Request Material

Circus ephemera collection

Circus ephemera collection

Descriptive Summary

Title: Circus ephemera collection
Creator: Unknown
Inclusive Dates: 1890-1955
Language: English
Extent: 2.3 Linear Feet 2 document boxes, 1 oversized box, 3 oversized folders
Collection Number: ms2717
Repository: Hargrett Library

Collection Description

Scope and Content

The collection consists of programs, posters, photographs, clippings, and promotional items relating to various American circuses and other variety performers. Included are materials pertaining to the Barnum and Bailey Circus, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Circus ephemera collection, ms2717, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared on: 2009 July 6.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Barnum and Bailey
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
Circus -- United States.
Programs (documents)
Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows
Wild west shows.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


1. Circuses

Barnum and Bailey Circus

11Typescript ms of article on behind the scenes business at Barnum & Bailey Circus [pre-dates merger with Ringling] not signed, undated
112 large Hallmark postcards depicting a herd of giraffes and "the Ugo Ancillotti Troupe of French Bicycle Experts", undated
11Program, 1914 Season Providence RI; Fall River, New Bedford MA, June 11-13, 1914
11Magazine, 'The Wizard Prince of Arabia", 1914
11Magazine, "Persia: or the Pageants of the 1001 Nights", 1916
11Official route, 1916 season, June-July 1916
11Menus, 1916
28 June [dinner] Lynn MA30 June [dinner] Waterville, ME1 July [lunch] Bangor, ME3 July [lunch] Lewiston, ME3 July [ dinner] Lewiston, ME4 July-Independence Day Banquet: Biddleford ME

Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus

includes items from various periods, along with various mergers and break-ups.
12Breakfast ticket, undated
12Sticker with Hagenbeck-Wallace logo
12Letterhead and envelope
12Program: 1918 Stage Women's War Relief Benefit, September 20-October 6, 1918
12Route cards: 22nd-24th week of 1926 season, [September-October 9 ]
12Hagenbeck-Wallace-Forepaugh-Sells Bros: Magazine and Daily Review, 1935 Season, 1935
12Wallace Bros. Route Card-1941 season, April 12-26, 1941

Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus

Water color drawing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey horse drawn, Steam powered calliope, ca 1917
Magazine, "The Magnificent Fairyland Spectacle: Cinderella"
includes "Libretto of the pageant; programs of the arena; magazine of marvels; guide to the menagerie"
Magazine and Daily Review, 1918, 1920, 1922, 1925
Program, new Bedford MA, 15 June
Magazine and Daily Review, Golden Jubilee Issue, 1932 1933 1934
Christmas card, signed by Frank A Cook, 1934
Magazine and Daily Review, 1935 1936
Postcards: Souvenir folder of Mr and Mrs Gargantua the Great, 1941
Magazine and Daily Review, 1941 1955
All are 'back-stage' shots of performers and support staff, etc. Some shots of Animals, mostly elephants; one of a rosterB/w ca 1920's-30's. Some identified on reverse. Many are postcard format.Many appear to have been taken by G. A. Hough

John Robinson's Circus

16Contract synopsis for: Greenville SC, 16 September, Highpoint, NC 24 September
Contains info gathered by agent pertaining to lot locations, supply sources, etc. Per town. At bottom are printed notes of various importance to arrival, set-up. On reverse are maps of lot locations for each city.
16Route cards for weeks 21 through the end of season, [mailed to G.A. Hough, Sr.]
16Envelope with circus letterhead
16Envelope with picture of Robinson surrounded by circus acts and animals
16Small sticker with circus logo [advertisement sticker?]
16Tickets [used to compensate those who allowed ad lithographs to be posted by agents on their property]
16Tickets [for the annex, 25 cents]
16Press release for 107th season, form letter format

Sells Bros./Sells-Floto Circus

17Two large hallmark postcards, depicting: "Roman Standing Race" and "Camel Races", nd
17Magazine, 1919
mostly stories on the various animals of the show
17Official program, 1924 season
17Magazine, program of shows, 1932

Sparks Circus

most dated 1922 on original plate and are numbered and bear "sparks shows", postcard format. Two autographed, two not postcard, dated-described on back and marked for the New Bedford Sunday Standard Gravure Section. Subjects are mostly performers and acts
18Route booklet for 1923 season
Includes listings of staff by department
18Promotional booklet, undated

Miscellaneous items

Contains items pertaining to various circuses and groups
19Souvenir booklet for The Royal English Circus and German Water Carnival, undated
19Magazine: "California Frank's All-Star Wild West,", early 1900s
19"Circus Magazine, Wild West and Animal Review", 1934
Includes articles, mostly promotionals, and information for the following:Seils Sterling CircusBarnett Bros.Dodson's ShowsLewis BrosGolden Rule ShowsRice Bros. CircusVanderburg Bros. ShowsFisher Bros. ShowBarker ShowsMiller Bros Expo and Wild WestEngford Family ShowConroy Bros ShowFowler Bros CircusF H Bee ShowsWorld BrosAlmond & Conley CircusIsler Greater ShowsSea Bros. CircusKaus United ShowsOlinger Bros CircusGibson's Blue Ribbon ShowsKay Bros Circus
19Promotional booklet, Gentry Bros Circus, nd
19Chevrolet Dealer promotional flyer-on Downie Bros Circus Motorization using Chevrolet trucks, ca 1935
19Publicity handbill: Will Rogers, signed on original plate, advertisements for Atlanta, GA businesses on back, undated
110Cash envelopes [no circus identified], nd
110Christmas Greeting card, signed by Harry Bert
110Pay order made out by treasurer of Alleghanians Vocalist and Swiss Bell Ringers, 24 January 1872
For room rent.
110Postcard: exterior of Ripley's "Believe it or Not Odditorium," New York, NY Postmarked, 1939
110Postcard: "Murphy's Carousa[l], Savin Rock, Connecticut, ca 1910
110Courier lithograph: portrait of Fanny Davenport. [cover of sourvenir booklet?]
111Small handbill-The Harris Road Show
111Personal invitation for a Jenny Lind concert
111Autograph, C. Carr [?], circa 1846?
111Autograph, Dan Rice [2], undated
111Autograph, Effa Majette
111"Descriptive List of Bernard's Circus Specialties": Chas. Bernard, Riverside, Savannah, Ga., 1937
111UPI wire dated June 11 [ny]-11 year old bit by baboon at Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros Circus
111Written matter-quotes from individuals, No ascertainable connection to writer, Quotee, subject
111Handbill-Sims Greater Shows, Prescott Ontario, August 5, 1933
111Handbill-C.F. Zeiger United Shows, Corpus Christi TX, 2 November 1931
111Handbill-Van Ault's Arcade [Cetlin and Wilson Shows], Winter Quarters, 13 December 1939
111Handbill-Doc El Vino Family Wonder Show, nd
111Letterhead-Lee Bros. Show
111Letterhead-Billy Fee Wild Animal Shows
111Letterhead-A.G. Barnes Circus
111Booklet: "The Elephant's Love or Zenobia's Infidelity; presented with the Compliments of C. I. Hood & Co., proprietors of Hoods Sarsaparilla, Lowell, Mass.", Ca late 19th century ?
111Story with ads and promotional testimonies for the product-no place
111Booklet: "Thrilling Stories about Snakes and Snake Charmers: Illustrated, no Date nor place
111Stocklist-U. S. Tent and Awning Co., 1920 season. "New and Second Hand Tents and Paraphenalia"

2. Performers

21Buffalo Bill - Greeting card from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (Full color on Cardstock, 8 x 12)
21Buffalo Bill - newspaper clippings (photocopies from originals)
Covers period from late 1890's to his death In 1917 & includes AP release, dated 14 September 1914, to be released in the Event of his death
212Buffalo Bill - Historical Sketches and Programmes, 1893, 1899
22Mr and Mrs. Tom Thumb [Mr. And Mrs. Charles Stratton] - carte de visite photographs (The Thumbs and Their Child; Mrs. Thumb)
22Mr and Mrs. Tom Thumb [Mr. And Mrs. Charles Stratton] - Currier and Ives lithograph depicting the Thumbs marriage, 1863 February 10 (color, 7 x 9 original)
22Mr and Mrs. Tom Thumb [Mr. And Mrs. Charles Stratton] - Matted photograph
23Minnie Larned – Cabinet photograph - Wheaton, IL
23Minnie Larned – Letters, 1881-1893
Most are related to early life and provide no information on career in the circus.
25"Prince Mungo" (2 in costume, one out)
25Carte de visite: "Commodore Nutt & Miss Minnie Warren", ca 1868
25Carte de visite: " Leopold Kahn "Admiral Dot" (identified on reverse)
25Cabinet photo : Modjeska, ca 1889
25Florence Harris Mardo, equestrienne. Autographed to Max Haugh
25Kukla Fran and Ollie Burr. Autographed to Mischa de la Motte
25Fran Burr & ?. autographed to Larry
25Violet & Daisy Hilton, signed on original plate
25Scene shot from a production of "Annie Get Your Gun"
25Scene shot from a production of "Fixer Dugan", RKO 1939, press release
25Bob Baker's Marionettes, dated on obverse, press release?, 16 June 1952


A collection of unidentified pictures. Subjects include performances, Performers, animals, trainers, parades etc.

3. Printed Material

A collection of heavy cardboard matrices, used to produce images in Printing. Collection includes images of animals in performance, clowns and other performers. Several ad formats, including ads for Sells-Floto, Downie Bros., World Bros. Some identified and/or dated, most ca 1930s
28Sheet Music: "Herr Cline's Dance"
A piece entitled "Herr Cline's Dance: with Variations for the Piano forte". Philadelphia: Printed for R. H. Hobson, 1828? Six pp; picture of Rope Walker On title page
29Sheet Music: Musical: "Rings in the Dust"
A two act operetta. Vocal Score and Libretto. Estelle Merryman Clark-Libretto. Palmer John Clark-music. Chicago: Gamble Hinged Music Co., Nd Eight characters: Three Choruses. A Circus owner fights the foreclosure Of his circus, 112 pp
210-11Newspaper Clippings, 1928-1963

4. Oversized items

31Pine Ridge News
31"Chatter from around the Whitetops". Two issues, v. 1 # 7-8, 1927 November-December
Published by the circus Fans Association.
31Large format articles on "The Great Wallendas" tragedy, Life ?, nd, 1963
32"The Merry Go Round Rag". Ralph Larsh. Chicago: Ralph Larsh, 1918 (Sketch of merry go round on cover., 6 pp)
32"Oh! You Circus Day." Edith Maida Lessing and Jimmie V. Monaco. Chicago: Will Rossiter, 1912 (On cover-portrait of Maud Lambert)
32"Circus Galop." Wm Groscurth. Boston: Oliver Ditsen Co., 1888 (On cover-equestrienne act.)
33Barnum & Bailey - (2) large promotional newspapers. Both for performances in New Bedford, MA (One damaged by rodents.)
33Barnum & Bailey - Official route, 1916 (large tri-fold format)
3Barnum & Bailey - Daily Journal - Madison Square Garden advertisement, 1882
34Cole Bros.-Clyde Beatty - Three page advertisement from the "Circuses" section of The Billboard, 1935 May 4
Promotional newspaper for 7 June 1904 performance in New Bedford, MA
36Ringling Bros. - Promotional newspaper for New Bedford MA show
Main subj is "Joan of Arc, New Spectacle". Also includes interesting Disclaimer on last page refuting charges of being a trust
36Ringling Bros. - Red Wagon Annual, "A Circus Yearbook", 1899
Includes history of the Show, managers and staff for the year. Various articles on animals, many Photographs and drawings. Also includes a city by city diary of notable Events while en route.
37John Robinson's Circus
A collection of daily report sheets for cars 2 and 3. Covers various months Within the season-no year noted, however. Forms indicate various Expenditures and accounts of lithograph postings for each stop en route, etc.
2BBarnum & Bailey, New Bedford MA, 1894 June 9
2BFlagg's New England Carnival Co [promotional: Haverhill MA]
2BHowe's Circus [promotional; Falmouth MA]
2BJohn Robinson's Circus [promotional]
2BDownie Bros. Big 3 Ring Circus [promotional; Falmouth MA]
3BPill's Manikins-announcing afternoon performances
3BRingling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey-announcing Clyde Beatty's Trained wild animal sensation
3BRingling Bros & Barnum and Bailey-general poster, depicts Equestrienne act
3BWalter L. Main Shows, depicts bust of a clown, with inset photo of Main
1CKarosu Circus and Review, Japanese. Depicts various acts and performers, 1930
1CThe Combination of the Barnum & Van Amburge Museum & Menagerie Co., & Dan Castello's Great Show
illustrated with Lots of promotions, including Md'le Pauline & the child wonder, Little Minnie; Mr Charles Fish, the Great American Equestrian etc. Atlanta, GA., November 1st and 2d, nd.