He was a busy traveller and it would be interesting to know how many wives he had. My email contact is dcr49127@bigpond.net.au if you have anything more about him.

    Reply: 05 Apr 2013 - I have in my possession much information about both Prof. Price and Prof. Burns BOTH of which did many successful balloon exhibitions. Many in Hawaii and Australia and in many countries of the world. Wilfred Burns was my grandfather. I have many postcards written between Wil and Prof. Price as well as many newspaper clippings. I would be very happy to correspond with Prof. Price's grandchild. And to the person who said my grandfather had marginal success in his ballooning - you should be sure of what you write before you write it. I have much documentation that proves he was a very successful ballonist! Mary Jane

    Reply: 13 May 2013 - Reply to Mary Jane. You may be correct about your grand-father Burn’s ballooning successes, except for those attempts in Australia. I would be happy to be corrected, as I have only the various newspaper articles to base my opinion. Please feel free to email me at dcr49127@bigpond.net.au. Regards, David

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3893. Tex O'Rourke, 20 Feb 2012 - I am looking for information on my grandfather, Tex O'Rourke. He was with Ringling Brothers in the 30s and 40s doing trick shooting. I have a photo of him with Roy Rogers saying they are "Pals of the Plains". His act, according to my mother, included shooting cigarettes out of my grandmother's mouth. I know he was with the circus in the 30s when they were in Detroit and struck with Typhoid. I have lots of his photos from 1941 and 1942 of the circus, but he is not listed on the Route for that year that is posted on this website. Anything about his act would be appreciated. Thanks. Bill Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Mar 2016 - I have several large scrap books that belonged to Tex o Rourke and is wife. Recently found at an estate sale in Phoenix. Lots of circus, western, and war related articles. Numerous mailing envelopes addressed to Texas O Rourke. If interested I can send a few photos. Dennis

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3892. Billboard magazine, 20 Feb 2012 - I searched the archives and didn't see this information posted anywhere. I hope I am not being redundant. I recently discovered that fultonhistory.com now has Billboard Magazine digitized from 1894 -1922. Great, free and easy to search! L Brady Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Mar 2012 - I was so happy to find this site. Google has Billboard starting 1942. Now if anyone knows where to find 1923-1941 I'd be more happy. I have Ancestry and find ancestors, but if I want the history of Lew and Alice Henderson's family - starting with their marriage in Billboard May 18, 1914 (Morgan Bros.) - I have to go to Billboard and Newspaper sites. I did find me in the 1930 census twice - Indianapolis, IN and Hutchinson, MN. Using census records for identification? Billie Lou Henderson

    Reply: 21 Feb 2012 - They also have some New York Clipper and Variety! Tom H.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3891. Mickey King, 18 Feb 2012 - I have an old photo and advertisement of a "Caldwell Bros. Flying Circus" featuring "Fearless Mickey, the lady aviator in her thrilling exhibition flights" dated Sunday Sept 12 (I assume 1926) as they perform at Ipava, IL. Do you know if Mickey King ever flew? The picture has a young girl about 20 years old pictured that looks a lot like Mickey King. I know Mickey King lived in Bloomington, IL and that is not too far from Ipava, IL. Judging from her history, I wouldn't doubt she learned to fly. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you, Rick Martin, Palmyra, WI Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 Mar 2012 - There’s a biography of Mickey King in Bandwagon, July-August 2009, pages 15-24. There is also other biographical material available for her. She had circus engagements in 1926, on Sells-Floto. The travels of that circus in that season are readily established. A member of a flying act, the Flying Wards, could not come and go at will for other employment. If you affirm those connections, she could not have been the Mickey King, aviator, with the flying circus in the 1926[?] date item. This can also be further confirmed by searching digitized newspapers or perhaps the Billboard for other dates for the flying circus. When they are in existence for the same day as Mickey King, aerialist, was with a circus, they cannot be one and the same person. You might also pursue the matter in the 1920 census, though remember that Mickey King, circus aerialist was born Marie Gertrude Comeau and didn’t become a King until her 1924 marriage to Allen King. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Nov 2015 - My name is Sandra Lee Comeau (Perkins) and am the niece of Mickey King. I have never heard from her or the family that she ever flew a plane so do not believe that this is the same person. I enjoyed many summers traveling with her and never had she spoken of having flown a plane. Hope that this helps.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3890. Acrobatic Contortionist Dance Trio, 18 Feb 2012 - Could you please research something for me? I am looking for an Adagio Acrobatic Contortionist Dance Trio that I saw on a variety show some years ago. It consisted of a trio with two men and one lady. The Two men were about six feet tall and they were dark haired and wore regular black tuxedos with the black satin bow ties and black satin cummerbunds and the black satin lapels and they wore shiny black patent leather tuxedo dress shoes that tied the lady was a tiny petite blonde haired lady she was or must have been a double jointed contortionist they did an adagio acrobatic dance to the music of either The Can Can or The Sabre Dance Song. The two men did every acrobatic trick with her lifting and balancing and spinning her around and even wrapping her around their bodies like a belt and spinning around. Both men used her body as a double jumprope grabbing her both arms and legs and swinging and bending and twisting her body around several times using her as a double jumprope, even one of the men used her body as a single jumprope as he grabed her both wrists in his one hand and in his other hand her grabed hold of her two ankles as she was in a horizontal position and he used her body as a single jumprope and he lifted and she arched her body as he swung her up and down and around as he jumped over her like she was a jumprope it was fantastic, the other man put her body straight across his shoulders and spun around the dance floor in fast spinning circles then she stood on the other man's shoulders and he balanced her then the other man had her lock her feet tightly around his neck as she hung upside down on the front of him as he spun around in stationary circles the each man grabed her one arm and one leg as he spun her around passing her body back and forth from one man to the other man as each man spun her around in stationary circles, and one man took her body and circled and wrapped her body in a tight circle around his waist her body was facing outward wrapped tightly around his waist as her legs went around his waist to join to her shoulders and her head was inbetween her to legs as her legs were close to gether to her body and he stood up perfectly straight as he spun around and around and around the entire dance floor like a top spinning around and both men I noticed all thru the entire dance smiled and grinned slyly like they enjoyed what they were doing to her. Can you please find out who this tremendous adagio act I saw it was either in the late 1950s or mid or early 1960s. It definitely was not the Bal Caron Trio or The Andrea Dancers or the Dior Dancers or the Keoni Dancers or The Saddri Dancers I checked as they did do an adagio act but they did not do all these tricks. Please try to research it and let me know the name of this great act or if they are on a video or dvd tape so that I can buy it. please email me back soon and let me know thanks. Wayne Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3889. Princess White Cloud, 18 Feb 2012 - I am looking for any information on my Grandmother named "Princess White Cloud" She traveled with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. She always traveled in Buckskinned Gowns and was a singer and dancer of the Souix Nations out of South Dakota. Tina Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3888. Fox Movietone clip, 17 Feb 2012 - Billboard magazine, in 1932, mentioned that Fox Movietone filmed a segment featuring the Carlson sisters (the fat boxing twins) in a boxing match with Cyclone Jack Brady as the talker. Has anyone seen this clip? Someone once mentioned to me that they had seen this clip in a documentary on television. I have contacted the U of South Carolina (they house several movietone archives) and ITN. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. L Brady. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3887. Donald Henderson, 16 Feb 2012 - I am a historian researching the life of an Anglo Indian, Donald Lowden Henderson, born in Asansol, Bengal, India in July 1913. At a young age, around 1926, he joined a circus, and worked with Whiteways circus, King Carnival and 101 Lights, all in India, including Central India, (Lucknow, Cawnpore, etc), until the 1930s. He was eventually the strong man in these circuses. In 1939, he entered in and won a competition, "most perfect physique in India". His family would love to have any articles and especially photos of Donald Henderson, from these years, particularly the one winning the "most perfect physique in India". This might even be in some body building jouirnal of the period, ie 1939. If there is someone reading this, who might have such articles or photos, we would be most grateful to have copies, including any of Donald in his circus years. Please contact me - the material is just for the family, and not for profit. Regards, Dr Gloria J Moore Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3886. Flying Ridgways, Marion, 16 Feb 2012 - I am trying to gather information about my great grandmother, Marion Ridgway (who may also have been known as Rose), who was related to the Flying Ridgway brothers. According to family legend, she ran away and joined the circus that the Ridgway brothers were travelling with when she was 14 and may have been with them from 1902/3 until 1909. She had a performing dogs act. Any information relating to her or to the Ridgway brothers would be most gratefully received. Yours sincerely, Caitlin McGuinness Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Sep 2015 - I may have some information for you regarding Rose Ridway including photos - please contact me at moore4569@gmail.com, Peter

    Reply: 16 Sep 2015 - See posts on this board at 3688. Ridgway Brothers, 23 May 2015. jim@stockley.co.za

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3885. Cumberland Riders, 11 Feb 2012 - I am the daughter of the eldest of the Cumberland Riders - Tommy. I was born on March 4th 1933 three months after my dad died. My mother was Doris Shaw a member the Alfred Jackson Girls and then The Bluebell Girls - She was one of the original Bluebell Girls. My dad's name was Thomas Joseph Baker and he had three brothers Billy, Dicky and Pat. Edward Seago was my guardian after dad died and until my mother remarried again in 1936. My name now is Madeline Rena Penlington (nee Baker) and I am now 79 years old. Is anyone interested in this information? Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Feb 2012 - Hello Madeline, thank you so much for posting this. Of course we are all interested! Anyone who knows anything about circus in the 20th Century knows your family. I never realised the closeness between your family and the famous artist Edward Seago. He went on to write a marvelous book about my uncle Jimmy Chipperfield called "High Endeavour", that was in 1944, long after he was your Guardian. You are also related to the Scott family aren't you? Sue Lenz has posted some wonderful pictures of the Cumberlands on her Facebook page. Thanks again for posting here - jim@stockley.co.za

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3884. Liberty Bandwagon, 09 Feb 2012 - I am looking for information on exactly what happened to the Liberty Bandwagon, built by William Yeske in 1942-43 and used during the “Hold Your Horses” spec of 1943. According to reports from a visit that Bob Good made to Sarasota Winter Quarters in the spring of 1944 he saw it, covered in a canvas tarp near the wagon graveyard, where other wagons like the United States Bandwagon were rotting. There are reports that the “Liberty” burned in Sarasota “a few years later”. When was it burned? Was the fire (presumably at Winter Quarters) accidental or deliberate? Chris Berry Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3883. Leona White, 09 Feb 2012 - First of all, thank you for the website. I found so much information and leads to even more information regarding my Great, Great, Great Grandmother Annie Donovan (Mrs, Charles White, Mrs. A. Donovan, Mrs. White). She was the acclaimed Wardrobe Mistress for Barnum and Bailey’s circus for nearly 40 years up until at least 1906. When she was young, Annie met a gymnast named William Albert Donovan and she followed him with the circus. She was already a dressmaker and she turned out to be a legendary costume maker for Barnum and Bailey. Her husband, William Albert Donovan, died and left her with a Son, also named William Albert Donovan. Annie lived in New York and William went to school. Eventually, Annie rejoined the circus and married Alasco Charles White. William grew up to be Annie’s assistant in the Wardrobe department and he started calling himself William White after his Step Father Alasco. William White eventually assumed the role of Superintendent of the Wardrobe and Annie was the costume maker. In the Winter of 1984 or 1985, probably when the circus was at Winter Quarters in Bridgeport CT., William met a woman we know as Leona White and got married. They had 2 children that we know as Jeannette White and Charles White. Evidently, Leona was a serio-comic at the White Elephant on Bank St.
    We know that in 1885 William married the famous bearded lady, Annie Jones and eventually died in England at the end of their tour.
    William Albert White was my Great, Great, Grandfather. Jeannette White was my Great Grandmother who passed down some of this information. She said her Mother was Leona White and that she may have been an Indian and a horse rider of some sort in the circus. The family story is that she died riding a horse for the circus but this is all legend. We do not know what happened to Leona White or exactly who she was. The children grew up with another family and never saw either of their parents again.
    Any information that you may have of William Albert Donovan White’s first wife would be appreciated. I scoured the net looking but it seems that Willie White’s Mother, Mrs. Charles White did a good job of keeping Willie’s first wife on the down low. I will attach a few interesting links and become a member of CHS. If you need more info., please let me know. A have quite a lot of records and newspaper articles but none that reveal who William’s first wife and children were. Thank you so much for your time, David Quitt, stoked@gmail.com
    I have other articles stating that he was married and divorced but I think that one is the most revealing:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2229&dat=18951201&id=EWomAAAAIBAJ&sjid=AAAGAAAAIBAJ&pg=4867,5268625 Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 28 Feb 2012 - Corrections/additions to original post
    William A. White/Donovan married Leona in 1884/1885. Children were Jeanette Leona White and Charles Joseph White.
    William A. White/Donovan married Lucy T. Krieger in 1889 Manhattan, Kings, NY. She died in 1892
    William A. White/Donovan married the Bearded Lady, Annie Jones in 1895. She died in 1902 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn NY.
    William A. White/Donovan died in 1899 in Europe. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn NY.
    Linda White

    Reply: 11 May 2012 - The name of William A. Donovan’s first wife (a serio comic) is unknown at this time. It was probably not Leona. I doubt that Leona White existed. The parents of Jeanette Leona White are Mattie Lee Price and Samuel Wise who were married 29 Nov 1885 Madison Florida. The parents of Charles Joseph White are Mattie Lee Price and W.(William?) W. White who were married 13 Aug 1888 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Texarkana, Bowie, Texas. Mattie Lee Price was known as the Magnetic Girl, Electric Girl etc. She died in London 11 Mar 1899 while working for Barnum & Bailey Circus. Mattie’s husband at that time was Louis (Lew?) Aronson.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3882. John Raycraft, 06 Feb 2012 - I am researching my husband’s family on ancestry.com. I always heard that a relative of his, John Raycraft, of Bloomington, IL had some association with Ringling Bros circus. Can you tell me if this is true, and what part he may have played in the circus. Barbara Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3881. Red lighting, 03 Feb 2012 - Was red lighting as mentioned in Water for Elephants an invention of the author or did it actually take place on Circus trains? Pat Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Feb 2012 - Pat, Yes, Red lighting was very real. I have several incidents of red lighting in my book “Cossacks, Indians and Buffalo Bill.” Richard A. Georgian, Author "Cossacks, Indians and Buffalo Bill" www.richardgeorgian.com

    Reply: 04 Feb 2012 - See message 3479

    Reply: 05 Feb 2012 - Red Lighting was real. I've often seen an explanation of what it meant, but not why it was called Red Lighting. I don't know if Mr. Georgian explains it so I will. A red light displayed by the railroad track meant that civilization was nearby. A town, intersection etc., and the train may even slow down. A person tossed off then would be found helped or possibly walk away. If there was a real vendetta the person would be tossed off in the middle of nowhere as in the Water for Elephants book. This was not necessarily sanctioned by the management of a show, but happened occasionally in the circus world. Billie

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3880. C. T. McClusky, clown, 02 Feb 2012 - Does anybody have any information on a circus clown named C. T. McClusky, who possibly worked for Mack Bros. Combined Circus (maybe in the 40s, 50s or 60s ) and spent the winter months in Oakland, California. I have some collages he made from magazine photographs, which depict the circus life "on the road". John Turner Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3879. Archie Smith, boxer, 02 Feb 2012 - I am trying to locate any information I can about my grandfather's (Archie Raymond "boxer name: Ray Mills" Smith) experiences with the circus. He ran away from an orphanage in Waverly, Iowa with his brother, Bruce Smith, in 1934. He then joined the circus, fighting and becoming a golden gloves champion of sorts for his weight division, suupposedly under the pseudonym Ray Mills. I think there may have been posters with his picture. He then joined the Navy in 1943. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! I can be reached at shunkista2005@aol.com. Please do not respond to the message board, as I am just a visitor to the site. Thank you! Kristi D. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3878. Frank Cherry, 31 Jan 2012 - My wife's great grandfather was Frank Cherry a perform with the Sells Floto circus in 1918. She has a scrapbook that he kept during the pacific coast trip which opened in Albuquerque New Mexico on April 6th and closed Sept 28th in Walsenburg Colorado. This book contains many photos of the performers and we would like to find more information about her great grandfather. If anyone could share any information that they have about Frank Cherry it would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has questions concerning any of the photos from the scrapbook we would be more than happy to answer them. Jeff Marquardt Menasha WI Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Feb 2012 - Frank Cherry had the following circus career affiliations. This is not a complete and comprehensive listing, but it does include those most readily established. His occupation was given as a clown starting in 1933. Whether he was a rider or a clown in prior years isn’t clarified, the entries simply identify him as a performer.

    1912 Member of Walter Guice Troupe, riding act, on Gollmar Bros. [route book]
    1918 Sells-Floto Circus [per your album]
    1922, 1923, 1924 Sparks Circus [route books]
    1927, 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938 Al G. Barnes Circus [route book, programs; Billboard, April 11, 1936 pages 44 and 49;
    April 3, 1937, pages 36, 39 and 41; April 9, 1938, pages 44 and 146]

        There are photographs of most all of the circuses with which he appeared, as well as articles written about the various season tours of these shows. All of the shows are well-known railroad shows. Cherry must have been a good clown to have maintained such affiliations for at least 26 seasons. You can access these documents in the Circus World Museum library in Baraboo, which is not too distant from Menasha. Call and make an appointment with the librarian, Pete Shrake, 608-356-8341. They’re open most weekdays. Bring your album along so that it can be evaluated. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 15 Feb 2012 - Thank you Fred Dahlinger Jr for the information. My wife and I are planning a trip to Baraboo and will indeed meet with Pete Shrake when we go. Frank Cherry was an aerialist in his early years before becoming a clown and we have a newspaper article from a Eugene Oregon paper. Thanks again for the information Jeff Marquardt

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3877. CHS convention, 30 Jan 2012 - Members, I have a reservation at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center in Baraboo for June 13 through 16. I have a room with double queen beds. If someone would like to share a room, please let me know. Contact Richard Georgian at rgeorgian@embarqmail.com or see my website www.RichardGeorgian.com. Richard A. Georgian, Author "Cossacks, Indians and Buffalo Bill" www.richardgeorgian.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3876. Thesis, interviews, 27 Jan 2012 - My name is Guy Palace and I am looking to interview/converse with folks with knowledge of circus marketing pre-1956 as well as those with views on the cultural impact the circus has had over the years. My thesis will cover this, as well as the circus as it is presented today discussing RBBB, Cirque Du Soleil, and non-profit (Big Apple Circus). Also interested in periodicals that would accept paper submissions and also serve as a good resource for me to subscribe to for research. Thanks. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 03 Feb 2012 - As each development in communication took place, from the circulation of simple handbills and the penny press, to the Hoe press, steam powered printing of lithographs, advances in the compression of time and distance [by rail, then telegraph, telephone, etc.] circus men took advantage of them to advance the interests of the circus. Chart those technological and cultural developments and you will have a contextual framework within which to place your work and guide you in your research and writing.
        The best approach for a thesis or dissertation is always to seek primary resources, which are abundantly accessible online today, or in several public collections. The latter are listed elsewhere on this website. These include newspaper holdings [advertisements, interviews with show agents], ephemera [handbills/heralds, couriers], posters, etc., print media, which is how the circus generally advertised until radio, television, internet and other electron-using technologies came along.
        Thayer’s book Traveling Showmen covers aspects of early advertising, pre-1860, an era of mostly overland operations. Studying works by and about Barnum will provide some insight into the expansion of techniques and practices as the circus progressed from local and regional operations to a national undertaking in the 1870s. This accompanied the rise of large railroad shows that fielded advance railroad cars in a planned advertising campaign. There’s a good article about advance operations in the August 1894 issue of McClure’s by Charles Theodore Thompson. Printers Ink in 1896 has a couple pieces of interest. The Ringling route books of the 1890s, transcribed elsewhere on this website, also address advertising. A secondary text on advertising is the Fox and Parkinson book Billers, Banners and Bombast. It provides a basic survey of advertising and aspects of what’s termed marketing today.
        The placement of articles about circus life, management, logistics, etc., in the popular magazines of the 1890s-1900s was likely a planned activity to engender interest in the circus of the time, taking advantage of the rising subscriptions in such publications. Show ad men also did a number of circus life books in the 1920s and 1930s to raise interest in the field, E. P. Norwood among them.
        Memoirs by circus employees that dealt with advertising, publicity, etc. that you might find of value include those by Dexter Fellows and F. Beverly Kelley. The latter covers mid-20th century techniques, including some radio and television. I would also recommend looking into the lives of principal agents, including R. F. “Tody” Hamilton, Charles Day and Klara K. Knecht, among others. Their careers will document what shows did during their employment. The rise of sponsored, producer-type shows in the early 20th century, by Shriners and others, also changed marketing, since a local affiliate was involved.
        The differences between publicity, advertising and marketing, as well as brand development and management, have not been studied to any great degree in the circus field. Because of the nature of the business, the differences between them is sometimes blurred. Most study has focused on residual paper materials and their interpretation. Marketing is an aspect of management, and with so little in the way of circus business records surviving it’s a difficult topic to address with insight. Lacking internal views, one often has to observe the outer public activity and then draw conclusions from a study of it.
        Tent shows continued on after 1956, unto today, and altered practices. RBBB moved indoors and competed with differing entertainments. All of these changes have meant innovative marketing plans were necessary to carry on the business. I doubt that there are many veterans of pre-1956 circus advertising and marketing activity still with us today, but there are some with knowledge of techniques. There are quite a few former RBBB, Beatty and other vets who could provide you with great insights, but enthusing them to reveal their knowledge will be a challenge of both locating them and then earning their trust. My recommendation is to gain knowledge, so you’re prepared to ask them right questions. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 06 Feb 2012 - Fred, Thank you very much for your reply. I will certainly take you up on your advise as to reading up on my topic prior to reaching out. Your comments were great and provide me with other resources to review. I hope they are obtainable. Many thanks. Should I have additional questions, I will be sure to post. - grp

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3875. Lilliput Manias, Berlin 1940-45, 26 Jan 2012 - After my father died 10 years ago, he left me 5 picture postcards from Lilliput Manias in Berlin. It looks like a village of the little people and I think they gave shows. One postcard with a stamp of Hitler he send to his mother in the war when he was there. He was send to work at the railways, he was picked up by the German soldiers in Rotterdam and send to Berlin or surrounding. Pictures show Dolli and Lilli 16 years old and 4 other postcards showing a troup of lilliput people. My main interest is what happened to that village and where did all those little people go after the war, was the village bombed in the war for instance. I like to know more about this subject and may you are able to help me. thank you very much, Kind regards, Mrs. J. Verkouter (Holland) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Feb 2012 - Look for posters and foto.s Manias Liliput 1952 www.circusmuseum.nl/eng - H. Best-Otte

    Reply: 27 Feb 2012 - A troupe called Manias Lilliputs toured Denmark in 1951 with Circus Moreno. So at least some of the lilliputs seems to have toured as acrobats etc. Ole Simonsen, www.circus-dk.dk

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3874. Fritzi Bartoni, 26 Jan 2012 - I wonder if there is any one that have any records or information’s about my aunt the famous trapeze artist in the 30’s and 40’s Fritzi Bartoni born in Vienna 1910 (her real name was Frida Barfeld). All I have come up with thru the internet is some newspaper articles and old posters, nothing about her private life. She had a nasty accident when preforming in Boston 1939 falling from the trapeze 40 feet up in front an audience of 5000. Any information about her life and destiny that you could provide would be highly appreciated. Ulf Rosenberg Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3873. Early engraving, 25 Jan 2012 - I am seeking information about an engraving by Pieter Balthazar Bouttats (Belgian 1666-1755) which shows a standing figure of a man in fur trimmed costume against a background of vignettes showing the variety of possibilities for a 'slack wire' walker, between trees, up a ladder, playing a violin, pushing a wheelbarrow, etc. There is a Latin title below "Non Plus Ultra" and another at the top "In Portentis Glorianti" It measures 490mm x 650mm. Any information as to the name of the performer, place and date would be most warmly appreciated as I cannot find it in any of my extensive print literature. Sincerely, Christopher Mendez Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3872. South Africa 2011, 24 Jan 2012 - My name is Keanu. I live in South Africa gauteng nigel. You had a show here about a year ago (2011 was the year of the show). One of the acrobats (male) had hurt his arm. He is fit and he has brown curly hair. I would like to know his name and surname. I am doing a report about acrobats and would like to ask him some questions. Please write back at kh.keanuhorn@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3871. Kays Bros., 23 Jan 2012 - My family owned Kays brothers circus. The family name was actually Kayda but they shortened it. Everyone with the exception of my mom and uncle (who don't remember much of that time due to old age) are dead and I am left with no info. I feel that I am missing out on family history. I was wondering if you knew where I could get copies of pictures and more info since all of that was lost to my family so long ago. Thank you, Sivle Angleton. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Feb 2012 - According to Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses, p. 238, there was a Kaye Bros. Circus, circa 1961, Al Kayda, proprietor. Do a Google search typing in exactly: "Al Kayda" circus (use the quotes and add the word circus). You'll turn up lots of information in Billboard and on the www.thecircusblog.com website and others. Seems like Al Kayda had a West Bros. Circus in 1952. J. Griffin

    Reply: 26 Feb 2013 - Hello Silve, my name is Steve Gaylord b.1951. I knew Al kayda Sr. His son Alex and I are the same age and we attended school together from elementary through high school in Ontario. Al Sr. and my dad played golf (including cards) together at Lomitas GC. Al was quite a character. Anyways, I've lost touch with Alex but I know he retired from teaching at Etiwanda High, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. A couple of years ago I did a search, but to no avail. Maybe you'll have more luck. Ex info: Alex graduated from Chaffey H S, 1969. And my email is Alex should be able to help you in your quest and if you should be able to contact him, give him my email. Thanks and good luck, Steve.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3870. Monkey Stunt Plane, 23 Jan 2012 - I have a small plane with Circus Monkey Stunt Plane written on the side. It is 6’ long with a small petrol engine in the front. I guess it was tethered to a pole with a monkey in it for a short flight. Can anyone tell me about it? Thanks Jeff Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3869. George Burrows, 23 Jan 2012 - Burrows, Ringling elephants early 1950s. Does anyone have any information or photos of George Burrows, who worked with the elephants at Ringling from 1953 through 1956, and again with the King Bros circus in 1959? He was my dad; my parents divorced when I was young and he died in the mid-90s. My mother was one of the nine “oriental” dancers and web aerialists that joined RBBB at the beginning of the ’55 season. I have several photos of her from that time, but none of my dad, and I know little about him. Thanks, Lory Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3868. Manitoba, Canada 1910-20, 23 Jan 2012 - Traveling circus small towns in Manitoba, Canada (1910-1920). I'm writing a childrens' story regarding a family incident at a circus (fair) in McCreary, Manitoba about 1910 to 1920. I would like any information you can find to help me. Appropriate pictures, activities and/or happenings that would seem appropriate would be desired. Many thanks! Carol Settergren, Duluth, Minnesota Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Jan 2012 - There is not a lot of research on small towns in western Canada, however I did find one show that played McCreary in 1917. The Cooper Bros. Combined Shows was a small two or three car affair under the management of E. H. Jones. The show came from the west and played at Roblin, Man. on Sept. 17; at Dauphlin, Man. on Sept. 18; at McCreary on Sept 19, then a long haul to Morris, Man. on Sept. 20, and on into North Dakota. Search this website under Cooper Bros. and in the SPEC magazine vol. #1, issue #2 p. 2-3 there is a short story about the show that year by Betty Leonard. Ted Bowman Circus Route Collection

    Reply: 10 Feb 2012 - Ted Bowman Collection: Regarding my question about circus events in Mc Creary, Manitoba, I thank you profusely and will enjoy looking up the material you suggested. I am so happy you could help me. Carol Settergren

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3867. Pinders circus, 23 Jan 2012 - I am interested in researching the history of the Pinders circus and in particular a tour they did through my hometown of Thornhill, Scotland. I believe an elephant by the name of Lilly died whilst in the town in 1941 and I was interested in gaining some information around this. Is there any suggestions that she may have been buried somewhere locally? I would appreciate any links or information you can give me. Many thanks, Laura Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3866. Interview, circus people, 19 Jan 2012 - Hello my name is Alexis and I am writing a research paper for my honors english class on circus history. I was wondering if anyone has any emails to someone who worked for a circus in the 1930-1960 time period. I really need to interview 3 people about their expierience on the show. Thank you for your help!! Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jan 2012 - I worked for circus in South Africa 1958-1963, and have written a book on the history of the Boswell family. I am willing to help you if you wish. – Charles Ricketts

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3865. Great Suhanik, 19 Jan 2012 - My Name is Tim Bucknall from Cheshire in the UK. I'm looking for absolutely any info on a Circus Performer active in England shortly after World War 1. He used the name "The Great Suhanik." He married my Great Great Aunt, Isabella "Bella" Ward hence my interest. Bella was born in Stoke on trent in the English Midlands and moved to London with Suhanik. they had a daughter about whom I have no information at all. Thanks in advance, Tim Bucknall Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3864. Edward Loseau, clown, 17 Jan 2012 - Have been told my Grandfather was a clown for ringling in the 1940s. His clown name was Blink or wink the clown as he had lost one eye. His name was Edward Loseau, any information would be very appreciated. Vicki Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3863. Fitzgerald, Weems, high wire, 17 Jan 2012 - Does anyone have any information about any acrobats or performers, either an individual or a couple, by the name of Fitzgerald or Weems? I believe they would have been active in the early 1900’s since they were born in the 1880’s. There is information that the couple may have both perished when their high-wire snapped while on tour in Philadelphia. The Fitzgerald first names might possibly have been John, William, or Joseph. The Weems first name could have been Mary. Please accept my sincerest gratitude if anyone has any information about either of these folks. Mary Fitzgerald Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 24 Sep 2014 - I also am looking for my grandfather G.S. Fitzgerald who worked for the Leemon McCart Carnival in June 1921 in Lyons, KS when he had to abandon my mother (age 8 months old). My grandmothers name is unknown. Any chance this is related? Pat Recoy

    Reply: 25 Sep 2014 - In regard to Fitzgerald and Weems, in the late 19th century the New York Clipper reported on almost all matters of public performance, stage to circus. Some things escaped their reporters, stringers and readers, but the pages of “The Old Reliable” are the most comprehensive single resource on topics of the type that you seek. The Clipper, for its entirety, is available with key word searching at: http://idnc.library.illinois.edu/cgi-bin/illinois?a=p&p=home&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN------- I did some basic searching but had no relevant hits.
        The challenge is that you have broad ambiguity in the names that you’re seeking. If you can refine those, and in particular discern the stage name by which the people were advertised, I suspect you will find reference to them in that journal. Another option is to search Philadelphia newspapers, such as the Inquirier, for mention of the accident. If that event can be dated and examined, it may yield the stage name of the people of interest to you. Use of searches like Philadelphia+fall+injured brings up dozens and dozens of hits in Clipper, alone.
        In regard to Fitzgerald, subsequent to the late 2013 posted response to your query 4310, the Billboard has also become available in its entirety on ProQuest, part of their Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. You can check out access on their website and perhaps speak with a local librarian about where you might garner access. There was no hit for Fitzgerald in the 1921 Clipper, but there are lapses in the coverage owing to OCR failure. It was also a time when Clipper may not have covered the carnival trade; there was not a single 1921 entry for the McCart operation. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, “The Ringling,” John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3862. Ida Menkes, 16 Jan 2012 - My Aunt Ida who would have been born around the turn of the century rode a motorcycle inside a globe. I think she performed with a circus in Cuba and was called home because she was told her mother was dying when in fact she was giving birth to her 9th child, my mom. There used to be an old photo but it is no longer anywhere to be found. Would you know how I can research this? Mother's maiden name was Menkes. It was Ida Menkes from Newark, NJ who was the performer. She might have been born in Austria in the late 1800's as she was in her early 20's when my mom was born in 1920. Thanks, Deborah Tokar Schneider Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3861. Jews, WWII, 15 Jan 2012 - I am interested in anything that has to do with jews in the circus around World War 2. Where are the best places to get information? josie Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Jan 2011 - Herbert St. Nissing wrote a history of a major German circus owned by Jews, Strassburger: Geschichte eines ju?dischen Circus (Dormagen: Circus-Verlag, c1993) that includes a bibliography that might lead you to more sources. An important start, however, is Marline Otte’s Jewish Identities in German Popular Entertainment, 1890-1933 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006) and a more focused story is The Lioness of Judah: a Jewish Lion Tamer’s Memoir of Resistance and Survival by Sara Hauptman as told to Sue A. Oliver (Colorado Springs, CO: Dancing Queens Press, 2006). These studies form part of a larger interest in the Holocaust (though Otte's work transcends that) and I am not aware of studies beyond a German focus. Beyond just performers, you may wish to explore the German firm of Friedlander, the principal printer of circus and variety-act posters in continental Europe and a Jewish-owned firm that was shut down in the 1930s by the Nazi government. - Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

    Reply: 30 May 2012 - More then 3000 Friedlanderposters on www.circusmuseum.nl/eng http://bit.ly/L20Vdw. Herman Voogd

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3860. Fritz Linero, 14 Jan 2012 - Hello everyone. I am looking for info regarding Fritz Linero (born 09.11.1914) a performer for the Sarrasani circus in the 1920's and 30's. He was a solo artist who was a chair balancer, his act consisted of building a tower of bottles and then balanced himself on a chair at the top. He traveled with the circus to Rio de Janeiro during their south american tour. While there, he fell durung his act which was covered in the local newspaper. Any info, photos etc would be greatly appreciated. Robin Rose, (rainbowbright68@hotmail.com) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3859. Prof. E.W. Crocker & Co's. Equirationals, 13 Jan 2012 - Is there anyone who knows the dates that Prof. E.W. Crocker advertised his traveling show horses as The Equirationals? I've exhausted Googling, his personal papers, university and newspaper archives with any connection. Now I'm hoping circus paper experts may have run across this gentleman's ballyhoo. Prof Crocker's show toured US, Canada, UK and Belgium from roughly 1885-1920s. It seems likely his fanciful term Equirational did not survive much past 1890, he termed his horses 'marvellously educated' in later years. I've found only one other publicity paper similar to this with the term equirational (in Dundee Scotland). If anyone knows of other copies of this handbill, dated or not, could you please let me know? Thanks very much, Mary O'Benar, Florida Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Jan 2011 - A quick Googling of the name and title, exactly as given in bold face in the above message, without parentheses, brought forth three immediate hits in the New York Mirror pages placed on the http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html. They aren’t dated, but some further research ought to resolve that shortcoming. With that as a basis, you can search out other digitized newspapers and journals for the man and his presentation. The Clipper should also be carrying references, etc. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
    Reply: 14 Jan 2011 - Mary, I also tried http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html. If you just type Equirationals in the search and you'll turn up sixteen "hits," 1884-1886. I found similar results at www.newspaperarchive.com ($ subscription website) J. Griffin

    Reply: 14 Jan 2011 - Certainly before giving up hope, I would check with the Circus World Museum's Parkinson Research Library in Baraboo, WI. Their Archivist Pete Shrake, will be able to give you any possible hits in their collection. The Ringling Museums in Sarasota, FL. has a good circus archive collection already and are currently in the process of bringing in the huge Howard Tibbals archives. This will be a magnificient collection to conduct research in when it is all catalogued under the direction of Deborah Walk. The Milner Library, Special Collections at Illinois State University under the direction of Maureen Brunsdale has a fine circus collection. Princeton University holds the MacCaddon collection and others relating to the entertainment/circus fields. The Witte Museum in San Antonio has the Hertzberg Museum collection. As far as I know from my own correspondance with them, the collection is in storage and they have to go look to see what they have. Certainly the trade magazine of the late 1800's would be the New York Clipper and should be gone through well also. A simple website that is offering the New York Clipper and has a search engine is http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html The New York Clipper is also available through interlibrary loans in some places on microfilm. In my instance, I have to drive 100 miles to the University of South Carolina Library to view the NY Clipper as I cannot get it on interlibrary loan here. Perhaps this will help you just a little bit more. Bob Cline

    Reply: 22 Jan 2012 - Mr. Dahlinger, Mr. Griffin and Mr. Cline-- Appreciate your effort on behalf of my research, and I have followed all your leads. In terms of modern study of late Victorian circus and related entertainments, the subject of Prof E.K. Crocker's Equirational (or Educational) Horses appears to remain quite obscure. Crocker's touring horses performed 'intellectual' feats, basic equestrian tricks and formations - but most prominently featured was what may best be described as horses playing parts in vaudeville-ish and melodramatic vignettes.
        Crocker styled himself an intellectual but would certainly be better described as a showman with an eye towards the main chance. His advertising jargon was overblown, as was his horse training-theory 'textbook', but his work was probably above par for a Victorian-era equestrian 'liberty' act.
        I found 2 dozen institutions with some Crocker information. The widest collection is housed in Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant MI. The Clarke has Prof. Esli K. Crocker's personal papers, reachable via:

    http://clarke.cmich.edu/resource_tab/information_and_exhibits/rides_and_spangles_michigan_circuses_and_carnivals/equestrians.html
        (The Clarke has also presents a very readable biography of Crocker halfway down that page.)

        Comparison to 18 other existing handbills, posters and advertising would indicate the New York handbill in question may be the earliest Crocker touring piece remaining, perhaps 1883-84. Thank you very much, Mary O'Benar.

    Reply: 21 Feb 2012 - In my book Seeing Is Believing you will find a photo of Crocker's horse troupe poster as it stands in the back stage area of the Port Hope Opera House. I also included a photo of Crocker's horse show on a carnival in the 1920's. I would be interested in hearing from you in regards to further Crocker research. The fact that these horses were quite adapt at climbing up and going back down stairs in all kinds of buildings amazed me. Al Stencell

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3858. Equestrian stars 30s-50s, 10 Jan 2012 - For a book I'm researching, I'm interested in any information about European immigrants who came to America with the Ringling (and other?) circus between the mid-1930s and mid to late 1940s. In particular, I'm thinking of Captain William Heyer (with whom I took riding lessons in Sarasota as a young girl), Lillian Wittmack (Roye), and other equestrian families such as the Konyats and the Christianis. I'm most interested in the influence of these folks on the development of dressage as an equestrian discipline in America during the postwar period (not sure if any Christianis did that kind of riding or not, but the others did or have). If anyone knows of books that would give a good overview of this subject, or the context of what was happening in Europe and America (big subjects, I know!), I'd greatly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. Thanks very much. Kathryn Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Aug 2012 - Belmonti Christiani, bare back rider. Steve Baker

    Reply: 22 Feb 2013 - I rode for Lillian at her York, PA dressage school in the 1970s. For information on her, look up the IEO, a Dressage organization that she founded, that is still going strong today. She was responsible for getting Dressage recognized in the US. I still own her dressage saddle, with her name stamped on it! She taught me to ride correctly, and at 66 I am still riding and teaching according to her precepts. Hope this helps. Judy Coldren, Hanover, PA

    Reply: 26 Mar 2013 - Thanks for the replies, I'm just finding them. Judy Coldren, thanks very much! (We're practically neighbors, I live in Stewartstown, south of York and we're not far apart in age, either). I'm familiar with the IEO and we may even know some of the same people. I had to put this project on hold for awhile but have taken it back up.It's too good and important a story to let go. Please contact me at this email address if possible. Thanks! Kay Frydenborg, kayfry@zoominternet.net

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3857. Elephant Dolly, 10 Jan 2012 - I'm interested in any information, memories or firsthand accounts about an elephant named Dolly, with the Ringling circus, who was executed in Sarasota in March 1950 after crushing a small child at the Winter quarters there. I have an old newspaper account but wondered if anyone still remembers this event. According to the article, the story was carried nationally and sparked many messages in favor of sparing the elephant's life, but they weren't heeded. It's a sad story. For all concerned, of course. The child was visiting from out of town, and the elephant, so I read, had never before harmed anyone. Kathryn. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3856. Dixie Funmakers, Rowan family, 10 Jan 2012 - Looking for any info at all connected to the vaudeville troupe Dixie Funmakers, or the Rowan family who traveled with it as musicians, song-and-dance performers, and clowns. The Rowans also toured with the Jethro Almond circus, and later managed moving-picture shows. Thanks, Eileen. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3855. Show World, Midway, 08 Jan 2012 - I would be pleased to hear from anyone in possession of issues or entire volumes of the journal Show World, later titled Greater Show World, 1925-1958. I am not seeking the earlier Show World, published 1907-1911. Copies of the c1904 journal The Midway are also of interest for research. Thank you. Fred Dahlinger Jr. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3854. Evy Karoly, 08 Jan 2012 - I am trying to contact Evy Karoly, the mother of Mark Karoly. Does anyone know how I can contact her? Thank you - Dolores Crowell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Jan 2012 - My parents were with Ringling in 1955-56 and my dad, George Burrows, was with the King Bros circus in 1959, and they were friends with Evy Karoly. We have not been in touch with her in decades, but I remember living next to Evy and Mark in Myakka City, FL in the late 60's; she went by the name Evy Pitts and I seem to recall that Mark's last name was Cincotta. You may want to try searching under those names - good luck! Regards, Lory L.

    Reply: 07 Jul 2012 - She was working with Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach, SC mostly doing the racing pigs & costumes but also training dog acts & coaching people / trick riders - keeping everyone in line. Unfortunately she passed away a few days ago. She was a great influence on all she knew. In the '90s her son was in Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, but I didn't keep up with them after I left Dixie Stampede. Sorry I don't have better news. Shene Allen

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3853. Lola Burdette, 08 Jan 2012 - Inquiring about a Lady Circus performer, who did equestrian riding and training horses for the rings. Name, Lola Burdette, last known contact about 1966. Age would have been around 65 or so. She told me several times she worked different Shows, including Ringling Bros. My first contact with her at here small ranch in the Southern California region of the Town of Perris, County of Riverside somewhere in that area. She had Appaloosa horses, mostly raised and sold them as Stallions. During the time I bought 4 different Appie Mares, she told me about her prior Circus jobs. Long Shot, but I found the J.W. Burdette name. Thought she might have been some degree of relations. Thanks in advance for your response, Rod McKean, rosuku32@gmail.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Jan 2011 - Rod, I think this is the Lola Burdett you are looking for (note spelling). If so, you might want to write to the library, historical society, etc. at Riverside to see if they have an obituary. Social Security death index: Lola Burdett; Last Residence, 92370 Perris, Riverside, California, United States of America; Born: 7 Dec 1894; Last Benefit, 92381 Sun City, Riverside, California, United States of America; Died, Feb 1981. If she was with the Ringling Show, the Circus World Museum might have a record of her. J. Griffin

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3852. Marianna, trapeze, 08 Jan 2012 - I believe her full name was Marianna Popescu, and she was from Romania. She performed her act at the 1983 Monte Carlo festival. Any more info about her? Thanks, Harry, UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3851. Circus families, Britain, 08 Jan 2012 - My name is Sally and I'm doing some research on behalf of the BBC on travelling circus families in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s. I'm keen to find out as much as possible about well-known - and less well-known - acts from that period and the family stories behind them. Of circus families journeying to large towns and small villages; falling in and out of love; falling on hard times; and/or perfecting their art at a golden time in circus history. Think J B Priestley's The Good Companions. If anyone has any rich family stories they'd like to share with me, then I'd love to hear from them. Very many thanks, Sally Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Jan 2011 - Hello Sally, sounds very interesting. Probably one of the best people to contact would be circus historian Jim Clubb (or his son Jamie) at Amazing Animals in Oxfordshire. They published a book on two famous elephants from that period (whose lives touched many of the main characters on the circus scene during the period between the World Wars). Jim is an expert on many of the show families (circus and menageries) of the period. jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 14 Aug 2012 - The Baker family (Bertram Mills circus, The Cumberland Rider's. Steve Baker

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3850. Miss Connie, trapeze, 08 Jan 2012 - I saw Miss Connie, a single-trapeze artiste, at Circus Circus Las Vegas in 1992. Does anyone have any info or pictures about her? Thanks, Harry, UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3849. Judy Merton, 08 Jan 2012 - Judy Merton was a South African trapeze artist who had an exciting act & was absolutely gorgeous, daring tricks with no safety net. She performed in the 1976 Monte Carlo festival and in the 'Royal Windsor Big Top Show' in 1977, which was to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. It would be great if anyone has (or knows) of any material about her. Thanks, Harry, UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3848. Circus World Championships, 08 Jan 2012 - Does anyone have a list or photos of the acts in the 1975 Circus World Championships in the UK? Thanks, Harry, UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3847. Anka Mirella, Miss Garcia, 08 Jan 2012 - Does anyone have any info of Anka Mirella, a corde lisse aerialist? I think she was either Serbian or German. She performed her act on 'Zirkus Zirkus' on German TV in 1982. On the same programme was a single trapeze artiste called Miss Garcia. I am not sure if this was a stage name of one of the Garcia Sisters from Ireland, or someone else altogether. Any info of her? Thanks, Harry, UK Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3846. John Ringling North, Feld Brothers, 06 Jan 2012 - I would like to find the photo showing the Feld Brothers and John Ringling North taken when RBBB Circus was sold to the Feld Brothers in Rome as I recall. I believe this photo was published in a circus book. I can’t recall the title of the book. If someone could provide the book title I would appreciate it very much. Many thanks. Patrick Wentzel – CHS, CMB, Parkersburg, WV Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3845. Mike Grelish, Giant, 06 Jan 2012 - Looking for information on Mike Grelish Irish Giant. About 1915-1925. Mary Anne. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 Jan 2011 - Mary Anne, I found this small news article published in the May 1916 issue of the Denver Post: "MARTIN SHERIDAN FINDS NEW HEAVYWEIGHT - New York, May 3. - Martin Sheridan, at one time the greatest all-around athlete, claims to have unearthed a heavyweight who can defeat Jess Willard. The next heavyweight champion, according to Martin, is a real son of Erin, Michael Sheridan Grealish, who is 24 years old, stands 7 feet 2 inches in his stockings, and possesses a reach of 92 inches. Sheridan says that he will introduce the Irish giant at the Monument stub games at Celtic park next Sunday. Grealish will start the walkers in the fifteen-mile Norfolk and New Jersey state championship." - Tom H.

    Reply: 28 Mar 2012 - Hi, Members of the Grealish family live in Mulranny, Achill, Mayo, Ireland. They are nothing to do with circus now as far as I know. best wishes, Paul Harrison.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3844. 1968 Dobritch, 03 Jan 2012 - Wanted for research!! A copy of the 1968 Dobritch International Circus program for Green Bay Wisc. Program has Emmett Kelly cover. Need original program or scans. Please help. Contact Tom Holbrook author of "The Bozo Chronicles" at bozo_history@yahoo.com or call (847) 741-1674. Thank you, Tom Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2011 - Try contacting Maureen Brunsdale at the Illinois State University [Bloomington, IL], Milner Library, Special Collections, which holds the Al Dobritch collection. Another source might be the Circus World Museum Library, where Pete Shrake will respond. If there was a local fraternal sponsor for the circus, such as the Shrine temple [Beja], the program might be filed under their name, despite being a Dobritch production and having Emmett Kelly on the cover. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Feb 2012 - The 1968 Dobritch International Circus featured Emmett Kelly "In Person" on the program covers as examples from Green Bay and Los Angeles are basically the same. As for the Green Bay date there was no Shrine or local sponsor for the circus that was produced by Alexandroff Dobritch at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena from March 1 - 3, 1968. The equestrian director and announcer was Paul Kaye, the producing clown was Alfredo Landon and the aerial director was Billy Barton. In the Los Angeles program the show featured the King of Stuntmen Evel Knievel who was to jump the Grand Canyon on Labor Day 1968. Another note in the program was that in mid summer 1968 the Circus Circus Casino on the strip in Las Vegas was to open. Jay Sarno was the president of the circus themed gambling palace and Al Dobritch was the Vice-President. John Polacsek

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3843. Capt. Curley, elephant Punch, 02 Jan 2012 - Captain Curley and Punch his elephant with Pinders Circus in France. Looking for more information on my great uncle Fred ATKINS, bn 1874 in Norfolk England. He was an Elephant trainer with Pinders Circus in France about 1900. Fred also named "Captain Curley" lived with his wife at the base of the circus Pinder, La Villedieu, Tarn-et-Garonne, in the area of Montauban. Testimonies specify that at his return from a tournée with the circus, Fred realized that his wife cuckolded him. So he disapeared suddenly. Punch, alone, became violent and was shot by 12 soldiers, called by Arthur Pinder on 1st December 1907.
    The tragic fate of Punch, the elephant in the museum of Toulouse: The stuffed elephant that sits in the museum of Tulouse. Its curators knew nothing of the tragic life of this elephant, who was shot in one in 1907 by the French army. Punch, the elephant of the Circus Pinder,is in the centre of the demonstrations which will be organized on Wednesday by the establishment on the topic of the biggest mammal of the Earth. It is in the course of the writing of an university memo on the restoration of the elephant, that Brian Aiello begins gathering data. He learns through items hidden in the archives of the museum, that this circus animal had been shot since it become dangerous. Arthur Pinder gave the skin on December 11th, 1907 in the city of Toulouse. In a book published in 1978 by Jacques Garnier, circus historian. The author, who had interviewed the son of Arthur Pinder, relates in "The stories of Lewis-James Pinder," the life and especially death of the one to whom the museum can give its true name. Everything compounded with elements in our possession, dates, precise weight in the kilogram near (3.167 kg)... Our elephant could only be Punch," says Brian Aiello. In 1907, Pinder had taken up residence near Montauban (Tarn-et-Garonn).
    After the departure of his English trainer, Curley due to marital problems, Punch entered into depression and was prey to acts of violence. He ripped and severely wounded two horses and his new German keeper. After much thought Arthur Pinder decided to seek out the French army, which selected 12 of their "best shooters." The putting to death, was carried out in front of one thousand persons. It is told by the newspaper Small Gironde: that the elephant was perfectly calm when the first shot struck. He stayed standing, but the second shot made him fold at the knees. He slowly sank and rolled onto his side. It was all over. Patricia Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3842. Anna Maria Fritz, 01 Jan 2012 - Anna Maria Fritz, 91, of Sarasota, formerly of Den Haag, Holland died Dec. 26, 2011 (Oct. 6, 1920 - Dec. 26, 2011). Memorial service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at The Pines of Sarasota Collier Auditorium, 1501 North Orange Avenue in Sarasota. Gendron Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. Survivors include her son Rudolph Fritz. For those who don't already know. Also Lynn (Pinky's wife) built a great memorial to her on facebook. It can be seen at

http://www.gendronfuneralhome.com/sitemaker/memsol.cgi?page=documents&user_id=
542397&MAIN_EVENT=MEMSOL&SUB_EVENT=VIEW_GUESTBOOK

Dorita Estes Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3841. Monkeys, Arkansas, 29 Dec 2011 - My cousins believes she saw monkeys in the Saline river bottoms in Cleveland County Arkansas as a child in the mid 1950's. Because the train tracks run through the area is it possible they may have escaped from a circus train? This is not a joke. Stacey Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3840. Circus Henry, 28 Dec 2011 - Hello I'm seeking some more information about Circus Henry if anyone can please help me. From what I've been told my grandfather "John Wertheim" and his family owned Circus Henry. His father was Emmanuel Wertheim. Their nationality was Czechoslovakian, but they spent a lot of time in Italy. Apparently the WWII broke out and the Nazis took over the circus, all the animals were confiscated and the workers fled. Possibly around 1942? Late 1930s until the war in 1942. Would love some more information if anyone knows anything! Kind regards, Olivia Donaldson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 21 Feb 2012 - I have a scrap book made by a flying act family that worked on East German circuses. It covers the late 1950's and early 1960's on Circus Henry and on Circus Barlay. I know information about Circus Barlay but not Henry. The photos show it as a small circus with a two pole tent and a dozen or more wagons. Al Stencell

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3839. Wm. P Hall, horse king, 28 Dec 2011 - I just read about the new movie "War Horse" where it said that over one million horses died serving in World War One. I would like to know how many horses and mules that William P. Hall the horse king of Lancaster Missouri, had shipped from the USA to the fighting in Europe during WWI? as I read that made him a rich man. thanks for reading my message. Big Al Renowitz Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Dec 2011 - I don't know that an approximate number has ever been determined. My recent article about Wm. P. Hall as found in the Bandwagon in the Nov./Dec. 2010 and continued in the Jan./Feb. 2011 issues reveal he was already a wealthy man before World War I broke out. 1915 to about 1917 saw his most profitable and busiest years ever, with his business actually starting to drop off after the 1917 area. He had fulfilled all horse contracts for the War years before the war ended. Interestingly, many of the horses were sent to Europe through Canada. Both issues are available as back issues through the Circus Historical Society. Bob Cline

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3838. James Davenport, acrobat, 28 Dec 2011 - My great grandfather James Davenport’s occupation was listed on my grandfather’s birth certificate in 1902 to be ‘acrobat’. My mother had always been told that this acrobat was American and had immigrated to England. However, after doing some family research, we have discovered that he was born in England in 1863. He then does not appear on any UK census records until 1901 living in Blackpool. It’s quite possible therefore that he left the UK as a child before 1871, then returned some time between 1891 and 1901 (we have censuses every 10 years in the years ending with a ‘1’). Blackpool, where he was living in 1901, is a tourist resort and had at least 3 permanent venues at that time, not least Blackpool Tower which still continues to this day. I have searched this site and found several Davenports but, sadly, not a James. I have also see that Barnum and Bailey’s Circus toured the UK, including Blackpool, in 1898 and 1899. Blackpool is not too far (40 miles or so) from Altrincham where he was born and would have offered the opportunity for permanent work. Am I adding 2 and 2 and getting 5 here or can anyone add any detail to the missing years? Thanks! RS Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3837. Buried elephant, Canton MS, 25 Dec 2011 - Would anyone here know which elephant is buried at the fairgrounds in Canton Mississippi? I believe it had died sometime in the early 1900's, and was reported to have been the largest elephant of the Ringling Bros. herd. I had first heard of this buried elephant at Canton Mississipi way back in the 1980's, apparently its become part of the town's folklore over the years but few facts given. I was wondering if may have been"Baldy"? Is it recorded when and where Baldy had died? Thank you, K.C. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3836. Miss Kae, Lady Wonder, 23 Dec 2011 - I am interested in finding information on a performer who appeared as Miss Kae - the Lady Wonder. I know only that she billed herself as: “Accomplishing the most astounding feats of strength on the silver trapeze never attempted before by any artist.” This statement is on an old circus poster in the background of a cabinet card image of her dressed for either trapeze or strongwoman work. Any help on her biography would be greatly appreciated. Please email: jan@starkcenter.org. Jan Todd, Ph.D., Professor & Roy J. McLean Fellow in Sport History, University of Texas Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3835. Charles Ringling, 20 Dec 2011 - Charles Ringling was my Great Grandfather. I am doing research on the family circus history and have come across conflicting info regarding his death. Obits claim he died in Sarastota (also my birthplace), but some history books claim he died in the house in Evanston, IL. Does anyone out there have any information that might help me answer this question of where did Charles (Karl Edward) Ringling die? Michael Lancaster Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 Dec 2011 - The most authoritative documentation for the place of death will be the death certificate issued by the municipal body governing the locale where your great-grandfather passed away. I would recommend that you start with Sarasota, Sarasota County, FL. It is a legal document that is utilized as the proof of the cause, date and location of death. Copies of death certificates, when available, can be purchased for a few dollars. In some states there’s restricted access and they’re only available in special circumstances, or to family members.
        The passing of your great-grandfather in Sarasota is poignantly related by Henry Ringling North in his family memoir “Circus Kings,” pages 204-205. He gave the location as Sarasota, at home. The volume has recently been re-issued and is readily available. You will also find a humorous account testifying to the good-hearted nature of your great-grandfather in Dixie Willson’s book. It’s a bit harder to find, but should be accessible via interlibrary loan. He was much admired and appreciated by many people. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3834. Elephant Hannibal, burial, 19 Dec 2011 - I have been curious to know if any circus historians have been able to locate and place a marker at the approx spot were the great elephant of the Van Amburgh show, "Hannibal", had died May 7th 1865. Reportedly Hannibal died near Centreville, Bedford County Pennsylvania while touring with the Thayer & Noyes show (as a result of poisoning). The local legends of Bedford Co. that been passed down over the generations are that the elephant had died just south of Centreville and was buried near the old school along the oulde George Washington road. During November 1871, Prof. H. W. Boyd of the Chicago Medical School came to Centreville and exhumed the bones of Hannibal (which still had not decomposed completely) and sent the bones to Chicago to be prepared. However local legend continues to believe that Hannibal may have been just reburied, possibly for the construction of the school. Kenton C. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 Dec 2011 - When Hannibal had died in 1865, Hyatt Frost had originally offered its carcass to the (then) new American Museum of Natural History in NYC, but the offer was declined due to to the lack of funds to secure and prepare the specimen. Also when Hannibal died, his once famous tusks that at one time were so long that they reached to the ground, were much shorter due to them having been sawn off (presumably just in front of the pulp cavities) so that only about three feet of tusk was visible with a brass ball at each end. They had been shortened because he had killed a man in Ohio a couple years earlier. What became of its famous tusks is uncertain, however I believe I did read somewhere that when Stuart Craven was his keeper, Craven kept his money and valuables in the tip end of its tusk which had been hollowed out and, then secrued it with a brass ball so no one dare approach the elephant to steal the valuables. K.C.

    Reply: 31 Dec 2011 - If anyone here would be interested in following the last recorded appearances of "Old Hannibal," here is the route that the Thayer & Noyes and Van Amburgh's menagerie had taken in May 1865.(along the old turnpike roads):
    Monday-May 1st, 1865 - Hagerstown, Maryland
    Tuesday-May 2nd - Mercersburg, PA
    Wednesday-May 3rd - Connelsville, PA
    Thursday-May 4 - Bloody Run (Everett), PA
    Friday-May 5 - Bedford, PA
    Saturday-
    Sunday-May 7th - Centreville, PA (Hannibal died there in the morning)
    Monday-May 8th - Cumberland, Maryland
    Tuesday-May 9th - Cumberland, Maryland
    (source The New York Clipper May 6, 1865, page 31) Kenton C

    Reply: 31 Dec 2011 - Here is the obit of Hannibal the elephant that had appeared in a number of newspapers in 1865. It originally appeared in the Bedford(PA)Inquirer, May 17, 1865.
        "The world-renowned performing animal, "Old Hannibal" who for almost half a century has been the greatest wonder of the animal kingdom, died in Centreville, in this county, on last Sunday morning, the 7th inst., at 7:15 o'clock A.M. Hannibal was attached to the combined menagerie and circus which exhibited here on last Friday. He displayed evidences of indisposition and feebleness several days previously at McConnellsburg, and it required great labor and perseverance to get him across the mountains to Bloody Run. On Friday he was very ill, having steadily refused food for several days. He left here on Saturday morning, with a very unsteady step for Centreville where he died on Sabbath morning.
        "Hannibal was the largest animal ever exhibited on this continent. His height was eleven feet eight inches, and his weight was ascertained to be 15,000 pounds, or seven and one-half tons. He consumed three hundred pounds of hay, three bushels of oats, and forty-six gallons of water per day. He was supposed to be in his sixty-sixth year at the time of his death. For thirty-six years he traversed this continent, at an average of 3,000 miles per year, the greatest curiosity ever exhibited to the wondering millions. The watchman who spent the last night with the living Hannibal, reports him as having been very restless during the night, frequently shifting his position,lying down and getting up. At one time he endeavorred to break loose from the stump to which he was tied. Some time before his death he got on his knees on all fours, and remained in that position half an hour. When it became apparent that his end was approaching, a crowd of persons assembled to see this ponderous and tremendously vigorous animal expire. Fears were entertained lest in his dying agonies some one might be hurt, but all precaution was unnecessary. Hannibal at the time above stated stretched himself to his full length and died without a struggle, without a quiver, as if faintly sleeping. His proprieters were telegraphed from Cumberland, who gave orders that he should be interred without robbing him of any of his natural ornaments". Kenton C.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2011 - According to the New York Clipper of May 20, 1865. The manager of the Van Amburgh menagerie had Hannibal skinned and it was to be presented to the Central Park Commisioners and to be placed in Central Park, which if so probably would have been in the old Arsenal Building near 64th street. As the present building of the American Museum of Natural History was not constructed until 1874 and opened in 1877 at its present location. The Arsenal building had some displays including the mounted skeleton of a whale that had washed up at Long Island, but whether the hide of Hannibal was ever recieved there I have not been able to find out so far, but I will e-mail the collections manager at the AMNH to see if they have any record of recieveing it. K.C

    Reply: 19 Jan 2012 - A few years ago I came across a newspaper article from the late 19th Century that had some important clues as to the exact location were the elephant Hannibal was buried. On a carriage ride from Cumberland Maryland enroute to Bedford Springs PA, a man had pointed out the spot to another passenger near the village of Centerville. He discribed it as being located "on the lands of S. Whip" (presumably Samuel Whip), and that "a Mausoleum had now been built over the spot" (a cemetery?). I also located an 1877 Atlas of Bedford County PA on-line,and it shows were a parcel of land belonging to S. Whip was near Centerville. It looks to be about a block East on the road were the school was located and looks to be on the road North of present route 220? Perhaps someone can visit Bedford County PA in the future and gather more clues. K.C

    Reply: 25 May 2012 - I came across this oulde newspaper article from 1871 concerning the exhumation of the skeleton of the famous elephant "Hannibal".
        Bedford(PN)Inquirer, November-16-1871. - Hannibal,the Elephant-Exhumed at Centerville-. "A correspondent at Centerville this county, informs us that the bones of Hannibal the mammoth elephant which was attached to Thayer & Noyes menagerie and which died and was buried near that place on the 7th of May 1865, were exhumed on Saturday last under the supervision of Dr. H.W Boyd, professor of anatomy in the Chicago Medical College. It is the purpose of Dr. Boyd to place the skeleton in the museum of that college. The hide and tallow of the deceased monster were found in a state of almost perfect preservation. The bones filled two large boxes and a sugar hogshead barrel. Report has it that the skeleton of Hannibal is valued at $3,000.00." Kenton C.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3833. Circus Vargas, 19 Dec 2011 - I'm trying to remember the names of a couple who ran Circus Vargas back in the late 70s early 80s, both their first names started with Z. CJ Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 14 Aug 2012 - Latze & Lutze Toth, also Wally Norton (bear's). Steve Baker

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3832. Flying Dorians, 19 Dec 2011 - I am trying to find some information on the Flying Dorian(s). They were Bill and Bertha "Harrod" Dorian and were my great aunt and uncle. I know very little except supposedly they were with Ringling Brothers I'd say around 1890-1915 or thereabouts, had a practice place in Indiana (Bertha from Kokomo) and were very particular about setting up their wires, etc. I know that Bill died prior to 1921 as Bertha is alone then and cariing for her aged father, Jesse, in Kokomo, IN. I have a picture of Bertha & Bill Dorian on the back of a train with my grandparents William & Bernice Harrod probably dated around 1912. Any help appreciated. Betty Whipple, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3831. Ross Paul, ringmaster, 18 Dec 2011 - Ross R. Paul Sr., Ring Master Pollack Brothers Circus. My father is Ross Paul. I am looking for a home for all of his papers, pictures, costumes, etc. If anyone can tell me of a museum or a collection that specializes in the Pollack Brothers Circus. I would love to hear from you. Thanks, Brian Paul. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3830. Wilhelm Max Paul Gottschalk, 18 Dec 2011 - I would like to find information about Wilhelm Max Paul Gottschalk who was a German artist at a circus. In 1913 he was living in Berlin at karlStrAsse 20a. He was married at a spanish lady called. Angela Dolores MarTineZ, who on the 18 march gave birth to his son Josef Oskar Karl Gottschalk, who was my grand father. Thank you very much. Gemma Escobedo Gottschalk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3829. RBBB May 18, 1936, 16 Dec 2011 - I have a ticket, dated "May 18, 1936," for the afternoon performance. My father, mother and brother were there and I remember a big thunderstorm going on. According to my deceased father, "Many were killed and injured." The ticket is marked "Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey circus." My father was in the Navy at the time, and we were living in Quarters S, at the Naval Gun Factory, in Washington D.C. I do remember my father using a pocket knife to cut the tent and get us out and none of us was injured. Can't figure out why the local newspapers didn't carry anything about it. Charles F. Jackson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Dec 2011 - In the nation’s capital on Tuesday, May 19, 1936, the temperature dropped from a high of 91 at 3 p.m. in the afternoon to 76 degrees two hours later as a violent storm struck the city and nearly blew down the Ringling circus big top. Local newspapers reported that dark clouds caused street lights to turn on mid-afternoon though the worst of the afternoon storm squalls were eclipsed by heavy late night rains that flooded many Washington streets. An ailing John Ringling, the last of the founding brothers, was scheduled to attend the afternoon performance to celebrate the 53rd anniversary debut of his family circus which had given its first show in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on May 19, 1884. Lightning struck the ridge pole of the horse tent stunning five circus employees and the resulting thunder clap caused a near-panic in the big top. Over an inch of rain fell between 3:20 and 4:00 and water collecting on the tent ripped through the canvas over the spectators causing them to scramble down overturned seats to mill around the middle of the tent. Circus workers and local firemen clung to dancing poles, including a center pole reported to have jumped five feet off the ground. Forty-mile an hour winds caused a tent pole to strike and kill a 13 year old Shenandoah, Virginia, girl attending the afternoon circus performance. The show was suspended for 10 minutes but when it resumed, only about half of the 14-15,000 people who had bought tickets returned to see the remainder of the show. The evening show was given to a packed tent and performances the next day were also nearly sold out before the show moved on to its next engagement in Baltimore. A family of three filed three separate suits against the circus for damage as did one other injured circus goer for a total of $35,000. It was a bad week for circuses as the next day in Burley, Idaho, the big top and menagerie tents of the Tom Mix Circus were blown down, injuring Mix and three other circus men. – Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3828. Max Gruber, 16 Dec 2011 - I recently found your website and was pleased to find my Great Grandfather Max Gruber on your site. My brother and I are digging up and doing research on him. His act was Max Gruber's Oddities of the Jungle with his elephant Eva, a dog and a zebra. If you have anything in regards to information about him or photos, this would be AMAZING! thank you thank you, and you can also see more about him here: http://www.actorscolony.com/grubers.htm. Matt Gruber Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Dec 2011 - Hello Matt, Max was in show business a long time. I have found him with an elephant named Minnie from 1911 to 1913 in various issues of Billboard. The best I have found so far indicates he got Eva in 1933. I don't know where she came from. He had her until 1942 appearring as an act booked in various places to travelling with the Tom Mix Show in 1936 and 1937 then spending the last five years with Bud Anderson's Jungle Oddities Show. Eva was killed in a truck wreck in 1942. If Max continued in the business after that, I don't know. I only tried to follow the elephants histories. Bob Cline

    Reply: 18 Dec 2011 - Last summer, a well-illustrated circus history website known as “Buckles Blog” had some material about Gruber that can be viewed at http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2011_06_18_archive.html to which I added additional material that can be viewed at http://bucklesw.blogspot.com/2011/07/from-richard-flint.html Be sure to click on the “Comments” link below each picture to read good material by readers of the blog, one of whom is a retired circus animal trainer of great standing who remembers seeing Gruber. In addition, while reading issues of Billboard, the weekly trade paper to the amusement business, I’ve seen a number of ads for the act. For example, there is one on Mar 13, 1915 (p28) with a half-tone photo showing Minnie the elephant, a horse and rider (Adelina?), Shetland pony, and St. Bernard dog all in a long mount (front legs on hindquarters of animal in front). Also, this query should be linked to number 3743 below, “Max Gruber, Jungle Oddities,” dated 6 Sept 2011 and sent in by Gruber’s only living grandson (your father?), Murray Gruber. Gruber had two sons as I understand, Max Alfred (1898-1952) born in Germany and Alfred (1903-?) born in England. – Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3827. Fossett's - Clem, lion tamer, 16 Dec 2011 - Hi, my name is Becky and I live in Northampton England. As a child in the 1960's I used to visit Robert Fossett's winter quarters in Northampton with my parents Alf and Emily Carter to see Clem who was the lion tamer, his wife who was a trapeze artist and their daughter Tina. I'm not sure how my parents new Clem, but I do recall cups of tea in their caravan which had a lion skin on the floor. Uncle Clem as I knew him, was I think originally from Germany, but I can't be too sure. Their daughter TIna and I both attended Madame Pitt Dragons ballet school in Abington Northampton and we were good friends. On my visits to the winter quarters I was allowed to watch Uncle Clem feed the big cats and, occasionally if he was training the lions, tigers and black panther, Tina and I would climb to the top of the hay bales by the training ring and look down into the ring while he put the cats through their routines. This has always been one of my favourite memories, closely followed by feeding the mother elephant and stroking the baby elephant. I would love to be able to contact Tina and to find out how my parents knew her parents and where they went when the winter quarters closed. Fond regards, Becky Page (nee Rebecca Carter) Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Dec 2011 - The man you are talking about was 'Clem' (Clemente) Merk - I have an old business card of his lying on my desk as I type this! Go to the message archive of this website to #49. Clem Merk, lion tamer. There is also mention of him at Jamie Clubb's blog at http://jamieclubb.blogspot.com/2009/05/bouncer-wagon.html - you could try contacting Jamie with your questions? There is a newspaper article about him at:
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19480121&id=w3INAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Dk8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=5652,25996
    ... and another at http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1948/feb/18/circus-manchester-incidents
        I hope this helps? He was a very nice man. jim@stockley.co.za

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3826. Van Amburgh "song", 15 Dec 2011 - I heard a bit of a song on the TV Show "Fringe":

"Van Amburgh is the man
Who goes to all the shows
He steps into the lion's den
And teaches them all he knows

He puts his head in the lion's mouth
.....
The hyena in the next cage...
.....

For when he's mad
He swings his tail
and makes an awful noise"

I was wondering if the song was/is legitimate(?) and if there were in existence the rest of the song. My email address is ltj1@aol.com if you care to contact me with any further information. Troy Jones Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Dec 2011 - A simple Google search of the first line provided an answer concerning “Van Amburgh’s Menagerie,” complete with illustrations of the original sheet music for the tune in question. https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/14693 The piece was copyrighted in 1865, the same year that the man it idolizes passed away. One wonders if he ever heard the ditty. Be advised that Van Amburgh never owned any equity in any of the shows that bore his name. He was solely an employee of them.
        Van Amburgh’s name remained in intermittent use before the public through 1921, a term of 99 years by Stuart Thayer’s count; but in 28 of those years it laid fallow, yielding 71 years of actual presence. That was exceeded by the utilization of Clyde Beatty’s name, which tallies over 80 years of actual usage, nearly continuous. I’ve not heard of a song composed and published that aggrandizes Clyde Beatty’s presence, but Dave Price will surely know if one exists. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 18 Dec 2011 - Good Lord, Fred, I am shocked. Shocked and appalled. Have you forgotten that 1971 hit "Clyde Beattie" (sic) by Humphrey and the Dumptrucks, issued by Boot Records in Toronto? I sing or at least whistle it daily while the coffee's perking and I assumed everyone else did the same. Dave Price

    Reply: 18 Dec 2011 - In his multi-volume Circus and Allied Arts bibliography, Raymond Toole-Stott quotes this ditty known as “The Menagerie or Showman’s Song” and, without citing a source, states it was popular in England at Eton in the 1860s. Van Amburgh had appeared in England frequently from the late 1830s and through the 1840s where he was quite a sensation and a favorite of Queen Victoria. The young queen had a giant portrait painted of Van Amburgh among his animals and the Duke of Wellington also commissioned a similar painting from the same artist, Sir Edwin Landseer, now at Yale’s Center for British Art. I have a small undated 19th-century broadside of six verses, one more than appears in a sheet music edition I also have titled “Van Amburgh’s Menagerie, a Comic Song” published in 1865 and credited to “Dr. W. J. Wetmore” (active as a composer at least by 1838 and until after the Civil War). While verses 2-6 of my broadside, titled “The Elephant Song,” discuss an “African [sic] Polar Bear,” baboon, anaconda, hyena, and condor, verses 2-5 of the sheet music sing of the polar bear (a variant of the verse in my broadside), a peacock and kangaroo, a monkey, and an eagle. The first verse in both printings is similar in its story line though not word for word: “Old Van Amburgh is the man that runs all these ere shows” in the sheet music verses “Van Amburgh is the man / Who goes with all the shows” in my broadside; compare these with the variation quoted by the sender of the question. Quite likely, the sheet music merely attempted to codify a few variations of many verses of an already widely popular song or poem that had been disseminated (perhaps) by the talking clowns found in the early circus, many of whom also sold broadside verse, joke books, and songsters as souvenirs of their entertainment. Versions of the ditty were reprinted in some college song books of the early 20th-century and I have met a number of people who kindly wrote out verses they knew from their oral tradition, not knowing that Van Amburgh was a real and once very famous person who did indeed “put his head in the Lion’s mouth.” – Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3825. Hyattsville, MD 1930s, 14 Dec 2011 - I remember being in attendance at a circus, near Hyattsville, MD in the 1930s. The main tent pole was hit by lightning and the crowd panicked. A thundershower was going on and animals were running around. My father managed to cut through the tent behind the stands where we were seated. Haven't been able to find anything on-line about it. Believe it was a Barnum & Bailey circus and the date was around 1937-38. Can anyone help? Charles Jackson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 18 Dec 2011 - Hyattsville isn’t on the RBBB route in the time frame that you specified, Washington DC was played and the show had a blowdown there in 1936. Go to query 3829 and then to 3032 for the incident that you probably experienced. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3824. Ringling mansion, 13 Dec 2011 - Hi, I'm from Baraboo WI and I was wondering if there was any information out there on the Ringling mansions, specifically the big yellow one on 8th street. I want to also know the name of the last descendent. I would like to contact him for information on the house. The yellow mansion has been rented out and the people living there are trashing the place. They have Harley Davidson flags on the side of the house, Christmas lights up year long, and they also have children's toys and random things all over the lawn. I am dissapointed in this because our historical society was in need of a new building, why can't they have the Ringling home? Haley Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 Dec 2011 - Make an appointment to visit the Circus World Museum library at 415 Lynn Street. They have files on the house and the involved families. The contact is Pete Shrake, 608-356-8341, or visit the museum website. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3823. Irene Sims, trapeze, 09 Dec 2011 - Need information whether or not a trapeze artist (trainee possibly) in the Bertram Mills Circus, had an accident where she fell into or onto a lions cage! This I believe was between 1960-1980 she supposedly died two years later through her injuries, and presumably her name was Irene Sims. Any info on this matter would be very much appreciated. Regards Ray Curtis, raywcurtis@btinternet.com Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3822. Gabriel Tucker, 09 Dec 2011 - I have found the name Gabriel Tucker on the list in the elephant sections of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus "Routes" 1941 and 1942. He was a friend of my parents at that time. After my parents passed, my aunt told me Gab Tucker was my real father. She recalled my mother telling her that he was killed by an elephant he was handling preparing to travel to the next town. He got between a box car and the elephant and the animal crushed him against the box car. Further, the Superintendant shot and killed the elephant? 1942 was the last year Mr. Tucker's name appeared as an elephant handler in any "Route". I would like to find out all I can about this. Where, when, what happened to Mr. Tucker. Thank you for any information you can find! Harold E. Baker Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 Dec 2011 - Gabe Tucker was killed by elephant Lucy on the Clyde Beatty-Russell Bros Circus on July 14, 1944 in Chehalis, Washington. This was a truck show so it would have been a truck and not have been a railroad car that he was crushed against. The elephant was not executed but lived a number of years after the tragedy. I believe this information came from George "Slim" Lewis' book Elephant Tramp. From some now-forgotten source I also have the statement that Tucker was a brother-in-law to Cheerful Gardner, a leading elephant man of the period. Dave

    Reply: 12 Dec 2011 - Dave, post #2426 on this website seems to confirm what you are saying about Cheerful Gardner and Gabe Tucker being brothers in law. "Cheerful Gardner, 13 May 2008 - Hello,can anyone tell me when Cheerful Gardner died and where he is buried? At one time my great aunt was married to him. Her name was Mary Tucker Gardner" - jim@stockley.co.za
        I found a newspaper cutting from Ellensburg Daily Record (Jul 15, 1944) about the incident at
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19440715&id=TEgKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mUoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3258,2889448
        And another from St. Petersburg Times (Jul 16, 1944) at
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19440716&id=emc1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=004DAAAAIBAJ&pg=4337,6768603

    Reply: 29 Dec 2011 - To Jim: Cheerful Gardner was born July 18, 1885. He died on March 17, 1952, and is buried in Pacific Coast Showmans Rest, at Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, California. Roger Smith, steelarena314@hotmail.com.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3821. Digger Pugh girls, 08 Dec 2011 - My Mom (Shirley Watson (Ruzowski) and Aunt Judy Watson (Balcombe) were in the circus in the 1950's - 1960's. They were both Digger Pugh girls. If anyone was or knows of anyone that was a Digger Pugh girl and wants to reunite with old friends please contact me. Thanks, Michelle Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3820. Exhibition balloonist, 08 Dec 2011 - Dear Circus Historians: I am compiling the flying history of my 94 year old flying instructor Dick Cooke (long time retired). I am thinking of naming it something like, “From Barnstorming to Bombers” or something similar. He became a WWII primary flight instructor and bomber pilot instructor. He wrote many short stories and recollections of his flying activities. In the beginning, he made a reference to his dad’s uncle. His dad’s name was Frederick Cooke. The uncle is the subject of this letter. I have already put together the bulk of Dick’s stories, but I got interested in trying to find out a little more about the “missing uncle.” The information is not absolutely needed for the book, but it would be a nice touch if there is some historical perspective that I might include. All of the information that we know is below. I admit, there is not a lot of information to work with. The scope of the search is similar to the needle in the haystack. So, I am calling on your knowledge to help me narrow down some of the places to look or find the real name. Dick’s “pea patch” as he calls it, was in the small towns just east of Cleveland, Ohio. His flying career started in the 1930’s. Thank you, Dan K, Austin, Texas
    This is a long story and I doubt if it can be solved because it goes back to the early 1900s and the name of the person involved is not exact. In the early nineteen hundreds my dad's uncle was an exhibition balloonist, parachutist and airplane pilot. He did acrobatics on a trapeze as he ascended with the balloon. I don't know his last name but I think it was similar to Drovkoski?? It would have been the same as my grandmother's maiden name. In advertising his balloon exhibitions he used stage names such as Dale, Drost, Daley, etc. Names usually starting with a "D" He was the brother of my dad's mother (my grandmother), Augusta Cooke. I don't know her maiden name. She was married to my grandfather in the early 1890s, I believe in or near Cleveland, Ohio. While coaching a young balloonist with no experience, the young fellow landed in the Baldwin water reservoir on the southeast side of Cleveland and was drowned. My great uncle ?? broke his back when landing across a railroad track. He was also impaled on a short tree 'stubble' that went up through his lower jaw and into the roof of his mouth. I believe that was somewhere in Michigan. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3819. Circus Retirement Project, 07 Dec 2011 - Rev Jerry Hogan has announced that the annual meeting for the Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project will be held at 10:00 AM on January 9, 2012, at St. Martha's Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida. For additional information or comment, e-mail Rev Hogan at CircusRev@aol.com or Dorita Estes at WRAC@aol.com. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3818. RBBB color scheme, 07 Dec 2011 - Please tell me where I can find the color scheme for the RBBB train and the 1953 tents. wjk Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Dec 2011 - Joseph T. Bradbury published an extensive history of RBBB’s annual tours, covering 1932 to 1956, in the CFA journal White Tops. The 1953 season started in the May-June 1989 issue. You can ascertain the coverage in the White Tops index on this website. The data you seek will likely be in those articles. You may have to examine more than one year, as in some cases Joe only announced when changes were being made; practices continued from seasons before were not remarked upon. The season of 1953 was adequately late that there will also be color slides, prints and film in existence for the tour. You might check with the various publicly-held circus collections to assess their holdings; some color images may be readily accessible on line, or already in print, as in the Taschen book Circus!. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3817. Marie Susan le Bras, 07 Dec 2011 - Hi all, I'm trying to find info on a Marie Susan le Bras apparently she was a bare back horse rider in the Fillis circus, South Africa (and my great grandmother). Can anyone confirm this info for me? Shane Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3816. Old Bet, 06 Dec 2011 - I would like to know the route Old Bet the elephant and his keeper took to get to Maine before he was shot and killed there. Thanks for any response. Richard Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 13 Dec 2011 - You would like to know which towns and taverns the elephant and keeper visited that month before Old Bett was shot near Round Pond in York County Maine in 1817? I think most likely they had traveled along the old Atlantic Coast highway (U.S Route no.1), as that is the oldest highway in America which dates back to the 17th century and connected the 13 colonies.
        Actually old Bet was killed in 1816. There is a historical marker located near Alfred Maine were it was supposed to have been killed but I dont know if its at the exact spot it was. As far as roads that it and its keeper traveled. The Elephant Inn at Somers New York is located right on a section of the old Boston Post Road which connected Boston and New York City since around the 1670's. There was a book published last year on the Boston Post Road,entitled The King's Best Highway by Eric Jaffe. K. C.

    Reply: 16 Dec 2011 - I did a little more search about the highways and byways of America ca. 1800. In June of 1792, the US Congress established a post road for mail delivery. It stretched from Wiscasset,district of Maine to Savannah Georgia (approx, 1,180 miles). So if Old Bet and its keeper had walked on foot to Maine from Somers New York. They would have gone through these towns each which had a post office, and also perhaps a coffee house or tavern in a lot if not most. New York City - Stamford - Norwalk - Fairfield - Stratford - New Haven - Middletown - Hatford - Springfield - Worcester - Boston - Salem - Ipswich - Newburyport - Portsmouth - Portland. K.C

    Reply: 17 Dec 2011 - Sincere thanks for the the replies to my inquiry about Old Bet and his trek to Maine. I will look up the book you referred to. I'd like to know more about the Old Post Road. I had heard that Old Bet and his trainer were in Springfield, MA so I suspect your thinking is quite correct. Thanks again. Richard Hamilton, CHS

    Reply: 21 Dec 2011 - Its possible that once Old Bet and its keeper reached Maine (either by road or ship). Once it got to Portland it may have taken another post road that was established in York County Maine June-1-1810. That post road's route stretched from Portland - Gorham - Buxton - Limerick - Limington - Cornish - Parsonsfield - Newfield - Shapleigh - Lebanon - Berwick - Sanford - Alfred - Waterborough - Phillipsburg (Hollis) - Buxton. The farmer who shot Old Bet was from Shapleigh I believe, so it may have made an appearence there at a marketplace or tavern. The person to ask about old Bet tho would be Bruce Tucker, president of the Alfred Historical Society. He has done lectures on old Bet earlier this year. I think you can contact him at the Alfred Shaker Museum in Alfred Maine. K.C.

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3815. Circus, Susquehanna PA, 06 Dec 2011 - I am looking for information on a circus that went bankrupt in the 1930's at, or around, the area of Susquehanna. Pa. When this unfortunate incident occurred, the performers stayed in our rural small town area. Joseph Schnobels (or Schnabels) the clown became a beloved policeman in our town and I have found verification of a contortionist named "Specks Normile" but nothing more. Supposedly, there was a bearded lady and I'm not sure who else was in the troupe. I found Burns M. Kattenburg's research but am unable to access the photo of Specks that is housed in the archives at Harvard. Any information would be appreciated greatly. Thanking you in advance for your attention to this matter. Nancy L. Narma, tenderheart@echoes.net Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3814. Dan Boyington, animal trainer , 05 Dec 2011 - Hello, I would like to know if anyone has the DOB and DOD of Professor ”Uncle” Dan Boyington – famed animal/mule trainer. I have tons of information regarding his work but nothing on his private life or the information requested. Thank you so much! mulelady@frontiernet.net for replies. Deb Kidwell Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 Dec 2011 - The Billboard, October 9, 1915, page 19, published this obituary: "BOYINGTON—Uncle Dan Boyington, trainer for the 101 Ranch Show for a number of years, and later manager of the Boyington-Mallory Animal School, died at Mercer, Pa., on September 25. He leaves a boat load of friends in the profession." Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 14 Dec 2011 - Daniel S. Boyington is my great-grandfather on my mother's side. My sister and cousin have been researching our ancestors and have him being born Dec. 24, 1847 in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Was a private in the Civil War for the Union, discharged 1864. He married my great-grandmother, Susan Amanda in Plattville, Colorado. 4 children: Chauncey S., Celia Wealthy, Emmet Eugene, and my grandmother, Bessie Amanda (Boyington) who lived in Colorado Springs. Ralph W. Watson, Austin, Tx

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3813. Helen Greenwood, 05 Dec 2011 - I was told as a child that my Grandfathers 2nd wife a tattoo lady in a circus. I have discovered that my Grandfather John Lindahl married Helen Krushy Greenwood in Philadelphia in 1946. Was she a “Tattoo Lady”? Thank you, Carole L. Hallman Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3812. Carr Brothers, clowns, 04 Dec 2011 - I've searched high and low for info on my wife's great-uncles who were clowns throughout their lives in the 1900s. They were apparently sons from a line of professional clowns. They worked with all of the major circus acts worldwide. In his obit, there is a description of Robert Carr and his brother Frederick giving a clown performance to the Czar of Russia when they were 8 and 12 years old. Robert (died in Toronto 1975 at 91 years) spoke 5 languages fluently including Russian, and he was the Toronto Eaton's Store clown for many years. His brother Frederick died in the 1930s. I hope someone can help me in my quest for more info on Robert and his brother Frederick. Thanks for any help you all might be. Phil Johnson Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 Jan 2011 - As an addendum to my request above, here is some more info that might help. He and his brother toured for 12 years after WW1 in North America with Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, and with the Sells-Floto Circus performing with a film star named Tom Mix. In 1932, Robert only toured in Canada with his brother as the Canadian Clowns Royal at theatres and fairs. Hopefully someone out there has more info on them for me. Phil. My Website:
    http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/johno/Guillaume_%28Billy_Jr%29_Johnson__His_Story,_Our_History/Home.html

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3811. Moskvitch circus, 29 Nov 2011 - Want to know about Moskvitch circus in 1935. Vic Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Jan 2014 - Hello, Saw your post on the Circus History Message board re: Moskvitch Circus. This circus belonged to my family. Perhaps I can assist with your enquiry, Regards, Mark Moskvitch

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3810. Poster, Pomeroy WA, 29 Nov 2011 - I am looking for any circus poster from the 1920's to 1950's for any circus that appeared in the town of Pomeroy Washington. Thanks for any help, ideas, or a poster that may be available. Gail Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 Dec 2011 - Finding a poster for any circus that had visited Pomeroy [2009 population about 1300] would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. As a smaller community, few shows would have visited it, and the survival of posters would be a minute possibility. It is possible that you might find a poster from a show that played a Pomeroy engagement, but it may not exist with a Pomeroy date tag. With careful research, it’s possible to create the requisite piece.
        A date likely meant the show found it a convenient spot along the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Line tracks, which opened in mid-1886 [later a part of the UPRR, operations terminated in 1981]. Most, but not necessarily all, Pomeroy dates were likely conducted by railroad shows.
        Norris & Rowe was there on May 20, 1908 and Al G. Barnes on June 1, 1915. The Jones brothers-owned Cole Bros. show was there on June 27, 1917 and Sells-Floto scheduled a visit in 1918, July 3, but the date was lost owing to a railroad wreck [between Moscow, Idaho and Walla Walla, WA dates]. These are all on the CHS website, but are before your 1920 start date. All of these troupes had general “western” reputations, but their routes took them cross country. Shows that endured a period of time eventually did a northwestern route, to present their title in new territory. Candidates would be the Clyde Beatty Circus and the 1947 Sparks Circus.
        One or more historians may be able to check their route holdings for you, but the broadest holding of circus routes for Washington state is contained within the Michael D. Sporrer collection at the Circus World Museum library. Unfortunately, the nature of the search that is mandated would likely exceed staff capability and require a personal visit or the hiring of a researcher.
        As an aside, a quick Google search conducted in an attempt to help you revealed that a community near Pomeroy, Pahata City, was platted by a gentleman named Angevine June Titus and Company Favor, better known as “Vine” Favor. His parents reportedly named him in honor of the show they’d attended the day before his birth. The troupe’s actual title was June, Titus, Angevine & Co., but the parents likely did not want their son known as “June” [or presumably “Sue,” or whatever]. The Angevine name was active in show business through 1842 and a biography of namesake Caleb Sutton Angevine (1798-1859) is available on this website, in Slout’s Olympians of the Sawdust Circle. It’s surely a unique application of traveling show experience. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3809. Elephant Burma, 29 Nov 2011 - In the early 1970’s we lived in Newberry Park (Thousand Oaks area), CA. We took some children after school one day. They lived up in the hills off a dirt road. Just before we got to their home, we saw an elephant by the side of the road. We stopped to see the elephant on our way back and found it was Burma. The man who greeted us said he was caretaker for many retired movie and circus animals and invited in. He had the original Cheeta from the Tarzan movies, a horse that could walk on its hind legs, a parrot that swore like a Dutch sailor, camels, zebras. We saw Burma on an almost daily basis until we left the area about a year later. Do you know the name of the man who kept these animals, and do you know if Burma is still alive? Thank you. Kris & Ted Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 10 Dec 2011 - Kris & Ted. The man you are referring to was Tony Gentry. When Jungleland closed, many of us continued working, but Tony retired. Another semi-retired compound alumnus found an old chimp no one wanted, and gave him to Tony for something to do. Tony tried to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for this chimp, whom he claimed was Cheetah from the Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker Tarzan films. Careful investigation discovered it could not have been, and the star was denied. Tony had a multi-faceted career, including working for Frank "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Buck, on circuses, and in film and TV work with a variety of animals. He died at 86. I have no information on Burma, and refer you to Buckles Web Log where your inquiry will find better attention. Good luck. Roger Smith, steelarena314@hotmail.com.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership



3808. Ronald W. Watson, 26 Nov 2011 - Hello, my name is Nancy Watson. My father-in-law had a brother named Ronald Watson. He was from the Utica, NY area and we believe he joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930's and 1940's. His name appears in their staff lists as working and supervising with the Wardrobe department. My family is interested to finding out if he has any surviving family. We believe he wintered with the circus in Sarasota, Florida. Any information or guidance in our search would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Nancy Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 29 Nov 2011 - A quick Google search confirmed an entry for him as RBBB Supt. Of Wardrobe for 1943. He was listed as an employee of the department in the 1941 route book. The last readily available circus document for your father-in-law’s brother will be his Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey employment card. You can obtain a copy by contacting pshrake@circusworldmuseum.com. That will provide his last known address while he labored for the circus, as well as next of kin. After that it becomes a genealogical search. If you’re reasonably certain that he resided in the vicinity of Sarasota [or Bradenton and other communities nearby], you can check city directories to establish when he’s last listed.
        The quickest way to identify and locate offspring might be to use an online search service, or to seek the support of a local genealogy group that can counsel you on how to accomplish the search. You need to establish a date of death. With the date of death you can often locate a published obituary, an internment record or a will that will name survivors. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

    Reply: 30 Nov 2011 - I am thrilled to receive his message and so very thankful. I have a niece (other side of the family) who is quite talented with genealogy search and I may ask for her assistance, now that there is some direction on where to start. I will inquire about the employment card and take it from there. I will also be sure to provide Mr. Dahlinger an update. Many thanks! Nancy Watson

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3807. Victor & Victoria Nelson, 25 Nov 2011 - My name is Victoria Vining. My grandparents were in the circus for a time and I have tried without result to find what circus they traveled with. Would you be able to help me find this out? Their names were Victor and Victoria Nelson. Victor owned a gorilla named Babe and Victoria had boa constrictor snakes and did shows with them. I believe they travelled around 1940 in the Louisiana area. I would so like this information to pass on to my children. There is no one still alive that can tell me anything regarding this, so if you could help in anyway, I would be greatful. God bless you! Vicky Vining Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Join now! Join CHS today! Membership



3806. CWM yellow tickets, 22 Nov 2011 - I'm hoping someone here will know an obscure seeming abbreviation from Circus World Museum's library's yellow tickets? The librarian doesn't know and though I've used the yellow tickets a lot, I've not come across this abbreviation: na. As in: bpt-na-77. I get bpt= PT Barnum, and 77 is the year. But what is na? Thanks, Amelia K. Osterud Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 Nov 2011 - I wonder if "na" might refer to John J Nathans, one of the group then managing the show. Incidentally in 1877 the "second generation" Flatfoots: Nathans, George F Bailey and Lewis June, took the show to Australia and South America. Dave

    Reply: 24 Nov 2011 - na = newspaper advertisement. There should be a listing of the abbreviations and acronyms utilized by Bob Parkinson and hires/volunteers when they compiled the yellow tickets. Hopefully in the future all of the original documents that were abstracted for the project will be available in digital form with key word searching. Until then, the yellow tickets remain a great finding aid for people. Be aware that selective aspects of some documents, such as workingmen’s names, were not included. Thus, a guy like Bill Hill, who rose from laboring in a tent crew to an owner position won’t have his earliest employment listed. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3805. Tent Fire, 20 Nov 2011 - I am trying to find out if there was a German or Hungarian Circus Tent Fire involving two brothers. I would guess it was a generation ago (or certainly 50 years and farther back). Please let me know. I believe one of the two brothers (maybe the younger brother) was killed in the fire. And he was possibly the one who accidentally set it. Any information is appreciated. Chrysty Beverley Fortner Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Explore, Enjoy circus history with Bandwagon, join CHS today! Membership



3804. Kurt Dubrow, Bertam Mills, 18 Nov 2011 - I am trying to find out some more information and maybe even a picture of my late father Kurt Dubrow who used to do the liberty horses and zebras in Bertram Mills Circus. I have tried searches but have found out very little. Ingrid Dubrow Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 19 Nov 2011 - Ingrid, there seems to be some film of him available to buy at: http://www.itnsource.com/shotlist//RTV/1957/11/14/BGY502240112/?s=reel. "Two of the High School Horses, Smuggler, ridden by Kurt Dubrow and Erga, ridden by Phyllis Allan, also take their turn in the ring." Have you contacted David Jamieson at CFA or Kingpole magazine? He published a book on Bertram Mills and may have pictures? There is another item at http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-vista-screen-bertram-mills-162325819. jim@stockley.co.za

    Reply: 18 Jan 2016 - I remember Kurt Dubrow in the 1950s. I lived in Wakefield Yorkshire as a child, he married Nora (or Norah) Sampson whose parents were friends of my parents. They lived on Oxford Street, Belle Vue, Wakefield, I think the house was number 8. Kurt gave us tickets and I went with my parents to see Bertram Mills Circus, was thrilled to see the horses, Kurt was with them, later he introduced us to the elephant trainer and other Circus staff. Nora was a lovely young lady, I had seen her many times when she was in Kirby's Flying Ballet. She and Kurt had a baby boy. We moved to another part of Wakefield, and lost touch with the Sampson / Dubrow family. My parents died in 1974. I have lived in Florida since 1992. Sorry I do not have any more information. Maggie Ryan, Orlando FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3803. Pinders Circus, France, 16 Nov 2011 - My name is Pat, I'm from Wales in the UK. I'm trying to trace events of my great uncle Fred Adkins, aka Fred Atkins. Sometime between 1891 and 1912, Fred was an elephant trainer with Pinders Circus in France. I have photos but they are not dated. One of the photos says "Curley et son Elephant Punch." He also is shown on a photo with Ringlands. I would be most grateful if anyone can help me with information. Thank you. Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Why join CHS? Find out here - Membership



3802. James A. Bailey's home, 14 Nov 2011 - Hello, My wife and I are the proud owners of James A. Bailey's Harlem home, built in 1888. It is a fee standing limestone house with a slate roof that we are currently restoring. We are very interested in viewing any historic photos of the house, especially from the time that it was owned by the Mr. Bailey. (We have seen a couple of exterior photos but nothing from the interior.) Thank you, Martin Spollen Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 17 Nov 2011 - Congratulations on acquiring one of the great circus proprietor homes of the past. Bailey's subsequent manse, The Knolls in Mt. Vernon, NY, was demolished years ago. It's a remote possibility, but you might check repositories in that vicinity, in the event a photograph of a Bailey home was deposited there, but is incorrectly identified as the later structure.
        I don't recall seeing an interior image of the Bailey mansion, but that doesn't mean one exists in some obscure format. Few homes occupied by circus proprietors have seldom been studied or documented in detail. They survive in Baraboo [Ringlings], Sarasota [Ringlings], New Jersey [Ringling], Cincinnati [John Robinson], Peru, IN [Mugivan], Oklahoma [Lillie], Wyoming [Cody] and Columbus, OH [Sells], and presumably elsewhere. Billboard magazine did publish a visual survey of photographs in the early 1900s, the broadest array of images known to me personally. Bailey's Knolls was then his residence, having superseded the Harlem location.
        Perhaps one of the following searches will reveal an image of interest and value to you.
        The bulk of James A. Bailey's papers passed into the possession of his brother-in-law, Joseph T. McCaddon. They were deposited at the library at Princeton University and can be accessed there by prior appointment. You might check the online register for the holdings for photos of Bailey's manse.
        Other Bailey papers were withheld by the McCaddon family from the donation and dispersed at public auction a couple decades back. These were acquired by private individuals, public collections, etc. You might check the holdings at the Hoblitzelle collection in Texas, which bought some of the offered photographs of Bailey as a young man.
        Certain photographers catered to society, the wealthy and so on and documented their homes. You might check the images by Byron and others at the New York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, etc.
        Many years ago [c1930s] a project was undertaken to document all structures in the metro New York area. These images have been processed recently and may provide an external view of your structure.
        It's possible that one or more departments of the city might hold documents for the home, submitted as part of the process to obtain a building permit, water or sewer service, electrical power [1888 would have been very early for electric], etc. There are surely people in NYC that will know exactly what records have been preserved and where they might be located and examined.
        The local New York papers may have covered the construction and initial occupancy of the mansion. Searching those that are available digitally would be a quick route.
        Architectural journals of the period can also be consulted. You might find that one of the metro New York universities or libraries has a focus on architectural work in the area. If you can identify the name of the architect, that may also lead to surviving drawings, contracts, etc.
        If I recall the circumstances correctly, yours was the house that Bailey had designed and erected during his time away from the circus, mid 1885-late 1887. He cited it as proof that he'd not lost his ability to act rationally, contrary to claims made about him by others. Subsequently, that period has generally been written about as a period when he'd suffered a mental breakdown, but exact proof has never been discovered. In that sense, the structure stands as a personal testimony to Bailey's functional capability during a very difficult time in his life.
        Bailey spent the daylight hours in Barnum & Bailey's New York office, and would periodically visit the show's winter quarters in Bridgeport, CT, maybe once a week. In the evening, he retreated to the confines of the home, joining his beloved wife, Louisa, and their two dogs. There he studied contracts, blueprints and other business papers that would assure his circus maintained the hallmark of "The Greatest Show on Earth." He resided there: upon his return to the circus world in late 1887, after the great fire at Bridgeport; when he and others bought the late Adam Forepaugh's circus in 1890; when Barnum died in 1891; when he bought out the Barnum heirs in 1894; inaugurated partnerships with the Sells brothers [Adam Forepaugh & Sells Bros.] and Cody & Salsbury [Buffalo Bill's Wild West]; when he made the decision to take his circus to Europe in late 1897. In summary, he resided there when he was the undisputed leader of the Amnerican circus business through the 1890s. In that way the house served a role in American circus history.
        If the structure hasn't already achieved landmark status, it is surely worth the effort to accomplish the recognition. If you're not comfortable with the process, or want to see it achieved expeditiously, hiring a professional preparer is surely an option. A good one will have expertise in the type and style of home exemplified by Bailey's place. They will know the resources to check for period documentation. The recognition confirms the historic value of the house and interprets its history in a broader context. Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

      Replies may not be sent for months, note message number to check for replies in message archives.
If someone replies, don't forget a thank you reply.



3801. Sonny Harris, 11 Nov 2011 - This wonderful human being is in Suncoast Hospice Brookside, Palm Harbor, FL. His wonderful stories of life with the circus will be missed by his many, many friends at the Oldsmar Flea Market. We love you Sonny. Gini [Sonny was an animal man with circuses and carnivals. He was born in France in 1920 to Haynes and Essie Harris. His father was an equipment man for both the Ringling Brothers and the Cole Brothers circuses. Sonny began helping with the family concession stand, which was part of the Ringling circus for eight years.] Reply to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

Keep the heritage of the circus alive, join CHS today! Membership


Back to Main Message Board