Circus Historical Society
Circus History Message & Discussion Board
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 1251 - 1300
1300. Downie Bros. Circus Blow Down, 23 April, 2006 - Does anyone have a record of Downie Bros. experiencing a blow down in 1928, I have photos of an unidentified big top down, and also one of that show with a 3 pole top, and very little equipment on the lot. Bill Strong. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 13 June, 2006 - In futher examination of old photos I have determined the three pole top was the sideshowand have one photo of the end of the big top so, mystery solved. Bill Strong
Join CHS today! Membership Form
1299. Rawhide Minik poster, 23 April, 2006 - I am searching for a poster that was of my Grandfather during the depression days (1930s). His nickname was Rawhide Minik (Joe) and was a boxer in the carnivals in Western Penn, E. Ohio or N. West Virginia. He worked for a man nick named Peg Leg Lewis during these times. If you can help in anyway or direct me in the right direction for my search it would be appreciated. Thank You for Your Time, Michele Minik-Berkstresser, Miyshell@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 31 May, 2006 - I have a picture I belive was my dad's uncle that looked like he was in a circus wondering if he could be the one your looking for I can try to scan it to you if you wish? His name was Joe Hartenberger Let me know I am willing to try this if I can help. Sandy Hartenberger, Grafton, Wisconsin
Reply: 14 Dec 2007 - Joe Hartenberger? I would be very interested in the photo of your dad, as I was researching a photoalbum of the Hartenberger family (variety, acrobatics) from Austria for quite a while. I hadn't heard of a Joe in there, but he might have been a cousin. Edy Hartenberger, whom the album belonged to, died in 1976. Natasha Gerson
Reply: 29 May 2012 - Thank you Sandy but no. My grandfather Joe's last name was Minik. Thank you anyway. Still searching. Michele
1298. Circus La Veglia, 23 April, 2006 - When I was 20 I was in an act in Circus La Veglia (from Naples I think) and travelled Malta, Cyprus and Italy with them. Does anyone know if this circus still exists or any of the family? It was a family circus. Sue Graham (Sioux). Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Circus La Veglia is still touring in southern Italy. It is directed by the families La Veglia and Formisano, and is actually using the name “Circus Wegliams”. You can try some web researchs under this name. Probably you can find some additional informations, pictures and posters on the site of the italian circus fans, www.circusfans.it. Raffaele De Ritis.
1297. Schlitzie the Pinhead, 23 April, 2006 - Does anyone have biographical information and especially an obituary notice for sideshow performer Schlitzie the Pinhead? If so, please contact Verne Langdon at email@example.com Thank you. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1296. Circus Nazi Germany, 21 April, 2006 - I am planning a research on the circus in nazi Germany and looking for any information on what may have happened to them in the period 1933 to 1943. How did the nazi government view the circus as an entertainment for instance? Where circuses influenced, restricted or persecuted by the nazis and what happened to the performers, many of whom would not have conformed to the nazi ideal, and the animals and equipment? Feedback anyone? Roy Smith. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 23 April, 2006 - Roy, refer to my reply to #1278, it was basically the same. I have learned since then that when Hitler spoke in Krone's building it was earlier in his rise to power. Bill Strong
Reply: 29 Apr 2011 - I discover your very interesting forum just Now. I’m a French aged of 60, living in Paris. I’ve been involved in various artistic activities In my life, among them Theatre and AV. My young children and I are Circus lovers and we have quite a few friends working in Circus activities. I started long ago (1991), to write a Movie/TV Saga upon an imaginary Swiss/German Circus Family, inspired by many such families who did exist. I made several versions of my scripts which I proposed to French Producers (for movies and TV series). At that time, the Circus was not considered a first rate theme in French TV. The Televisions being the main sources for financing movie productions, they decide of about everything is produced. In France, in Europe, and maybe Worldwide (Hollywood being the exception). As you may too, the average artistic level of French TV programs, with few exceptions, is quite low (clichés).
But I’m interested in promoting my scripts again, and intend to push further their documentary aspects. Though it was my intention since the beginning, I had no idea before (no money for doing it, being unemployed most of the time) of how getting these informations. Specially what concerns everyday life in circuses
under the IIId Reich. Particularly what happened to the families of Tzigane and Jewish origins. I’d be so glad to have testimonies upon these aspects. As I am only one author without partner, sponsor, nor mecene, I can only propose one free collaboration at the moment. Best to you, Claude Henri Marron
Reply: 23 April, 2006 - See message #1278. Jim Cole
Reply: 05 July, 2006 - Your question is a little broad :). There was no 'overall' view on circus in the Nazi ideology, and the who-did-what history of collaboration and resistance is such a complicated and painfull one that the rifts it created still exist in the (German) circus world of today. Some years into the Nazi regime, quality of performance had nothing to do with who was actually performing anymore. Top circuses were pushed away and destroyed to the favour of third rate acts sometimes, only because the latter were Arian and collaborated. Basically, for the circus applied what applied for every other part of society: They had to collaborate to be able to work, and had to 'rid' themselves of unarian elements. Performers had to be members of the Reichstheaterkammer which a lot of circus artists who were (half) jewish or gypsy could not become. Some animal acts were frowned upon as 'unseamly' for instance it is interesting to know that at the start of nazism, the ideology vented grave interest in what we now call 'animal liberation', in fact the whole start of the ideology had its roots in Himmlers little dogmas on the 'natural' and 'unnatural' (Something the Peta's and Singers of now are very uncomfortable with and prefer to forget). Especially acts where humans and animals performed on the same 'plane' and imitated each other were immediately outlawed. Some circus directors where quick to recognise the advantages of collaboration. For instance, sadly Stosch Sarrassani jr., much in contrast with the life outlook of his dear father, who died with his Jewish friend at his bedside in South America, performed in an SS uniform. Most circuses remained strictly 'apolitical' and did what they felt they had to do to survive (...) On the other hand, some famous circus families like Althoff and Bento were quick to recognise the vile character of Hitlers ideology where the impositions simply went against their grain: They just didn't like to be told what to do and who to employ, and hid many performers right in their circus. Wonderful circus dynasties which happened to be Jewish, such as the Lorches and the Blumenfelds were stripped from all their posessions slowly and eventually murdered. The Strassbergers fled to Holland, where they were only safe for a short while, although some survived. Natasha Gerson
Reply: 10 July, 2006 - Hello, my mum was in the circus just before the war. Her grandmother owned the Mark circus in Germany. Mum, her brother and my grandfather were known as the 3 Richards and acrobatic clown act. My grandfather played solo as Little Richard (clown act), and my grandmother and her two sisters were the Geschwister Mark. I have some photos of them in costumes. If you have any specific questions let me know and I'll ask my mum. My Uncle is still alive (I think) and living in Germany still. My mother married a soldier and came over to the US to start her family just after the war. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Just an aside-I now work for a company with a clown as its logo!! Life is just funny that way!
Reply: 09 August, 2006 - I am looking for informations, fotos, publicities, etc. about Circus and Zoos in europa in 19. an 20. century (until the war). I would like also to know if brazilien indians where in those Circus and Zoos. I ask it for a work at my University. Thank you very much, Glória
Reply: 22 September, 2006 - I have written that many from the circus family Blumenfelds died in the gazchambers in Auschwitz and other places under the nazi war. jetgold, email@example.com
Reply: 21 Dec 2007 - In doing my own family research, I have often been amazed at how people did survive during war time Germany. I am curious how your research has come along since your posting back in 2006. Thank you. Ingred Zods, granddaughter of Henry Peper animal trainer (deceased 1945). Ingred Zods, firstname.lastname@example.org
1295. Kathryn Thompson photo albums, 21 April, 2006 - I have inherited my grandmother's photo albums dating from 1917 through the mid 1930's. Her name was Kathryn Thompson and she had an equestrian act with Sells Floto. There are also many pictures from 101 Ranch, Al G. Barnes, and John Robinson. There are over 1000 with many notes and dates. I am hoping to find someone locally to help properly document, conserve, and share this treasure with other interested parties. I am in the Los Angeles area. email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1294. Eva Clark, 21 April, 2006 - If anyone should have any information concerning the death of Eva Clark on October 1, 1906, would you please email it to me. She was a performer for the Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I am extremely interested in this subject. Sincerely yours, Janie Dooley, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 04 May 2009 - The mystery of Eva Clark, buried at Thornrose, is one of the most fascinating stories. Staunton historian Charles Culbertson says she was a circus trapeze artist. The circus made annual visits to entertain the people of Staunton. “On Sept. 6, 1906, her husband accidentally shot her while taking aim at her lover. The bullet struck her in the abdomen and she was carted off to King’s Daughters’ Hospital on Frederick Street, where she lingered for almost a month,” he relates. As the story goes, she would not tell the police what had happened. Loving him to the end, she covered for her husband until she died. Culbertson says that “to this day flowers are laid on her grave by unknown admirers.” Taine McPherson heard that for years afterward, the circus band would gather to perform at her graveside whenever the circus came to town." Eva's headstone reads: Eva Clark, died Oct. 1, 1906 at age 25. [headstone] Erected in 1923 by her friends at the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. - Dawn
1293. LaGrand, Oregon, 19 April, 2006 - I am looking for the name of the circus that was in LaGrand, Oregon in the 1920s. As the story goes, Leon Wilkinson, who's nickname was Poncho, was working for the circus, we don't know if he was a performer or not. He was an excellent horseman. The exact year and name of the circus has been lost over time. Leon brought a couple of performers with him when he visited his cousins in Union, Oregon. Thank You, Virginia Dewey Hager, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1292. Queensland 1880-1900, 17 April, 2006 - I've searched your archives & not found what I'm after so would like to place a message please. What circuses were travelling in Queensland Australia during the period 1880-1900 please? Thanking you, firstname.lastname@example.org, Vicki Turner, Upper Hunter Valley NSW Australia. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 19 April, 2006 - Hello Vicki, Perry Bros circus used to own the half way hotel on the Barcoo river in Queensland in the 1800s. I have just finshed a book (sawdust & headaches) that traces our family from 1835. Perry's have a long history with Australian circus. Perry's are related to the Sole's and 3 Perry bros married 3 Ashton sisters. robert perry australia
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - Circus historian Mark St Leon dedicated 30 years of his life in the making of an Index of Australian Show Movements, 1833-1966. I am certain that 1880-1900, your area of interest, will be profusely covered. You can find all pertinent information concerning the purchase of this index on the CHS website. - Giovanni Iuliani
1291. Francine Fay, 17 April, 2006 - Any information or pictures on Francine Fay who performed in 1949 with the Shrine Circus in Syracuse N.Y.? Thank you, Patricia. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1290. Elephant death Michigan, 17 April, 2006 - Do you have any information about the death of an elephant in Howell, Michigan when the circus came through town, and the elephant being buried in the street because it was too large to haul away? Please respond and send any information to me at email@example.com. Thank You. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 19 April, 2006 - Can you give us some more help, like the circus’s name or even a year? Bob Cline
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - I have heard of an elephant that reportly died near Owosso Michigan. It was said to have been shot after it had broken its leg while being led out of a train box car back in 1923. Although I had heard it was skinned and its carcass was taken to be buried in a swamp near Vernon Michigan. Perhaps that is another elephant.
Reply: 20 Oct 2007 - I have not found any written documentation about this elephant's death in downtown Howell, but with the Storms last night around there there was talk that a tornando will never hit downtown Howell because of the Elephant that was buried there. Good luck charm I suppose. Mary Wickstrom
Join CHS today! Membership Form
1289. Russian Circus 1930s, 17 April, 2006 - Anyone know anything about the Russian circus emergence in the 1930's? Mike Hardy, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1288. Wortham Shows, 17 April, 2006 - C.A. Wortham Shows, were they a Circus or a Carnival? Where were they based out of and years they were around. Thank You, Leo. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 19 April, 2006 - Clarence A. Wortham, the "Little Giant," operated railroad carnivals from the early 1910s until his untimely death in 1922. He was one of the two leaders in the business, the other being Johnny J. Jones. He came from Texas and established his first quarters in Danville, IL, later had one in San Antonio, TX, also used Parker's Leavenworth, KS location at one time. He was in partnership for some time with Tom W. Allen. He owned two large shows outright and had an interest in several others, all of which was liquidated shortly after his death. It is possible that one or more of his midways had a one-ring circus as a back end show. His progressive management attracted many of the best managers in the business to his shows, many of whom went on to own and operate their own midways. A basic biography is in Joe McKennon's book, "Pictorial History of the American Carnival." Fred Dahlinger
Reply: 18 Apr 2008 - I have a colored cover of a magazine with Clarence Wortham's picture, dated Christmas 1916. He was my great uncle. Virginia Redfield, email@example.com
Reply: 15 Feb 2009 - Removed at request of sender.
1287. Harry Millard, 17 April, 2006 - Harry Millard, agent, business Mgr., Black Bros Circus (also was with other circuses). I would like to know more about the Black Bros. Circus and Harry Millard, I believe he is my great-uncle. Also what was his position in the other circuses named? Any help would be appreciated. Marceline Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1286. Heartball VII 1985 Research Greatest Show on Earth, 17 April, 2006 - I have recently received several of the same fairly large posters that I am trying to find out some history on. The printed posters show a very colorfull scene of Circus tents and various Circus wagons and buildings. It states "Research the Greatest Show on Earth Heartball VII February 16 1985." One building says "Coca-Cola" on it. Printed by Enquh--er Printing company (some letters are hard to make out). There is no other information on the poster such as where it is. Can anybody give me some background on this? I am Kevin Pitcher from Minneapolis Minnesota and my e-mail is email@example.com, Thanks. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 25 April, 2006 - While I have no idea what Heartball VII was, it looks like they hade some posters printed by the Enquirer Printing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Based on your description the lower right corner should have the legend - 60-UP which is the stock style/design and the fact that it is an upright poster. On the left is a sideshow bannerline, a female on the bally stand, and a crowd going into the tent behind it. In the center of the midway it says circus main entrance near the center of the poster with another crowd going inside. On the right are two tent with Coca Cola on their fronts and a ticket wagon between them. The poster was printed in a multitude of colors. Mine with the Carson & Barnes Circus title in the yellow sky area has green grass on the midway and the tops of the Coke tents. John Polacsek, Detroit
1285. George Clayton Rathburn, 15 April, 2006 - I received some memorabilia from my mother that is full of the name: George Clayton Rathburn. I have pictures of him and brochures from Germany and his right of passage to Europe. Have you ever heard of him? Thank You, Sherrie Brooks. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1284. Marceline, clown, 15 April, 2006 - My grandfather Jack Wagner of Sioux Falls, SD did the laundry for the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus when they were in Sioux Falls. He had a great clown friend and told my mother she was named after this clown, Marcelain ( Marceline). My grandmother had vaudeville acts that followed the circus in the late l800's and early 1900's. I am not sure what circus but it would have been Midwestern. They called the the Maud DeVoyle ( DeVoile?) Vaudeville Acts. Her real name was Maud Millard Wagner. Anyone know of the clown or the vaudeville company? Marceline Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 26 April, 2006 - This sounds like the Marceline that Charlie Chaplin wrote about in his autobiography. When he was a youngster with the Eight Lancaster Lads, they were working in a Christmas pantomime of "Cinderella" at the London Hippodrome. It was a new theater combining vaudeville and circus. The floor of the ring sank and could be flooded with water. In this show, a group of girls marched into the water and disappeared. Then Marceline (he was French) appeared in sloppy evening attire with a fishing rod, sit on a stool, open a jewel case, bait the hook with a piece of jewelry, and cast into the water. Suddenly he would get a bite, wrestle with the catch before reeling in a small poodle who would copy the movements Marceline made on stage. Chaplin said that Marceline's comedy was droll and charming which went over very well with the audiences. Chaplin was in a sketch playing a cat with Marceline but his own clowning got him fired. Years later, Marceline went to New York where he was a hit. But when the Hippodrome eliminated the circus ring, Marceline was forgotten. It was around 1918 when Ringling Brothers was in Los Angeles and Marceline was with them. He was working as just another one of the nameles clowns. In 1919, He committed suicide in New York. Charles Chaney, Westlake, Ohio
Reply: 30 April, 2006 - For information concerning Marceline, please refer to the book, "The Mighty Hippodrome" by Norman Clarke, published by A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc. You'll find biographical material and photos on Marceline. The NY Hippodrome specialized in circus style spectacles on an enormous and mechanically elaborate stage with hundreds of performers and animals graced by unbelievable light and scenic effects. The downstage area would sink into a gigantic tank of water for fantastic aqua displays and a vanishing water ballet. Aerial dancers would be shot up into the air on invisible wires to fly and float before a hanging rose trellis among fluttering trained white doves. To my knowledge there has never been another theatre like it since. Marceline was a clown star at the Hippodrome and like the Hippodrome became a victim of passing times. He met a most tragic end. The "O" show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas would provide a faint hint of what the Hippodrome offered in it's hey day. As a child I would listen enthralled to many stories and scrapbook photo's of family friends and relatives who played the NY Hippodrome. George Rowe
1283. Jack and Herbert Barnett, 15 April, 2006 - Looking for any information about my Great Uncles Jack and Herbert Barnett.They were with Barneum and Bailey for about 20 years roughly. From Roxboro, NC and Herbert was 36 inches tall and Jack was 42 inches tall. Photos, articles just anything email me please. email@example.com, Thanks Luanne. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1282. Serpent Dancer, 15 April, 2006 - I came across a panel cut from the side of a circus truck that depicts a risque' sideshow act performed by a topless snake dancer. My best guess is that it dates from the 1920's to the 1940's. The name is difficult to read, but it is either "Tonia", "Lonia" or "Sonia", "in her Sensational Dance of the Serpent". I have attached a link to a picture of the panel below. If you have any info about this act, or the performer, I would love to know. Thanks. Matt.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v420/ryder92111/serpentdancer.jpg Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1281. Decatur Alabama, 13 April, 2006 - When I was a little girl I remember going to the circus in Decatur Alabama because the fairgrounds in Birmingham were flooded. I think this is the only time the circus performed in Decatur and in must have been in the middle 40's. Can anyone date this for me. Bonnie Posey, Haleyville, Alabama. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 April, 2006 - Never say that it was 'the only time'. Between 1945 and 1949 two different shows played Decatur, Ala. The Austin Bros. Circus was in Decatur, Ala. on October 3, 1945. For one reason or another the matinee performance was lost. Maybe the local papers would have something to say about the lateness of the show. Then on April 8, 1947 the Sparks Circus played Decatur, Ala. Ted Bowman Route Collection
1280. CBCB Clown Alley, 11 April, 2006 - I always admired my room-mate in college. He dropped out to join the circus and was the happiest guy I ever met. I stayed in school and ended up being a bored accountant, but I always loved the circus and often followed it. My best friend, Mike Snyder, was a white-faced clown in the Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus. He sent me the route cards and I often traveled to meet him at the site of the show. I was Very lucky to get a back-stage view of the show. It was a great show. I remember the ring master was named Jimmy James. Another clown was named Sandy. I guess it was around 1982-1985. I saw visited the show in Montgomery, AL, Pensacola, FL, and other south-western areas. I lost touch with my best buddy and wonder if anyone has contact with him. The last time I saw him, he was entertaining ideas of doing a trapeze act. Mike was from Arkansas. I'd greatly appreciate any leads. Thanks so much! Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 13 April, 2006 - If you go on Google and type in Clown College you will come to a site that lists contacts for many of the Clown College graduates. Sandy was in one of my classes when I was Assistant Dean of the school. He had great makeup and beautiful wardrobe. If you're interested get a copy of Bill Ballantine's "Clown Alley" which tells the history of Clown College. Robert Momyer
Reply: 17 April, 2006 - Thanks for your help, Robert! email@example.com
Join CHS today! Membership Form
1279. Levi 'Cap' Bertrand Collins, 11 April, 2006 - Levi "Cap" Bertrand Collins was a circus high diver in the 1900's. He was also an inventor and manufacturer during his life. Anyone have any information about his circus life, or which circus he worked with. firstname.lastname@example.org, Virginia. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 13 April, 2006 - You might contact Garrett Soden (Garrett@GarrettSoden.com). He has written books that include chapters on early high divers. John McConnell
1278. Circus 3rd Reich, 11 April, 2006 - Does anyone have any information on the circus within the 3rd Reich. Any book suggestions, websites, or information period would be extremely helpful. Thank you. Charles A. Tribbett, IV, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 15 April, 2006 - I feel like circuses have usually been lucky enough to avoid political strife for the most part. I spent 6 years in Germany in the 90's, with Circus Krone, I have heard that Hitler made speeches in the Krone Building, it seems to me as much as he liked large crowds, that building would be too small. I also know that allied aircraft completely destroyed that building in Munich, but the animal barns that surround it, were unharmed. I have a book, "From Menagerie to the Largest Circus in Europe", "Krone", which has reference to both wars, unfortunately it is in German. I think it is available on the Krone web site.
An interesting note, in 1938 when Hitler was threatening to invade Czechoslovakia, Circus Krone was set up in Dresden on the bank of the Elbe River, the Czechs said if Hitler invaded them they would open the flood gates on the river which would flood Dresden. The city officials advised Krone to tear down and leave, which they did. Because of a divided Germany it was 60 years, (1998) before Krone returned to Dresden, we also played Leipzig, & Zwickow that year and business was very bad in all 3 towns. Bill Strong
Reply: 05 Sep 2007 - My name is Lily A. Peper Bohnet and I wonder if you happen to have any information on Circus Busch, Holzmueller or Ringling Brothers in Germany from the 1920-30 or 40th? My father was known as Henry Peper ( legal name Heinrich Theodor Peper). He was the Lion, Tiger and Bear trainer and they traveled to many countries, His wife my mother Elsa Leinert Peper also did performance with tigers, she was taught by my father. My fathers great love for his animals contracted TB in trying to save the tigress and passed away in 1945, I would be so grateful if you either have some information or could direct me were I could get some information. My mother who is also deceased said that my father wrote a book but the person that was supposed to publish the book never did and so everything is gone. I do have a few photos of my father and mother which I treasure very much. Awaiting very anxiously your response and I thank you. Sincerely, Lily A. Peper Bohnet
Reply: 03 Apr 2010 - Hello, My name is Ingrid Vass, nee Ingrid Herrgott, sometimes spelled Hergott. My mother Erna Szega married my father Jacob Herrgott who was one of the sons of the Herrgott family that owned and operated the Korona Circus (Cyrk Korona) which travelled mainly between Poland and Czechoslovakia before WW2. My mother was a very accomplished aerial artiste and acrobat and my father also performed as the Ring Master and his acrobatic balancing act. This act was him building a pyramid of chairs one on top of the other, some resting on one leg until he reached the top where he balanced on a chair that was supported by only one leg. The climax of his act was when he purposely ‘fell’, causing all the chairs to fall as well, thus causing everyone in the audience to gasp, however, he somersaulted safely down to the ground and then the applause erupted. Apparently the Herrgiott family had a long history going back about one hundred years as being performers. Unfortunately the circus was disbanded and all animals confiscated by the German Army and my father eventually fought in Britain with the Polish Division. I noticed that Cyrk Korona is now up and running in Poland once again, however, without the involvement of my mother and father who have since passed away and I don’t know if any of the Herrgott’s are still involved in the revival of that name. I know that my brother had a brother that operated a merry-go-round at a fair in Communist Yugoslavia before making his escape together with his entire family and equipment by bribing the train driver to take them to safety to Germany. This escape was written up and published in one of the top German magazines and friends of my parents who happened to be visiting Germany at that time, read the article, recognised the name of Herrgott and let my parents know as they had lost contact for so many years. My parents made the trip to meet them. They made the trip from Australia where we have lived since migrating here in 1951 after leaving the refugee camp “Helbrun” in Salzburg, Austria. We escaped to Austria from Communist Bratislava in Slovakia in 1948. I have never been able to contact any of my cousins who maybe are still alive and seeing that I was born in 1942 after the event, I would love for someone to inform me of anything they may know about my family and where some of my cousins may be living, although my first cousins must be in their 70’s or dead. Thank you for taking the trouble of reading this very long article. I have read that there was a Krone Circus in Dresden and I don’t know if there is any connection.
Reply: 10 Apr 2010 - In his book, " Animals Are My Life" (1956) Lorenz Hagenbeck gives much information about the difficulties his circus and his zoo had during World War II - the famed Hagenbeck zoo at Stellingen (Hamburg) was virtually destroyed by the Allied bombings in 1943, as were many other German zoos. Lorenz Hagenbeck wound up sending his circus tigers (trainer Rudolph Mathies), elephants (trainer Hugo Schmitt), horses, and zebras to Malmo in neutral Sweden. After the war the tigers and elephants came to USA for RBBB. Alfred Court, in his book "My Life With The Big Cats" (1956) told of presenting his act in Berlin before Adolph Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels - Richard Reynolds
1277. Giant Beaupre, 10 April, 2006 - I am looking for info on "The Giant Beaupre" the tallest man in the early 1900's that performed with Barnum & Baileys circus. My great great grandfather Andre Gaudry, travelled with him to the shows. I'm looking for circus info about him. Any help you can find would be great!! (photos and posters) thanks, Don Gaudry. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 21 April, 2006 - "The Willow Bunch Giant" Edouard Beaupre 1881-1904. Claimed height 8 feet 3 inches tall (actual height in socks, 7 feet 8 inches tall) There are or were a couple of web pages with his story and photographs of him. Try ww.virtualsk.com. Rufus Ledbetter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - While he died at 23 from TB, the Beaupre giant was abandoned by his manager and ended up being exhibited in a store front window. The body was repatriated to Canada and his skeleton was part of a permanent exhibit (along with that of a midget) at the Universite de Montreal. Many years later he was sent back to St-Boniface, Manitoba to be buried with his family. A few years ago a documentary was made
about the giant who's bones where examined by medical students for over 100 years. It would be interesting to know what Andre Gaudry, your great great grandfather knew about him during the last stage of his life. - Giovanni Iuliani
Reply: 08 Jan 2009 - Hello, I have some info on your Gaudry line back for many many generations. Contact me at email@example.com
1276. Ashtons, 10 April, 2006 - I am looking for any thing to do with the Seven Ashtons or the Flying Ahtons from 1949 onwards, please contact me. Ashton-Hay Neville, Neville.Ashton-Hay@volvo.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 08 June 2007 - Hello! My name is Tim Freeman, I am an acrobat from Australia. My first acrobatic teacher was Micky Ashton (E J Hay ). Me and the guys I work with still do some of the old routines and tricks that Micky taught us. He told me many stories about his days travelling with The Seven Ashtons. - Tim Freman
Reply: 09 Oct 2007 - There is an Ashton living in Perth, maybe they could help you. ruva teasdale, firstname.lastname@example.org
1275. Harry Mills, 10 April, 2006 - Does anyone know if Harry Mills might still be alive and if so how to contact him. Thanks. Bob Cline, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 21 April, 2006 - Bob, I saw Harry & June at one of the Showfolks gatherings this year, I'm sure if anything happened to him we would have heard. As far as getting hold of him I don't have a clue. Bill Strong
Reply: 23 April, 2006 - Thanks Bill! I’m going to try contacting the Showfolks Association and see if anyone can help. I would like to talk with him. Maybe when I get down there for the CHS convention I can locate him. Bob
1272. Marie Devere, sword swallower, 09 April, 2006 - Any information on a Marie Devere who was a swordswallower with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. I don’t have a time frame but I do know it was before 1900. I have looked everywhere I could think of. If anyone could give me some more ideas where to look it would be appreciated very much. Thank you in advance for any help. Sherman, Donna, DSherman@mptn-nsn.gov. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - There was a bearded lady, same time frame, called Madame Devere or Deveree but her first name was Janice or Jane. Born 1842 and supposedly her career lasted into the 1900's. She was from Brooksville, KY. Of course she may have been a man. - Tom
Reply: 24 October, 2006 - Marie Devere came from Wyoming, Rhode Island and performed also performed at the Circus when it came into town. She was a sword swallower, and my children are her great great granchildren. Their grandfather was Frank Patrick Kennedy, His father was James Kennedy. I believe that may have died in Canton, Mass. Rita Casady, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 18 Feb 2008 - Here's what Dan Meyer has written at his excellent website www.swordswallow.com: Marie Ellmore, cousin to Mae West, performed under the stage name Marie DeVere, strutted in chorus lines, acted in sketches, posed with her sisters in ads for Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Tonic, and was later employed as a sword swallower by Hubert's Museum, Coney Island, NY. - Tom
1271. Marcel Debille, 06 April, 2006 - I am a french man helping a non english speaking friend, to search some data concerning his father (he his 74 years old, and the last time he have seen him he was 20 year old). His father was à circus wildcat trainer, and he works in an American circus during a tour of the BandWagon in Europe during perhaps 1959 to 1962. His artist name was Marcel Debille. He his named in your circus history site in Band Wagon pages, but with few information. Questions : Have you more information on this cooperation between the American circus tour and Marcel Debille? Have you some photographies? I hope you will accept to help me, and I am very gratefull. Awaiting to read you, Best regards, Francis Libaud, Paris, France. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1270. McCloskey, Ringling, 06 April, 2006 - I searching for any information regarding descendents of Frank or Walter McCloskey Frank McCloskey was owner of Ringling in Florida in early 1900's Walter McCloskey was the general manager. I believe Frank died in mid 1970s. I believe he had one daughter that I am aware of. Any information would be helpful. Allard, Raymond. Raymond.Allard@ssa.gov. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 07 April, 2006 - Surely this item refers to Frank McClosky and Walter Kernan, who were two of the principal owners of the Clyde Beatty Circus beginning in mid-1956. The show was known as Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros starting in 1959. Before this, they had both been involved in the management of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus but did not own the show and certainly not in the early 1900s. Kernan died 27 January 1963 and McClosky 8 November 1979. Regards, Old Whitey
Reply: 09 April, 2006 - McCloskey's wife [Fanny?] was alive into the 1990s, maybe even early 2000s, in the Sarasota. Her health was failing and she was placed in a care facility. Check local Sarasota directory listings for a Lutheran aid society for the aging, I believe that they were involved in handling her estate guardianship. With the obituary dates provided by the prior respondent, you can also go to the newspapers for an obituary and that will yield the names and perhaps locations of descendants at that time. You can also establish local and approximate date of death at the LDS website, or other genealogical sites. Fred Dahlinger
Reply: 24 January, 2007 - The daughter of Frank McCloskey is Jacque McCloskey. His wife was named Brenda. Brian M. Rowland, BrianRowland@pobox.com, Jacksonville, Florida
Join CHS today! Membership Form
1269. Circus divorce, 06 April, 2006 - What is a circus divorce, were they legal?
Miners divorce, I have found out was presided over by an elder of the group and for reasons of desertion or adultery, the elder asked each miner who might have had personal knowledge of the offence to testify then usually with-in a couple minutes the elder pronounced the marriage over. No paper work that I know of. Is the circus divorce the same concept? thanking you in advance for any information you can send me. Patsy. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 13 April, 2006 - Dear Patsy, I just consulted with a friend of mine, who is the undisputed authority on circus divorces. She said that a circus divorce is like a tornado, either way you lose the trailer. Otherwise it is the same, except everybody in the whole entire circus world talks about it. Jim Cole
Reply: 13 April, 2006 - The only kind of "circus divorce" I know of is an old joke that comes in 9 words, "I love you honey, but the season is over". Seriously I have never heard of such a thing in my 50 years in the business. Bill Strong
Reply: 05 July, 2006 - I know, a circus divorce is an expression, at least in my language. It means a divorce where you lose not just the marriage, but splits up the 'act' (i.e. your business) too. And Jim Cole's friend is absolutely right, you will lose the trailer, to put it even more strong because at the first inkling of trouble, there will be a zillion others not just to gossip about it and laugh behind your back, but to fire things up because they WANT the trailer! Hahaha! Natasha Gerson
1268. Moxons, Moxon Trio, Levanda, Ameda, Poor Billy, George Rowe, Ellen Topsy, Coleman Sanger, Sangers., 04 April, 2006 - My gg grandfather, George Moxon (performing as George Rowe, the Green Lizard, was a contortionist, working in the circus, but also largely in music hall. He was the son of George Moxon brother of Edward who was the head of a large family of jugglers and clowns. The family performed under several names, including the Moxon Trio, Levanda (foot equilibrist)and Ameda (lady juggler). Levanda married Chick Robini, a circus accordionist act, and also worked with her daughter Judy as Levanda and Van Im particularly interested to either prove or disprove a marriage/relationship between Henry Harold Moxon to Ellen "Topsy" Coleman, granddaughter of Lord George Sanger. The Moxons seem a colourful bunch, particularly Levanda's line! Elizabeth (Ameda) was married to Poor Billy the Clown, who was the son of the owner of Scotts Royal British Circus. Can anyone share any stories, information, or leads at all, particularly with reference to the Sanger connection? Many thanks, Jay Gage. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 12 July, 2006 - In reply to the query about Ellen ‘Topsy’ Coleman Sanger and the possibility of her having had a relationship of some sort with Henry Harold Moxon: George Sanger Coleman’s book, written by John Lukens and called The Sanger Story published 1956) tells how Topsy was married to Harry Austin, an artiste with the show. However, after 12 years, she seems to have had an affair with a member of her grandfather’s staff, Herbert Cooper. This may have been part of the events leading to the death of ‘Lord’ George, by then long retired, after Cooper attacked him. As a member of the family, it is perhaps unlikely that George Sanger Coleman would mention any other love-affair, either before or after Topsy’s marriage; but there are no Moxons mentioned in the book. email@example.com, Chris Barltrop
Reply: 27 Jan 2014 - Judy (Moxon) Hugget 01485541416 Norfolk. Yeoman155
1267. Esqueda family, 04 April, 2006 - I am from Mexico. My name is Gloria Ivonne Rosas Esqueda. My grandfather was Vicente Esqueda Vega. He was parentage of the Esqueda Bros. My mom tell me that one of my aunt is too almost identical to Angelita Esqueda. I know that so many Esqueda family belongs to the different circus around the world, once upon a time. I knew a clown that nick name was Huevo (Egg) Esqueda. He was working at the Renato Fuentes Gasca's circus. And he is too similar like my cousin. I am so proud to have relatives that performance in many circus around this continent, perhaps in Europe. I am so sad because I don't know my grandfather's side family because he was the only one, and his father was dead when he was a boy. And later he joined the Mexican army in 1912. The we got married with my grandmother, Soledad Sanchez. I hope you can tell me how I can get in touch with my grandfather's family. Thank you. Gloria Ivonne Rosas Esqueda, Tampico, Tamaulipas. firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 15 April, 2006 - Hi, I forwarded your message on to a young lady who is from the Esqueda (circus) family, and is now married to a good friend of mine living in Sarasota. She said she would pass this on to various family members who may be able to help you. Jim Cole
Reply: 15 June 2007 - Hola Gloria, En su libro "La Fabulosa Historia del circo en México", Julio Revolledo Cárdenas escribe sobre muchas personas de la familia Esqueda. En el indice cuento 17 personas diferentes de la familia Esqueda, luego escribe sobre el Circo Hermanos Esqueda y también sobre la Familia Esqueda. Hay muchos fotos. La dirección electronico del señor Revolledo es: email@example.com, Con un cordial saludo - Carlos Kahmann, Mexico D.F.
Reply: 11 Feb 2008 - Hello my name is Diana Esqueda,and we are having a Esqueda family reunion in April We were hoping to get info about our talented relatives. The Esquedas flying Trapeze. If anyone has info and pics, please get back to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You, Diana Esqueda.
1266. Circus house, Cincinnati, 04 April, 2006 - I am trying to locate the home known as the "circus house'" in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is my understanding that a famous elephant is buried in the front yard. I think the house may be in a section known as Terrace Park. Thank you. Kate Valdez. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 07 April, 2006 - Although I can’t give you the exact address, the house you are referring to was the John Robinson estate and you are correct it was in the Terrace Park area of Cincinnati. Bob Cline
Reply: 13 April, 2006 - Kate, have a look at this site. Lot's of interesting information and a couple of photos. www.tpsurvey.org/streets/circus/1.htm. Best! - John Gilmore
Reply: 26 April, 2006 - Thank you very much for responding to my inquiry about the Circus House in Cincinnati. Kate Valdez
1265. Cahill's, Flying Cloud Act, 03 April, 2006 - I'm looking for anything concerning "Mike Cahill's, Flying Cloud Act. He performed for the WW1 Troops at Camp Funston, Kansas. Also was known for his "Death defying act?" Time frame early 1900's, Barnum & Baily Circus? L. D. Dunn, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - I see 1913 a Don Cahill and this is in the city directory.
Circus is written after his name. I am still looking for the picture of the Flying Cloud Act. I remember Cahill\I believe Mike and this white outfit he was in in the photo. Best wishes, Sharon, Kansas City, Missouri area
Reply: 18 May, 2006 - Thanks for responding to my post. I have a photo of Mike Cahill in a "White" pair of tights, with his female partner. Is this the picture you have in mind? I am trying to find the full name of this woman. All I have is "Vivian" last name unknown. Possibly Mike Cahill's wife? Are you related? L. D. Dunn
1264. Announcement, Circus Vargas, 02 April, 2006 - Circus Vargas, America's Favorite Big Top Circus is reopening under new ownership! With the sawdust, spangles, and billowing canvas. Circus Vargas is a time machine that transport its audience back to the glamour and heart-pounding excitement of the authentic old-time circus. After a hiatus of two years, the daughter of the previous entrepreneur, Katya Quiroga, and her husband, Nelson Quiroga, are planning an entirely new performance, stressing FUN family entertainment, featuring performers from all over the world, working together under a beautiful striped Big Top in an incredible two-hour extravaganza. We invite you visit Circus Vargas homepage for more information: www.circusvargas.org. Diego "VeeKay" Barquinero, firstname.lastname@example.org, Clown Grove, CA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 June, 2006 - Hello there! My name is James Dockery. I joined up with Vargas in 1995 when Frank peeiler was in charge of security. During my 10 years with the show, I was a security usher/basic work horse/and driver. While I was on my 4th tour,the announcer got sick, so I took a chance and instead of announcing back stage like I was supposed to, I put on his jacket and strutted right into the ring. After the show, Roland Kaiser yelled across the midway "young man come over here"! Instead of firing me (or worse) he shook my hand and said "I didn't know you had that kind of talent - from now on, you're the understudy! I became the shows announcer at the start of the 1999 season and never missed a show during the next 5 years. When they closed, I was a bit unprepared (no agent or promo package) so I went to the Big Apple Circus to see what the east coast was like. (COLD!) Of course, I had to start at the bottom again (concessions) but after 2 years, I now have an office job (unheard of in most shows) and get paid to go shopping for whatever the show needs. (paid vacations, medical and dental,etc. etc.) I always have and always will have the soul of an entertainer, and will be forever grateful to roland kaiser and the vargas show for letting me realize a life long dream. I'm pretty sure I will be on the road for the rest of my life. I love the circus world and feel extremely fortunate to be "with it and for it." Thank you for this site. Fondly, James "Doc" Dockery, Big Apple Circus
1263. Ed the great Zacchini, 02 April, 2006 - Hi not sure you can help me but it's worth a shot. I am in search of a human canonball, Ed the great Zacchini. It was either the late 60's or early 70's he was with Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey, his whole family was into the circus (wife and children). Also their were tumblers the bumpy family. Ed was friends with my parents and took me to my first circus, bought me my first camera and took me alot of places. I have often wondered what had become of him. Can you guide me to get more info? Thank you, Valarie. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 04 April, 2006 - Eddie Zacchini produced Shrine Circus for many years. He had the Medinah Temple (Chicago Shrine) date for a number of years. The Shriners sold the temple, just west of Michigan Avenue, and the building has been completely restored. The current tenant is Bloomingdales home furnishing store. Eddie also produced a number of other circuses, including several in Florida. One of his families early cannons is at Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin and another at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. When the cannon arrived at Baraboo, it was noted that Eddie had taken out all the cannon working parts. At one point in his career, Eddie was a flyer. John Goodall, Northfield, Illinois.
Reply: 06 April, 2006 - You are either refering to Edmundo Zacchini, or his son Eddie. Both are now deceased. Hugo Zacchini, son of Edmundo and brother to Eddie, now has retired as a human cannonball and resides in Tampa, FL. Jim Cole
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - If you would send me an E @ D952@mohaveaz.com, I'd be happy to forward some interesting reading materials your way re the Great Zacchini Family. Danny
1262. Marie King, fat lady, 02 April, 2006 - I am looking for a lady named Marie King. I have been told that she was a fat lady with a side show attached to the Barnum and Bailey circus, and that she was with the side show sometime between 1959 and 1965. She was married to Steven D. King, and had a young daughter whom she kept with here for approximately 3 years before giving her up for adoption. I am that daughter. Any information that you have at all would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance for your time and energy. Sincerely, Sandra Marie Webster. Birthname: Edna Marie King, September 16, 1959. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 24 April, 2006 - Cinepix, a fledging movie distributer in Montreal, Quebec, obtained the rights to the MGM Tod Browning 1932 film FREAKS, re-titled THE LOVES OF FREAKS (French title: L'Amour Chez Les Monstres). Dick Best, a sideshow operator who toured annually with Royal American Shows supplied the freaks for the live performance presented along with the movie. Count Nicholas, the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ringmaster managed Bob Melvin (THE TWO-FACED MAN), Stanislas Barent, Sealo-THE PENQUIN BOY, Jimmy Wilson (THE MIDGET), Easter Blackman,THE ALLIGATOR WOMAN and Mary King (THE FAT WOMAN). The Montreal 1966 engagement lasted 5 1/2 weeks and attracted over
120,000 people. A souvenir book (Les Monstres) sold over 100,000 copies. This book was later translated in english under the title FREAKS and pirated in the United States of America by a few sideshow operators. However, the book FREAKS, while profusely illustrated, contains no pictures of the acts featured on stage. Meanwhile, GIOVANNI (a award winning1973 documentary) contains a few scenes where Mary King is addressing a crowd (i.e. "I was born of normal parents ...) . When she died her body was cremated. Also, in 1975, Marc Roberge's book CONFIDENCE DE GIOVANNI (LE FORAIN) mentions her name. A picture of Mary King (Sweet Marie) is featured on page 9 of my still unpublished trilogy Archives of Human Prodigies Part III. - Giovanni Iuliani
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Showman Ward Hall once had this to say about Marie: "Mary King actually weighed right at 800 pounds. She worked in the sideshow and in a single fat girl show for Sam Alexander for most of her years in show business. She worked in a fat show for Hall & Christ on Gooding's Million Dollar Midway in 1967. She worked under the names of Dainty Doris also Sweet Marie due to playing the Toronto CNE Fair many times. She was with Sam and Charles Cox when they had the sideshow on the Clyde Beatty Railroad Circus and at that time as a publicity stunt legally married the human skeleton. The marriage was later annulled. She was married again, though the marriage was short, it produced a beautiful baby girl. Mary always had physical problems due to her enormous weight. She died at an early age. After her death a cafe was opened in Toronto, where she had been such a popular attraction, which was named "Dainty Doris Fat Foods." The operator of the restaurant sought out all the sideshow banners that had been used for Mary and decorated the restaurant with them." Apparently she is in the movie "Woman Obsessed" (1959). See www.imdb.com - Tom
Reply: 01 Oct 2013 - I just saw your post and I am looking for any info on Mary King also. I am actually looking for my cousin who worked with "Dainty Dora" and was listed as her step sister in a newspaper article. Looking forward to hearing from you. Gerry
1261. Announcement, web site, 02 April, 2006 - The dutch database with more then 7000 circusposters and 8000 foto's is now online in an English version: circusmuseum.nl/eng You can search for performers, circuses, places, magicians, freaks, jugglers, animals, clowns, music, ethographic shows and so on. We hope you will get answers to your questions by using this site. Herman Voogd, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1260. Paul Desmuke, Armless Knife Thrower, 31 March, 2006 - Paul, my mother's uncle, was in the Al G. Barnes Circus and Sideshow, c. late 1920's. I have heard he was also connected to a couple of other circuses and a western ranch show. Did anyone out there know him or have any other information about him? Judy Burdick, Celticburd@aol.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - Here's the page I created for Paul at my website quasi-modo.net: www.quasi-modo.net/Paul_Desmuke.html - Tom
Reply: 09 November, 2006 - Paul Desmuke was my grandmother's brother. He was born in Attascosa county Texas. I have pictures of him tipping his hat with his feet. He was a justice of the peace in Jurdenton, Texas untill his death in the late 40's or early 50's. They have a museum there depicting his life in the circus and a few more pictures. My daughter has been there to see them, she says it is very interesting. Betty Stephens, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 20 December, 2006 - Hello my name is Tommye Pressley, I am related to Paul Desmuke on my Grandmothers side. Her name was Katherine Lucinda Desmuke she was also from Atascosa County Texas and lived in Jourdanton. I have just begun my family search and I remembered my Mother telling me that when she and my Dad had just got married that she was at the family farm and one of his Uncles came up to her and slipped his foot out of his shoe to shake her hand, She always talked about how amazed she was that he was able to do just about anything with his feet. I would love to have any information that you might have about him to add to my files. Both of my parents are gone now and I would like to leave something for my children to have to rember their heritage. Thank you for your time. Tommye Pressley, email@example.com
Reply: 14 Jan 2009 - I am a teacher at Jourdanton, Tx Jr. Hi. Our class is doing a presentation on some of the notable people in the Jourdanton City Cemetery. Would you be interested in coming to the historical dedication in Jourdanton on April 18th. Mr. Desmuke has been chosen as one of the people to be honored. We need any information that you are willing to share on your aunt and uncle. We will do likewise. Looking forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Erlinda Huizar
Join CHS today! Membership Form
1259. Madge Evans, elephant trainer, 30 March, 2006 - My great Aunt was a circus performer. According to news articles I have dated 1928 she was the first female to train a herd of elephants. Her name was Madge Evans, also known as Madge Fuller. She later married Wade Zumwalt who was a band leader in one of the circuses. Madge was in the Sparks Circus, John Robinson Circus, Sells-Floto Show, and the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Most of the articles are large pictures from the newspaper when the circus was in town and Madge was picture sitting on 2 elephants. I would like to find out more or would be interested in sharing my info with whom it may concern. I also have a cartoon drawing on a piece of cardboard done in ink of the circus acts dated 1930 season. It was done and signed by Kelly. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Pam Evans Thompson. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 31 March, 2006 - A couple answers to your questions. The newspaper articles aren’t historically accurate as they were the circus staff’s promotion of the circus. The hyperbole that went with enticing the crowds, created terms such as first time ever. There were other lady animal trainers earlier than 1928 such as Amy DuPont on the Barnum & Bailey Circus or Lucia Zora on Sells-Floto who had retired by 1928. This isn’t trying to take anything away from your aunt’s career. Be proud of her for what she did. This is just information. As to the drawing, you probably have a highly collectible item. The drawing is most likely by the legendary clown Emmett Kelly Sr. who was a gifted cartoonist and artist before he became a trapeze performer and eventually the clown that everyone knows him as. Perhaps this helps you a little bit. Bob Cline
Reply: 23 April, 2006 - Pam, I have a picture postcard of Madge Fuller from the Sells Floto Circus. The date may be 1924, but the last number is questionable. Also found a nice studio photo of John Robinson's Circus Band-Wade Zumwalt, Conductor-Season 1929. My grandmother, Kathryn Thompson, knew them both very well. I know there must be many more pictures of them in my collection. I remember hearing their names often when I was young. My mother took me to visit Madge shortly before she died. I would be happy to send you copies of these pictures and any others I can identify. Arlene Piddington, Sunland, Ca. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply: 31 July, 2006 - Arlene Piddington responded to my posting. I am unable to make contact with the email address listed in the posting. Please give current email address so we can make contact. I am interested in the photos you have. Thanks, Pam Evans Thompson
1258. Circus costumes, 30 March, 2006 - I have an old picture on the first page of my website: barbcornia.com. There is a picture by Renoir that is called Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando which was painted in 1879. The costumes in the painting are similar to the old picture that I have on my web page. Would any of you know if the costumes on my web page were circus costumes? Would you know about what year this picture would have been taken? I found this picture in some of my Grandmother's things with no name or explanation and I've always wondered about this picture. Thanks for your help. Barb. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1257. Horace Webb, clown, 30 March, 2006 - I am looking for any information regarding Horace Webb (full name Horace Webb Baggs), who was a circus clown in the late 1800's to early 1900s. He is from Fulton, NY and performed with Sig Sautelle's circus, Barnum and Bailey circus among others. He invented the revolving ladder (Revolving e'chelle, I think it was called). His picture was featured on the cover of The Player magazine July 21, 1911. Any type of information, anecdotes, etc. would be appreciated. Perhaps advice on how to search for this information on the web is available? I appreciate your help. Wendy Cannon, email@example.com, Saco, Maine. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1256. Fat Lady performers, Barnum & Bailey, 28 March, 2006 - I am doing research on the history of fat lady performers with Barnum & Bailey and have an incomplete record pertaining to the years 1950 - 1960. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Many thanks for your help. Mary King, Sacramento, California firstname.lastname@example.org. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 31 March, 2006 - I think the best person on that subject would be Ward Hall, of Gibsonton, FL. I will let him know about your question. Bill Strong
Reply: 01 June, 2006 - Ella Mills was the last fat lady on R.B.B.& B. Circus. She would have been on the show in the late '50's and early '60's. Ward Hall was also on the show during some of that time in a knife throwing act. I believe Ella followed Alice from Dallas. Robert Momyer
1255. Savage acrobatic act, 26 March, 2006 - I am looking for information about an acrobatic act that was famous world wide back in the mid 1900's (I'm guessing). Lewis and Irene (Maloney) Savage and their daughter, Margret. From the family information I have, Irene would have been born somewhere in the early 1900's (maybe late 20's to early 30's?). Anyway, all the book says is that she married Lewis Savage, had one daughter, Margret, and they were known world wide for their daring Acrobatic Acts. I don't know where they lived or anything. Hoping you can help me! Thank you so much! Kathy Knettel. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1254. Bohn Brothers, Whitmarsh & Brownlee Circus 1938, 26 March, 2006 - Bohn Brothers Circus & Whitmarsh & Brownlee Circus 1938. At Alger, Montana in November 1937 a number of circus wagons, reported to have been constructed by Mr. Whitmarsh were photographed. The wagons can be seen at www.loc.gov. - Then put in the search square Whitmarsh, Alger, and about six photos show up. Some are marked Bohn Brothers Circus and some Whitmarsh Bros. Circus. I have photos from the 1940's showing the same boneyard, but have not been able to confirm the use of the circus titles. John Polacsek. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 28 March, 2006 - The titles Whitmarsh and Brownlee Circus and Whitmarsh Bros. Circus are both mentioned in Robert Parkinson's Directory of American Circuses but no owners names or dates are included. Bohn Bros. is not listed. A quick run through newspaperarchive.com brings up nothing. Bob Cline
Reply: 06 April, 2006 - White Tops, January 1930, page 10, has this entry in a list of circus winter quarters: Whitmarsh Bros.' Circus, Orvil E. Whitmarsh, mgr.: Archer, Mont." There was no entry for the title in the 1929 or 1931 lists. Fred Dahlinger
Reply: 21 January, 2007 - Orvil E. Whitmarsh was my Grandfather. Due to a divorce my Mother never met him so the information I have is limited. I do have one letter he wrote on a Circus Letter Heading: "Whitmarsh Brothers and Brownlee Circus." I have one envelope with "The Whitmarsh Bros." on return address section. Both envelope and letter have pictures and more wording. I also have pictures of the circus wagons and brief mentions of the wagons in other letters. Orvil became enamored with the circus in his teen years and supposedly joined the Ringling Brothers in 1887 when he was fifteen years old. I had a letter from someone who grew up in Archer (not Alger)(next door to Plentywood) Montana and remembers the wagons. To my knowledge Orvil never did get the circus going. It was only a lifelong dream. I am willing to send copies of above materials. I trust I haven't added too much genealogical material. Bonnie Baylink, email@example.com
1253. Clarence Wortham, 26 March, 2006 - My name is Wendy Wortham, I am the Great granddaughter of Clarence and Belle Wortham. I am looking for any information I can find regarding my Great Grandfather before he passed away in 1922. We recently located a number of old photographs of his circus, however there was not any documentation with it. I would appreciate any advice on where to start piecing together his history. Thank you! Wendy Wortham, Philifamily@houston.rr.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 28 March, 2006 - Clarence A. Wortham was one of the two leading carnival proprietors of the late 1910s until his untimely passing. At times with partners, and others without, he owned several shows, some reaching into the 30-car class. Only Johnny J. Jones, with a single 40-car midway, was in his class at the time. There is some basic information in Joe McKennon's book "A Pictorial History of the American Carnival." A biography of Wortham, based on material in the trade journal "Billboard," is included in Volume II. Some of it, unfortunately, is not quite correct. There are other references in the two volumes. The best source on Wortham's outdoor amusement career will be the frequent listings in the two trade publications "Billboard" and "New York Clipper." You will find opening season reviews and other announcements about his activities. Fred Dahlinger
Reply: 16 Dec 2007 - Wendy, How is your research coming? I have a relative that worked for the circus in 1918. It mentions him as a manager of a circus in the 1930 census, but it might not have been Wortham by then, since he died. You mentioned old photos, my decendent was known as Fred "Whitey" Clare, so he could have been a clown. He married a Marjorie (Van Camp or Hickey) Clare. Family talk mentions her in the show as a cyclist. More family talk mentions that he had a monkey with him when he traveled. I have records for him as a passenger from Changhi China, Hawaii, Austrailia. Any help would be apprieciated. Thanks for your time, David Clare
Reply: 23 Apr 2008 - Clarence Wortham was my great uncle and I have pictures of the Wortham family. My mother and grandmother mentioned his wife, Belle, and their 2 sons. I have a colored cover of Billboard with his picture. Clarence Wortham 1916. He had a brother, John who also had a carnival, maybe one that Clarence left. Virginia Redfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
1252. Circus fonts, 24 March, 2006 - I’m in the process of building a Circus Bandwagon for our home town band here in Branson Missouri. Lucky for me one of my good friends is Mr. Don Heaston. Don built several circus wagons and bandwagons for Ringling Bros years ago. Now in his 80s, he’s helping me with my project. We are in real need of finding large sized circus fonts. We’ll print them and cut them out so that we have a starting pattern that we can woodwork into three-dimensional finished letters. I need to be able to have sizes that can printed in a range be between 5” to 12” for each letter. We will be more than happy to send photos of the Branson Oldtown Band’s Bandwagon as soon as it is complete. The Branson Oldtown Band is a cross between the Disneyland Main Street Band and a Circus band and uses only top professional studio and show musicians. Thank you for your help and ideas on our project. Dave Rice, Director Branson Oldtown Band, Branson Missouri. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
1251. Alice from Dallas, fat lady, 24 March, 2006 - I am looking for any info you could give me on Alice from Dallas. She was a fat lady in Ringling brothers during the 1930's or 1940's. She was right before Ella. Thank you, I am a distand relative and Im trying to learn more. Shonda Vila, email@example.com. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.
Reply: 26 March, 2006 - If you check the Billboard Magazine August 26, 1937 p. 70 there is a Picture of Alice from Dallas riding in a pony cart and it notes that she was attached to the Tom Mix Circus that year. John Polacsek
Reply: 17 May, 2006 - "Alice from Dallas" was Alice Dunbar born 1893 or '94. She married a circus tattoo man and became Mrs. Frank T. Julian. Alice retired in the '40's. At her peak she weighed 685lbs but later dieted down to 425. She did indeed retire to Dallas, TX and died in a hospital there 25 Nov 1956 at age 62. - Tom
Reply: 24 September, 2006 - I am Alice from Dallas' great niece. I have many great stories about her and her husband Frank Julian. They lived in Oak Cliff a subburb of Dallas after retireing from the circus. They traveled on the train while with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey. If you would like more information I welcome your e-mails. Alice from Dallas was born Alice Wade, Wiley, TX. She was discovered while in Parkland hosp. waiting for an appendectomy which she never got because she escaped from Parkland to join the circus. My name is Linda Lenamond, Dallas, Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org