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Message Archive: Messages 1401 - 1450

1450. Elephant, Iowa, 26 July, 2006 - Looking for any information about an elephant that was buried near Granger, Iowa. Carolyn Fors, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 27 July, 2006 - Granger, Iowa was the winter quarters of Fred Buchanan's circus operation, after it originated in Des Moines. It served his Yankee Robinson show and then his Robbins Bros. circus from the mid 1900s through the winter of 1929-1930, with a slight break in the early 1920s. There was a sort of elephant graveyard on the property, where beasts that died during the winter were interred. It was mentioned by the late Joe Rettinger in his article "The Fred Buchanan Quarters at Granger, Iowa" in "Bandwagon," VII, 5, pages 10-14. His reference reads as follows: "[Col. William H.] Woodcock says several elephants died at the quarters during the years and were buried back up the hill called Gobbler's Knob." One of the elephant historians like Buckles Woodcock may be able to name the actual elephants that passed away on the farm. The farm is still there and the owner or a local historian may be able to point out the above-named location. Rettinger, who died a few years ago, had an extensive collection of Buchanan materials, but whether they're still held by his son or were dispersed with other holdings is unknown. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 02 August, 2006 - If no one else responds, try looking at Joe Bradbury's series of articles about the 1923 World Bros. Circus and the 1924-1931 Robbins Bros. Circus in Bandwagon. They started in XXIII, 5 and continued on. You can locate specific issues by looking at the article index on this website. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 27 Dec 2010 - The elephant were stored in a barn off of Highway 141 at my grandparent's farm in Granger, Iowa. The Fitzsimmons farm. Ryan.

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1449. Ring carpets, 26 July, 2006 - From at least 1947 until they went indoors, Ringling had very elaborate ring carpets. For example the 1951 show in the movie Greatest Show on Earth. Does any one know, for certain, how the design was placed on the carpet. Was the material dyed and cut up and then sewn or was it painted on? The few people I have asked didn't know and/or didn't pay any attention to the carpets. Thanks, Robert L. Mitchell. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1448. Thanks, 25 July, 2006 - Wanna thank all USA-circusfans for responding to my questions on RBBB 1956 (message 1380) and circus-rhinos (message 1350). Your answers have been of great help to me ! Thank you all. John de Vries, the Netherlands. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1447. Amanda Thalero or Thaler, 25 July, 2006 - My Name is Dalana Notafji, I am 34 yrs old. My mother was adopted by Helene Sullivan formerly (Thalero or Thaler). Her Mother's name was Amanda Tuellero-Tullera-Tellero-Tullero. (Corrected: Thalero or Thaler). My Great Great Grandmother was supposedly in the Circus (Barnum & Bailey Circus) & was very Famous, but I can not find any information. I know they have performed in Lisboa, Spain perhaps you might know something. I think she used to Balance on top of the Horses & do tricks. I hope you can help. Thanks for your time. Dalana N. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 Jan 2008 - Please correct the spelling for me I have done my research & found the spelling is Thalero or Thaler & I have a myspace pg incase anyone has any info or wants info on my family history. Circus Pictures included. Dalana N.

1446. Reid, elephant trainer, 25 July, 2006 - My father, Henry “Blackie” Reid, was an elephant trainer and worked in both the Clyde Beatty and John Ringling North circuses. He passed away in 1955 in California. Since I was a baby at the time and he was an orphan, there is no one that I can go to for information on him or his circus career. He married Margaret (Marge) Demshok and she was also in the circus, riding the elephants. As a child I remember seeing a Christmas card from Barnam & Bailey Circus that was printed on a chocolate brown colored paper (hopefully that will help identify the year). Diane Whitman, North Carolina. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 July, 2006 - There will be an employment card for your father in the RBBB business records in the Circus World Museum library. Contact them after the facility reopens. It will reveal exactly when between 1938 and 1956 he was an employee of the circus, also his position, wages, when he was hired and departed, etc. His name and Ms. Demshok's may also have appeared in annual route books, and if that's the case, there will be entries for them in what is known as the "yellow ticket file." Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 24 July 2007 - I remember my mother talking about a bull man named Blackir, email me at and I can find out from her.

1445. M & M, Yahr's, 25 July, 2006 - I am looking for any historical information possible on The M & M Tent Show and Yahr's Traveling Tent Show. I think they traveled mainly through the Midwest (MN, ND, SD, etc.) during the 1930s and 1940s. There may have been one other one called The Great American Tent Show. Any help at all greatly appreciated. Thank you so very much for your help. Katherine Kerr, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1444. Jack Brady, 25 July, 2006 - My father was a barker/carney in the Coney Island side show in the 1940s. His name was Jack Brady. He was friends with Sealo. Am looking for more information and sources to research. Have a picture of him with members of the side show with s Coney Island Hippodrome sign in the background. He may have also been in a film short and was told that he was mentioned in Billboard magazine. Any help is appreciated. Linda Brady. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 July, 2006 - The weekly issues of the trade publication "Billboard" carried news columns about Coney Island from the 1920s into the 1950s. They frequently mention the various street shows, the "talkers" that worked them, etc. You should be able to obtain this magazine on interlibrary loan. Unfortunately, there's no index to the Billboard; one simply has to crank the microfilm and scan visually for the items of interest. Sealo is a known personality and the Hippodrome may be a readily identified venue; it's possible that someone may be able to date the photograph and thereby focus on the time frame of interest. If you monitor ebay and check "Coney Island" listings, you will find DVD transfers of several CI films for 1939, circa 1952 and so on. James Taylor's "Shocked and Amazed" also issued a special issue on CI and perhaps there's some coverage of interest to you therein. Fred Dahlinger

1443. Circus Wulff, 25 July, 2006 - My great-grandfather Giuseppe Mazzucchetti was working as a 'homme volant' in the Swiss circus Wulff in July 1876 in Basel/Switzerland. This I learnt from an advertisement in a Swiss newspaper from that period. I have no more information about him, I have also no idea what this act was. I guess it has to be an act with horses, because the family-history (by hearsay) refers to him as a horsedriver. Can somebody tell more about him, this act or in general about circus Wullf? Thanks in advance! Dolf van der Veen, The Netherlands. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 23 December, 2006 - Hello there, This message is for Dolf van der Veen, The Netherlands. My family owned a circus in Switzerland called the Wulff Circus. My dad’s dad died when he was 2 after suffering an accident from a trapeze. His name was Carl Wulff. My dad’s cousins are also world famous clowns called the Jover Brothers. We have some information avbout them all. We have numerous photographs, and circus advertisements. If I can help you further please email me. My email address is I hope very much to hear from you. Jacqueline Wulff, England

    Reply: 01 April, 2007 - My Great-grandfather was Eduard Wulff, who owned the Circus Ed Wulff - this was made up almost entirely of horse acts, many featuring my Great-grandmother, Maud. I think they were based in Belgium but certainly traveled all over mainland Europe (I have a great photo of the train in a siding in the Netherlands). The timing fits and I'll check the Swiss bit to see if they are the same outfit - if so then Jackie and I must be related. Feel free to contact me at Regards, Luke

    Reply: 03 Jun 2008 - I am responding to your message July 2006. I married into the Wulff/Jover family and have recently started doing a family tree. My husband's family owned the Wulff Family Circus. The info that I have goes back to Viginia Diaz who married Lorencio Wulff and had 3 children - Rafael Emanuel, Lorencio - who died young, possibly from a fall during a performance, and Carlos. Rafael E Wulff was my husband's grandfather. Virginia's second husband was Julian Jover - this is where the Jolly Jovers come in. I do have some pictures of these family members. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail, Debbie Wulff

    Reply: 24 Feb 2011 - Eduard Wulff Circus toured Italy from april 1884 to april 1885. Local newspapers wrote a lot about the performances of that circus and its artists, but they never talked about Mazzucchetti. Marco Martini, Roma, Italy

    Reply: 19 May 2011 - My name is Heikki, i'm writing from Helsinki, Finland. I have been doing my little investigation of circuses here at Finland. I found one new name, Ed Wulff. He tried to get licence to build circus building here at Helsinki 1899. I found your e-mail address from Circus History Message Board. You seemed to know this Wulff-family more, or you are ancestor of them? If you have any information, it would be great. In the end Wulff did not get licence here. He came to Finland from town Stettin, from Poland.

    Reply: 03 Feb 2012 - I just read about your enquiry. I have a programm about circus Wulff in Wiesbaden the 3 July 1902. I found the programm of Circus Wulff in the old paper from my Great grand father Mr. Rodolphe A Spittler who was the manager of Grand cirque Helvetia. The circus Helvetia traveled France between 1905 and 1908. He went also to Danemark and Sweden and in 1912 I know he was in Oran North Africa. Please contact me if you have any information about grand circus Helvetia. Beat Wenger,

    Reply: 27 Apr 2015 - I just stumbled upon this question because I am currently working on an article about the circus building Olympia-Palace in Zandvoort (The Netherlands). This building was opened in 1903 by Eduard Wulff. Apparently he had some problems there one being that the building wasn’t ready on time. He played the building for 3 weeks before going abroad (again?). The book “70 jaar Circus in Nederland” also writes that Wulff was brillant with horses, but unsuccessful as a circus proprietor. On circopedia Eduard Wulff is mentioned in an article on Cirkus Kludsky. They say he sold Kludsky his horses after he filed for bankruptcy in 1902.

    Reply: 19 Mar 2016 - I came across these messages about Ed. Wulff when researching Albert Schumann and his famous performing horses. From press clippings I gleaned that Edward Wulff accompanied Schumann’s horses to America 1909 and directed their performance when RIngling Bro’s contracted the “Brewery Act” (as such referred to in the newspapers) to appear all over North America, including Canada. In one article he was referred to as “Henry Wulff”, in others as “Edward Wulff” and in an advertisement in the “Berliner Boersenzeitung” from Feb 20th, 1890, he signed “Eduard Wulff, Circusbesitzer”. I wonder is this the same? rcz [at] knocknarea [dot] org

1442. Flying Pages, 25 July, 2006 - We are currently looking for the Flying Pages. Do you know what their summer schedule is? We have 2 festivals on the east coast. Pam. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 July, 2006 - Hi, just enter Circus Pages in your search engine and you will receive all the information that you are asking for. Sincerely, Erny Karoly - Evy's brother

    Reply: 27 July, 2006 - There is a big difference between the Flying Pages and Circus Pages. On the Flying Pages, Willie Pages and his family does the flying act with Mercedes their young daughter acting as ring mistress. He stated that in July they were going to Japan to play a park outside of Tokyo for the summer and did not give a date for his return. Circus Pages run by Jorge Pages is currently working the Ionia Michigan Free Fair and then was to play the Imlay City Fair in Michigan. John Polacsek

1441. Circus heirarchy, 25 July, 2006 - My name is Joanne Karr. I'm writing from the Los Angeles area of Southern California. My e-mail address is I'm a high school theatre director and I am planning a production a A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM set in a circus. In other words, the sets will use the idea of a circus and the characters will be various circus performers. My question is whether or not, in the tradition circus, there is a heirarchy or different status associated with different performers. For example, do animal trainers have more or less status than trapeeze artists? Thank you for your time and help. Joanne Karr. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 26 July, 2006 - Hi Joanne, I don't recall any "circus heirarchy". I do remember that certain performers earned the respect of their peers according to the difficulty and quality of their act and performance. Such as The Wallendas, Unus (the man who balanced on one finger) The Zachinni family (Cannon act). Captain William Hayer with his horse starless night (tressage) among many others. Also, how they treated their fellow performers was an other factor. There were some talented performers who were arrogant and and acted like prima donnas. Those would not earn the admiration or respect of the other performers. Thank goodness there were not many of those. I hope this helps you, Erny Karoly

1440. Richards Brothers Circus, 25 July, 2006 - My Grandfathers name was david Samuel Hamilton. He owned a circus called The Richards Brothers Circus, which travelrd throughout The Western United States in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His nickname was “Dick” or “red”. He was a clown, his wife, Aeristene was a dog trainer, and picked up strays, that she incorporated in to the act. Their sons, Richard, Albert and Bill Hamilton were acrobats and trapeze artists. Bill was also a snake handler. I have several pictures of them from the late 20’s and 1930’s. My Grandfather was born in Washington Territory, and Bill was born in Joseph Plains, ID. I am seeking any information on the circus, as when my Grandfather died, my Father, Bill, was afraid that my sisters & I would run away and join the circus, therefore, he gave away all of my grandfathers memorabilia, including his clown outfit. I would really like to get some of these items back. Vivian Hopkins, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 01 August, 2006 - There have been other queries regarding troupes bearing the Richards Bros. names. Do a search back through past queries and you may garner some relevant information. It's always possible that there was more than one. The one that is best known today was operated by Franko Richards. Dates of operation are given in one source as 1911-1928 and 1954, with proprietors as H. B., W. C. and F. Richards. Franko's daughter, Maxine Myers, was last known to be residing in Chiefland, FL. You may want to try and contact her, to determine if there was a family name change or another connection. Fred Dahlinger

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1439. Elephant walk, 22 July, 2006 - I am looking for historical information on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephant walk. When did this tradition start and were the elephant parades/walks used for publicity and/or for practical purposes to move the elephants through main part of towns. Any background would be appreciated. If you know of any books or other reference materials that talks about the elephant walks that would be great to have. Regards, Enrico Dinges, Public Relations Specialist, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Vienna, VA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - An "elephant walk," of the type known and sometimes aggrandized in the past few decades, is a railroad circus operation. It was the a part of the massed walking of pachyderms [as well as all other lead (halter) stock--camels, dromedaries, zebras, sacred cows, performing stock and such] from the railroad yards to the indoor venue or show grounds where the ring show would be presented. It is mostly a major metropolitan area activity, where population growth has displaced the freight yards to areas remote from the center of the city.
          Overland shows simply walked into town, directly to the performance venue, so it provided less of a specialized movement. Motorized shows can often drive directly to a point adjacent to the performance site, also eliminating the possibility of a walk.
          The use of specially outfitted railroad cars ("palace cars") to haul circus animals commenced in 1872, was concluded in 1956, and then re-started in 1960 and continues to today. Prior to 1872 and going back into the mid-1860s, elephants were transported in stock and perhaps box cars that were rented from system railroads. Whenever the freight yard or station was removed from the performance venue, indoor or outside, a "walk" was necessitated to get the animals from the railroad to the stabling and ring area.
          It was part of the daily ritual of the arrival, unloading and erection of the circus. In a sense, the walk was an unofficial, early-morning parade, witnessed by those local citizens who had risen adequately early to observe the event. Later in the morning, usually starting about 10 AM, the scheduled daily, free street parade would be the formal announcement that the circus had arrived and that "Circus Day" was upon the community.
          There are surely nuances to the topic, depending upon definitions, exclusions and such.
          You'd have to check newspaper accounts to learn when the arrival and unloading "walks" were first commented upon, but I'd surmise that it's quite early, into the 1870s. Just when they were aggrandized for publicity sake is a more difficult proposition, since written media releases are likely a later phenomenon, prepared commentary and formally prepared press books with stock stories being known in the early 1900s and perhaps in the 1890s.
          The ritual walks could have been mentioned in show couriers, which started in earnest in the 1870s. Those printed in the 1920s sometimes contained images of the walk, recognizing it as part of the established ritual. "Elephant walks" as a publicized operation are likely a Feld-era undertaking, perhaps prompted by a sensitivity to history and the parades of the past. Ideally, they garner free and happy-fun for the family type publicity for the operation. A herd of elephants delicately walking through the city streets still evokes merriment and wonder for many, especially the youthful.
          A key-word search of the New York Times [ProQuest website, which also covers other city newspapers like Chicago and Los Angeles] or Brooklyn Daily Eagle [also on line, just Google it] may well reveal when the term "walk" was first applied to the event. A Google check of "elephant walk" didn't have any hits involving circus in the first hundred entries, but RBBB-related hits readily came up when the word circus was added.
          An intriguing possibility might be the popular transferal of the phrase "elephant walk" from the Hollywood film "Elephant Walk," the 1954 Paramount production featuring Elizabeth Taylor and Dana Andrews. It was based on Robert Standish's 1949 book of the same name. There's also Henry Mancini's 1961 tune "Baby Elephant Walk," used in the 1962 film Hatari with John Wayne. Reportedly it was played upon a wooden-pipe, calliope-type instrument that was sold recently on ebay.
          If you qualify the "elephant walks" to the era of RBBB, they can be defined as starting no earlier than 1919, when the Combined Shows was first presented to the public. Their profiling by RBBB has waxed and waned in the past several decades. Walks through tunnels or across bridges usually brought about its own publicity, given the novelty of such passages.
          Some elephant walks likely have great stories associated with them. Those who led the walks, elephant men like Buckles Woodcock, can surely recall some special aspects or episodes. A friend, the late folk art historian Fred Fried, played hooky from his mid-town department store job one day in the 1950s or 1960s so that he could take his son to see the pachyderm procession in New York City. Unbeknownst to him, a newspaper photographer [maybe the Daily News] captured he and his son on a bike riding beside the elephants. He had a bit of an ordeal explaining the picture to his boss the next day. It made a great memory and a story he often recounted. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 11 October, 2006 - Thank you Fred. Very informative. I appreicate your insights. Enrico Dinges

1438. Please look - names, 22 July, 2006 - Do these names ring a bell? I'm thinking this lady may have been a trainer and/or performer in some Circus or Review, as well as in Rodeo's, Horse Shows, etc. She has gone by:

Virginia Lee McDonald
Virginia Lee McLachlan
Virginia Lee Perry

She trained and bred and showed white horses all over the country from around 1939 thru the early 2000's. As I understand it, she began her career with a white horse named WHITE TARZAN. He in turn sired TARZAN'S WHITE BANNER, who became the 2nd HI-HO SILVER and mount of Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger. Thanks, Pat, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 Jan 2008 - I am researching horses from the WHR. Would you be willing to share the information you have found? Regards, Laura Domagala,

    Reply: 29 Feb 2008 - Regarding Virginia Lee Perry. I am with the Camarillo white horses and was friends with Virginia. You may contact me with questions if you like Tanya Langkopf,

1437. Null family, 22 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the Null family. They toured as musicians around the mid-70s, with the mother playing keyboard. Her son was named "Isom" and one of her daughters was named "Gloria". Thanks! Kim Kristensen. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 16 April, 2007 - Hello Kim. I worked with Isom and his two sisters and mom when they were attached to the circus owned by Gopher Davenport. Jungle Wonders circus was the name used at that time. I met them and joined in spring of 1977 in Tenn. I spent about two years with them and traveled throughout the south, in 78 we traveled Canada and Alaska. Isom was a juggler. His sister Gloria was living with the manager Gopher Davenport and that time. Bill Swain was the next higher up. I spoke with Isom about 12 years ago and at that time he was living in Pa. He was a welder then. Nothing from him since. I've sent him xmas cards but never got replies. When I met him he told me he was from MONTANA. HELENA somewhere in that area. Great guy would love to hear from him again. Dale, Cleveland OH.

    Reply: 18 Feb 2012 - What kind of information are you wanting? I am third generation to the Null family. pakswillis

    Reply: 14 Aug 2012 - Just wanting to reconnect with old friends from my past circus days. Kim

1436. Missouri abt. 1919, 22 July, 2006 - Does anyone know of a circus that would've past through West Plains, Missouri around the year 1919? Thank You, Cristy Fisher. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1435. Rolling globe, 22 July, 2006 - I am completing research for a children's book I am writing. This historical fiction story takes place in 1936 at the Texas Centennial performance of the Gainesville Community Circus (Gainesville, TX). I would like to know if the rolling globe of that time period was a hollow metal sphere like the globe that is on display in the Santa Fe Depot Museum in Gainesville, TX. If you have information about this, please let me know. Thanks! Linda Ayers, Ben Wheeler, TX, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 02 August, 2006 - There are two, vintage rolling globes in the artifact collection in the basement of the Circus World Museum library. I don't recall if they're from human or animal usage, but construction techniques may have been the same. One is made from laminated wood slices, but whether it's hollow or solid I do not know. The other has an external surface of grooved or treaded rubber, for surer footing. The idea was to support weight without becoming too heavy for prop men to quickly move. Perhaps an inquiry about the construction would bring a response. You might also check with a contemporary prop builder, such as Jake Conover in Xenia, OH, or a shop that caters to the juggling trade, to learn how they're made today. Some things never change, especially when something simple is perfect, or unless there's an advance in design technology or materials. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 12 August, 2006 - Older globes were made of wood, and were hollow, the ones I personally rebuilt were constructed two ways, one was varying sizes of flat rings laminated and formed into a circle. The other method was several vertical circles filled in with wedge shaped laminated pieces resembling orange, or tangerine wedges after reconstructing them, I covered them with fiberglass cloth & solid glittered them before they dried, this gave good footing, but was a little rough on the skin if you slipped off. I believe Ringling Bros. had molds made and were the first to cast Globes of aluminum. You might contact Gary Henry of Gainesville as his parents did a Rolling Globe Act. Bill Strong

    Reply: 11 October, 2006 - Thanks so much for the responses from Fred Dahlinger and Bill Strong! Sorry not to have responded sooner. I have revisited the museum in Gainesville and have photographed what is definitely a metal globe (perhaps aluminum) with wedge shaped pieces. Linda Ayers, Blue Thistle Press,

1434. Kelly-Morris, 20 July, 2006 - Coes anyone have information on the Kelly-Morris Circus era 50's. Also Aggie, Pat, Paul, Berniece Kelly, Dorth Kelly. Morris Troup Bill Morris, Berniece Morris Jobernie Morris. Thank you in advance. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 July, 2006 - There is a short history of the Kelly family on this site item #92. Search this site for the Bandwagon Index Vol. 1 #2 has a short history of the Kelly-Morris show. In another 6 months I should have the history of the Kelly Family Circus completed and it will be published in Bandwagon in a future date. John Polacsek

1433. Ringling Bros Program, 20 July, 2006 - I am trying to obtain a copy of a Program of the Ringling Bros Circus. I am not certain of the the years in question. I think it was from 1900 -1905. My Mother, my Aunt and Grandfather did a tripple trapeze act with the Ringling Show. It was at the same time that May Worth & Lillian Leitzel were with the show. The programs that my mother kept were lost in storage. I would appreciate any help you could give me, even just a copy of a page that mentions their name. Sincerly, Diana G. Hunter, dghunter04@! Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 July, 2006 - I am sorry the Texas heat must have gotten to me. I sent a inquiry abou my Mother and grandparents who did a triple trap act but forgot to tell you the name. The Stubifield Trio. Ringling Show about 1900-1905 I think. Thanks Diana Hunter

    Reply: 22 July, 2006 - Dear Ms. Hunter: Your message peaked my interest because neither Ms. Leitzel nor Ms. Wirth (sic Worth) were on the Ringling Show during the period cited by you. I went through the Ringling programs 1902, 03, 06 thru 18 and the Barnum & Bailey programs 1903 thru 1918 and the RBBB programs from 1919 thru 1930. Ms. Leitzel and Wirth were on all three shows starting around 1914 to 1930, some years one of them, some years both of them, and some years neither. I found no evidence of the Stubifield trio but of course they may have been on the Ringling Show in 1904 or 05 or both. Of course neither Ms Leitzel nor Wirth were on the Ringling Show at that time. Of possible interest to you is in 1906 on the Ringling Show there was a Lillie Satterfield in a menage act. Further, in 1907 also on the Ringling Show there was a Nola Satterfield working with horses (same person - very possibly). I mention these ladies because performers frequently used different names in their act especially if the act was not their principal performing act. Hope this helps a little, Best, Robert F Sabia

    Reply: 22 July, 2006 - Well, 1900-1905 is not when May Wirth and Lillian Leitzel were with R B&B. Leitzel joined Ringlings B&B in 1919. If it was 1900-1905 it would be important to know which circus they were in Bailey's or Ringlings because in fact they only joined in 1908. Natasha Gerson

    Reply: 06 August, 2006 - The Ringling brothers bought Barnum & Bailey in 1908. Barnum & Bailey operated by itself until 1918. In 1919 the two shows were combined and became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows Inc. - Giovanni Iuliani

1432. Wortham Carnival, 20 July, 2006 - I have a relative that worked for Wortham Carnival and possibly others later. I first learned of his employment from his WW! draft card, which lists Wortham Carnival and that he says he was a showman. He was 29 at the time. Later the 1930 census mentions him as a manager of a carnival, he is 40 years old. I have found him on ship passenger lists in 1923 from Hawaii and in 1932 coming from Changhi China. So his carnivals may have traveled around the world. I am trying to find out what happened to Fred A. Clare? His residence was Seattle Washington. 1303 Harrison St. He married two women (Mary, Marjorie or Margaret Cruze) and Marjorie (Carl or Curl). When he was married to them they were listed on the passenger lists. Can you guide me where to look or what carnival to search? I know that Wortham died in the 20's and with him his carnivals. Fred Clare was born 2-15-1889 Winnipeg Canada. He resided with his step family while in seattle there last names were Knowles if that helps. Thanks for your time, David Clare. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - Clarence A. Wortham did pass away in 1922, but his name survived on one of his railroad shows, the one that was re-titled Beckmann & Gerety for 1931. There are very few files of carnival business records surviving today, so the chance of finding actual employment records are nil. You might check with the Social Security administration for later data. The best place to look for personnel are the lists that were periodically printed in the weekly columns of carnival news in "Billboard" and "New York Clipper" [ceased 1923]. Check the spring and early summer issues. Winnipeg was one of the communities that a Wortham unit visited in the early 1920s, providing a possible connection. There may be some photographs documenting the event in a provincial archive. I don't recall a major American carnival heading to the Far East at any time, though it's possible. The biggest outfit in the Pacific Northwest was the Leavitt-Brown-Huggins show, the carousel from which is now at the fair in Puyallup. Do the passenger lists include other known carnival people? You can also check local city directories for annual listings. Fred Dahlinger

1431. Alfred T. Court, 18 July, 2006 - Looking for info on Alfred T. Court, Animal trainer Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. What years was he ring master? His date of birth and death, did he have children? Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 August, 2006 - Alfred T. Court was never a ringmaster on Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. From 1919 until after the end of WWII Fred Bradna was the ringmaster. He retired in 1946. - Giovanni Iuliani

1430. Peters Circus, 18 July, 2006 - I am trying to find information on the 'Peters Circus' or 'Peters Family Circus' in Florida from 1900 - 1930/1940. The circus was owned or managed by Sam (Samuel) Peters. This was my uncle whom I never meet. He was born in Blooming Grove, Texas in 1890. My father was born in Blooming Grove, Texas in1888. My father, Claud Peters, last heard from Sam Peters c 1930. I would appreciate any information. Frances L Peters, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 22 July, 2006 - There are not many circuses that were ever titled 'Peters Circus', but in 1878 S. C. Peters & Company Great American Circus and Monster Coliseum came out of Michigan. This is the only 'Peters Circus' title that I could find and it is before the time period you are interested in. In 1931 there was listed a performer on the Sells-Floto Circus by the name of the Great Peters. He did a hangman's act and was listed as the man with the iron neck as he leaped from a height with a rope around his neck and usually survived. Unfortunately the 'Great Peters' did not use a first name. You might check the Sells-Floto Circus references in the Bandwagon index, etc to see if he was a relative. John Polacsek

    Reply: 26 July, 2006 - Mr John Polacsek, Thank you for the reference to 'Sells Floto Circus'. And your help. I am persuing your information. Thank you again, Fran Peters, Saint Louis, Mo.

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1429. White Racer, circus horse, 17 July, 2006 - WHITE RACER, a white circus stallion, was foaled sometime between 1879 and 1919. Some have said he may have been of Arabian lines. He was reported to have been one of the all-time great performing "high schooled" horses of his time. One of his white foals (born in 1922) was purchased in Greenville, Texas as a 4 year old stallion. Anything on WHITE RACER will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you. Pat, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1428. Circus in Easley, SC 3/1/09, 17 July, 2006 - I am trying to find out the name and any other information/photos on the circus that performed in the city of Easley, near Greenville, South Carolina, on March 1, 1909. My great grandfather, Zion Walker Fortner, who was a spectator, was accidentally shot and killed by another spectator, Hezekiah King, while at the carnival with his wife, Laura Jane Turner Fortner. The perpetrator escaped on foot and was never caught. Thanks so much. Lisa Waugh;, Walterboro, SC. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - I've gone through and found nothing. Perhaps you should check the local library and see if the newspaper from then is microfilmed for you to research through. It should not take you very long since you know the exact date, but you would want to start two weeks sooner than March 1, 1909 as that's when the advance crew would come in to town and start putting up the colorful posters and making all the necessary arrangements for the arrival of the show. Bob Cline

    Reply: 02 August, 2006 - Checking the Easley newspaper would be the best place to look, but if there was none try reading the newspaper from the county seat or other larger communities in the area. Circus and carnival advertisements generally stand out from local advertising. A show that was in adjacent communities may be the one that you're seeking. Another possibility are the show news columns in the weekly trade magazines "Billboard" and "New York Clipper." Your librarian may be able to obtain the requisite microfilm reels for you on interlibrary loan. Being that the incident involved "locals" and not show people, it may not have been given coverage in trade journals. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 13 August, 2006 - Mr. Cline and Mr. Dahlinger, Thank you for your prompt responses and excellent suggestions, much appreciated. Ms. Waugh

1427. Wallis the Lion, 14 July, 2006 - Just a quick note wondering if someone may be able to help? My grandfather used to have a pcture on the wall of "Wallis the Lion". He was very proud of this picture and often said "That's Wallis ! The first Lion to come to Bingley Hall." Can anyone shed any light on this? My grandfather died in the early 1950's, so it may be quite a few years ago. Any help much appreciated, Margaret Sheridan. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 15 July, 2006 - The spelling of the name was "Wallace." That name was applied during several centuries to various beasts, including one owned by the Wombwell operation. The name was also brought to America, likely by the Bostocks. It was essentially generic, it had been applied so often. If you Google "Wallace lion" along with other terms, you'll receive an abundance of web hits to pursue. Your father likely saw one of the latter day animals in a traveling menagerie. It's possible that a broadside or lithograph of the style seen by your father may survive in a collection somewhere. Fred Dahlinger

1426. Phillip Chauvette, 14 July, 2006 - I am seeking information about Phillip Chauvette (also Shevette) who was born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec and learned his acrobatic skills in Saginaw, MI. He performed on stage throughout the world and held two Guiness records. Don Beaudoin Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1425. Elephants Thai & Abbie, 12 July, 2006 - I am looking for any historical information or photos of some elephants that were once owned by the late Morgan Berry. Specificaly elephants Thai and Abbie. Abbie is now called Methai and both elephants currently reside at the Houston Zoo in Houston Texas. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Daryl Hoffman Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1424. Inez Josephine Avanyanya, 12 July, 2006 - I am trying to find information about my great grandmother Inez Josephine Avanyanya a trapeze artist who died in Paris 6th March 1900 as the result of a fall whilst performing. I have a copy of a memorium notice in The Showman of 14/3/02 but can't even find theat nespaper now. My grandfather was with Bostock & Wombell for many years His name was Rene Avanyanya aka Clayton. Can you help me please, Joan Neilson. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 Sep 2007 - Please see message 1522 Elizara Swift. It has since come to light that Elizara Swift died in Paris about this time in the same circumstances. Could this be the same person. Bernard Griffin

1423. Mark circus, 10 July, 2006 - My name is Wanita Webb. My mother was in the circus in Germany. Mum, (Hennrietta Gigler) was part of the 3 Richards, a acrobatic clown act along with her dad (Richard) and my uncle (Fritz). My Grand mother was part of an act called the Geschwister Mark with her two sisters. Her name was Maria Gigler it was her mother (Sofia) who owned the Mark circus. My Grandfather also had a solo act called Little Richard, he might have performed at the Thalia-Theater in Hamburg. If anyone has information about the circus and or the family, I would be very grateful. I think that my Uncle Fritz is still alive and living in Germany, maybe Disleldorf? My E-mail address is Thank you. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 July, 2006 - Hi, what time frame would you be talking about? Pre- or post WWII? The 3 Richards rings a bell somewhere but I would need to know in what period to search. What is your Uncle Fritz' surname? Let me know and I'll have a look. Natasha Gerson

1422. Pollock Brothers, 10 July, 2006 - Can you send us some information on the history of the Pollock Brothers circus and where we can find nostalgic items of this circus? Thank you, Debbie. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 11 July, 2006 - I believe you are referring to the Polack Bros. Circus. It was owned and operated by Irving Polack and Sam Stern from 1932 to 1976. They quite often ran two units at the same time referred to as the Eastern and Western units. They were a class act operation. You can find programs, photos, and ticket type memorabilia on eBay all the time. Bob Cline

    Reply: 11 July, 2006 - Change your search to Polack Brothers. There was a Western Division and an Eastern Division. A few months ago I searched for a 1949 western program and found numerous programs for other years but no 1949s. This site has info under Polack Bros. Richard Gephart

    Reply: 12 July, 2006 - The Polack Bros. Circus was actually preceded by the railroad carnivals that were operated by brothers Irving R. and Harry R. Polack. Harry passed away at Brunswick, GA, March 20, 1919, age 42. His last residence, of a short period, was Cleveland, and before that, for several years, Pittsburgh. Their carnivals were the Rutherford Greater Shows and the Polack Bros. World at Home Shows. Other titles, including Polack Bros. Greater Shows and Twenty Big Shows had been in service. Irving passed away at age 64 on July 13, 1949 in Van Nuys, CA. Irv inaugurated his circus operations in 1922, but it wasn't consistently in operation until later. Starting in 1931 his partner was Harry Stern. Obituaries for the brothers can be found in "Billboard," March 29, 1919, page 3, and July 23, 1949, pages 62 and 89. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 17 July, 2006 - To set the record straight I. J. Polacks partner was Louis P. Stern; IJ died in 1949. His widow Bessie took over his share of the show until her death in, I think 1961 or 62. The show had an unbeatable reputation and had so many requests from the Shrine and other sponsors that they had to start a second unit (the Eastern company. Production numbers were not transfered from one company to another and, for the most part. neither were the acts. Promoters however did change from one company to the other. The Polack show was unique in that it was able to exibit almost any where. From large arenas, vadaville stages, Masonic halls to outdoor venues. Another, at the time, unique feature of the show was the fact that one person handled ALL of the advance dutiers, ranging fro tne advance sale of tickets over the phone to the membership sale to purchasing local supplies needed plus handling all advertising, group sales publicity and promotion. During the engagement he/she handled the box office, made sure all bills were paid and handled all the thousand details and problems that came up. A system that was copied later on by Ice Capades, Hoiday on Ice and even Ringling after Feld purchsed RBBB. The two units came to an end after Mr. Stern and the Grand Master of the Masons had some kind of blow up, I heard over ads sold in the programs. The show lost all of the shrine dates in Californis. For some reason I can not believe I never asked Louis the details of what happened and why but I didn't. I do know that Louis would just pitch a fit when ever the subject came up Louis sold the show in 1976. If you wuld like to talk more about the show you can phone me at 941/359-6857. Bob Mitchell

    Reply: 20 July, 2006 - Yes, Louis Stern is the correct name, sorry about the slip up. It sounds like you know a good bit about the Polack circuses; why not compose an article for "Bandwagon" and enlighten others about this highly regarded operation? The editor would likely be pleased to hear from you. Too little has been written and published about Stern's era and indoor operations. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 19 Jan 2014 - I would be very interested in more information about The Pollock Brothers, my dad Doug Hart joined them in 1935 when he was 12, my mother Avis Feaster joined in 1938 when she was 18. My mother's mother was Thelma Babe Feaster Floyld, was a bareback rider in 1938 with RBBB, my grandfather was Ray Floyd Drumer in the band in 1938 to 1966. Clydia

1421. Loretta Sisters, 09 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the Loretta Sisters who toured with the Barnum and Bailey Circus which was just starting up. They did two acts: Acrobatic and Slack wire. One the the sisters' name was Daisy Lamy. The other may have been Pearl. They then went on to work for Ringling Brothers. I have been told they are listed in the Circus Hall of Fame. I am also interested in Theordore Smith who worked as a circus clown and completed portraits and his twin brother Vickie Smith who was an acrobat. I am interested in their history as well as their nationality. Donetta Seliger, of Bakersfield, California. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1420. Old King, 09 July, 2006 - Hi folks! I've got some more questions regarding another circus stallion and his one-time owner, etc. The horse was known as OLD KING. He was a white stallion foaled between 1906 and 1908. He was what years ago, one might have called an "Albino", but of course he wasn't, because he did not have pink eyes. He did have a snowy white coat, pink skin and dark eyes. It was reported that he was a "circus horse" and used for breeding "circus horses". Some reports say that he was a Morgan/Arabian cross. He was purchased (see below/1917/Thompson/WHR) from a Prof. Wm. P Newell of Illinois. Newell could have been the circus horse trainer or an agent of. He is supposed to have had several other white horses. I don't know if the "Prof" in front of Newell's name was a moniker, or if in fact he was a Professor of education? Anything on Wm. P. Newell will be greatly appreciated.
      In 1917 Caleb R "Cal" and Hudson B. "Hud" Thompson, then of West Point, Nebraska, purchased OLD KING from Newell to start a "new" breed of horses. This would be the famously known White Horse Ranch of Naper, Nebraska, with their touring groups of white horses. I am in contact with the current managers of the White Horse Ranch (Nebraska) and the Camarillo White Horse group in California. Also, I am trying to make contact with the Andersons of the Texas White Horse Troupe (Texas). It seems I might have to go thru their booking agent, which usually takes lots of time and sometimes is complete dead end. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Pat Mefferd, PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research, Proud Stepdaughter of Fred Kennedy (1982 Stuntman's Hall of Fame), Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 12 July, 2006 - Further investigation shows the OLD KING may have been known as SILVER KING in his prime. PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - A horse named Silver King was with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows in the late 1890s. A doctored photograph of the beast is in their 1897 route book, page 50; it has also been reproduced in books by C. P. Fox. Other Silver King data might be found in programs, couriers, lithographs, etc. of the era. I doubt that they'd have published much about his blood lines. You might check with Keeneland, if you've not already done so. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 29 Feb 2008 - Available for questions Tanya Langkopf (Camarillo White Horses) owner and association member also I am in contact with both other groups from time to time what is your interest?

    Reply: 03 Mar 2008 - The Andersons can be reached by email:

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1419. Website, 09 July, 2006 - - Circus & Fairground History & Genealogy website, mainly European Circus but American, Australian, South African and other circus topics most welcome. Very best, Jim, Brian Boswell's Circus (Pty) Ltd., South Africa, email: Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1418. Turkey and Balkans, 08 July, 2006 - I am trying to find out some information about circuses in Turkey and the Balkans, around the 20's and 30's. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks, Bronwyn Mills. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1417. Gerald Clay, 08 July, 2006 - Iam looking for what name my grandfather used in the time he work for the circus in 1920 to 1928. If it was Gerald Clay or Harry Gibbs. Or if he used both names in the circus. Am not sure what he did in the circus. We are 99% sure his given name is Gerald Clay when he left home at the 16yrs old. Then by 1928 he married my grandmother and his name was Harry Gibbs. We would like to know what happen for him to chage his name. He is gone now so we can ask him. Mag Hephner, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1416. Sells-Floto, Mlle. Fugère, 07 July, 2006 - I'm interested in the history of the Sells-Floto circus, but primarily in the act of Mlle. Fugère and her baby elephants. What year(s) was this act a part of the circus? Was "Fugère" a stage name, or her real name? If Fugère was her real name, what was her first name? How did come to be a part of the circus, and training elephants? Thanks so much, Tiffany Fugère. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 09 July, 2006 - I'm not sure how much early history you want. My Mothers' Uncle was one of the partners who started Sells-Floto Circus, which he originally named Floto Dog & Pony Show, and that is what it was to begin with. PM MEFFERD Pedigree Research

    Reply: 02 August, 2006 - It's always intriguing to find one's family name on a fine circus poster, but I suspect that in the instance of Mlle. Fugere that the search for her may lead to no real person.
          The 1926 Sells-Floto poster featuring "Mlle. Fugere" also sports the phrase "Exclusive European Novelty." Perhaps in 1926, the alleged date of the poster, that may have been true, but for several years in the 1910s a flower-decorated, two-wheel cart pulled by a tandem hitch of small elephants was part of the Sells-Floto street presentation. More than likely it was trained by Lucia Zora, the well known animal presenter and her husband, elephant man Fred Alispaw. The driver(s) in 1912 and 1913 may have been Zora, or Ethel Roberts and Miss Franklyn Dreska, respectively. The beasts were "Kas" and "Mo," abbreviations for the two states in the Union. Steve "101 Heck" Albasing had an image of the street feature and another is in "Bandwagon," XIX, 4, page 11. The driver there is identified as Lucia Zora, for reasons unknown. Zora and her husband joined Sells-Floto for 1911 and likely initiated several new features shortly thereafter. A gentleman named Nathan McKay is listed handling Kas and Mo in 1914, but specific mention of the two animals is dropped in 1915. Carrie Royal, probably Rhoda Royal's wife or daughter, worked with Zora in the ring in 1915. Someone named Arlene Palmer presented Kas and Mo in the ring in 1916 and Carrie Royal was back with another pair of small elephants, Muggins and Billy Sunday. Aldine Palmer and Carrie Royal worked with Zora in 1917, but neither pair of punk elephants is listed. Kas and Mo are recorded pulling a caisson in a 1917 parade in "Bandwagon," XX, 3, page 11. In 1917 Minnie Thompson worked the large elephants and Bertha Wilkes handled the "baby" elephants. There had been other tandem elephant hitches in American circus history, going back to the mid-19th century. Many horse acts were also utilizing carts and carriages post-1900. The tandem elephant and flowered cart ensemble seems to be a sort of combined derivation.
          Knowing show publicity leads me to be suspect of the actual existence of "Mlle. Fugere." Perhaps she was the generic aggrandizement of one of the five ladies that assisted the replacement head elephant man, one Jim Dooley, in presenting five rings of elephants as Display 15 in the 1926 program. They included: Babe Gardner [Cheerful Gardner's wife]; Rae Bailey; Effie Rairden; Irene Ledgett; and a Miss Weber. Those were the names extracted by Gordon Brown from a "Billboard" review of the 1926 opener, part of his extensive story on the 1926 elephant runaway. [Bandwagon, XXI, 2, pages 17-25.] The fact that the review made no mention of this presumed French lady, or her "baby" elephants also makes one suspect of her real presence. Brown's work on the Sells-Floto elephants indicates that there were no babies present, but rather several small elephants that had been imported in 1922. I don't believe that any of the babies previously born on the show survived to maturity. It's possible that a tandem hitch might have been part of the opening spectacle "Birth of the Rainbow," or another production number. There will likely be some biographical material about the Gardners in various resources [Bill Johnston's biography of "Cheerful," so named because of his taciturn personality, is in "Bandwagon," XXXV, 2, pages 29-33]. Irene Ledgett and husband Fred were well known in the circus business and biographical materials are available. The remaining three ladies are not well known, at least to this respondent.
          To further your interest on the topic, I'd recommend that you obtain Lucia Zora's autobiography, "Sawdust and Solitude," as well as other period books covering animals and their circus existence by Edwin Norwood and Courtney Ryley Cooper. You should be able to obtain these long out of print via interlibrary loan at your local library, or perhaps purchase them via on-line booksellers.
          Frank "Cheerful" Gardner was highly respected, his training methodology having an impact through several generations to the present time. The Ledgetts were also beloved in the business. Bottom line, I believe that you will find the true history of the 1926 presentation and the story of the actual people involved to be more interesting than the fictional Mlle. Fugere, despite the attraction of her name.
          As always, checking is a possibility, as is further reading of Billboard and perhaps Variety. A 1926 Sells-Floto program likely exists that might contain the Fugere name. The only means to disprove her existence may be by making an examination of the 1926 Sells-Floto payroll ledger that might be in the RBBB Business Records in the basement vault of the Circus World Museum library. As you have probably already learned, a Google search for Mlle. Fugere yielded no substantial results. Fred Dahlinger

1415. Joe Craston, clown, 06 July, 2006 - I’m interested in finding out more information about the clown Joe Craston – he was my great-grandfather. I would be grateful for any info you can give me. Thanks, Jenny Taylor, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 08 July, 2006 - The Toole-Stott bibliography, "Circus and Allied Arts," entry 905, Frank Foster, "Clowning Through," (1937), has what are characterized as "potted" biographies of a few clowns including Joe Craston. Toole-Stott 10882, "A Proper Circus with Omie," (1962) also contains material on Craston. I seem to recall a Louise Craston [if it's Cranston, I apologize for the memory failure], a later female clown, also British, maybe with RBBB in the 1940s or early 1950s for a season or two. There's a file on female clowns in the CWM library vertical file and that's where readily available information will be located on her and other pre-RBBB Clown College female clowns [sisters with B&B circa 1900, one of the LaPearls, etc.]. There's an image a brief story in a 1940s or 1950s issue of White Tops about Louise. A group photo of RBBB clowns also includes her. Fred Dahlinger

1414. Rufus Welch 1843-44, 05 July, 2006 - I am looking for information about the Rufus Welch tour of 1843-1844 to the Mediterranean ports and Brazil. Richard W. Flint published an article about Rufus Welch in Bandwagon: R.W. Flint, "Rufus Welch: America's Pioneer Circus Showman," Bandwagon, Vol. 14, No. 5 (Sep-Oct) 1970, pp. 4-11. This article only covers Welch's life up to 1843. It promises a second article in Bandwagon that would discuss his tour of the Mediterranean ports and Brazil and the remainder of his life. However, as far as I can determine, the promised article never appeared. This tour appears to have arrived back at New York City from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on the Bark Rollo, on 20 May 1844. The passenger list filled out at the time of arrival lists 9 individuals with occupation "Circus."

Rufus Welch, age 43, place of birth: ? States, occupation: Circus
John Clayton & Servent, age 43, place of birth: ", occupation: "
John T. Mathuw, age 25, place of birth: ", occupation: "
Charles J. Rodgers, age 27, place of birth: ", occupation: "
Phil Walsh, age 32, place of birth: ", occupation: "
Wm Kincade, age 9, place of birth: ", occupation: "
Edward Kincade, age 16, place of birth: ", occupation: "
James Renolds, age 13, place of birth: ", occupation: "
?is Cline, age 33, place of birth: England, allegiance: ? States, occupation: "

I recognize Rufus Welch, John Clayton, and Charles J. Rodgers. I am looking for additional information about this tour, and especially about Phil Walsh. Thanks, David Lambert, Sterling Heights, MI, e-mail: Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 July, 2006 - The proposed second part of my biography of Welch was, instead, well-covered by Stuart Thayer in volumes two and three of his excellent series, "Annals of the American Circus."
          The main source for what is presently known about Welch's Mediterranean tour is John Glenroy's autobiography, Ins and Outs of Circus Life (Boston, 1885), pages 43-44 and 53. Glenroy had been traveling with Welch & Mann's company in early 1843 when they went to New York where two companies were created for the coming season. Glenroy, however, went with Mann's show, which was leased to others for part of the summer and fall before heading to the northern coast of South America and the West Indies, returning in late April 1844.
          Glenroy does report that Welch's company sailed on the brig Francis Amy in May 1843 with the following performers: John J. Nathans, two and four horse rider; Edward and William Kincaid, riders and acrobats; Henry Ruggles, slack rope performer and acrobat; James Runnells, acrobat, gymnast, and tumbler; Charles J. Rogers, described by Glenroy as the "best scenic rider of the world at that time"; Walter Howard, rider; Madame Louise Howard, rider and singer; Henry Palmer, ringmaster; Louisa Wagstaff Palmer, rider; John May, clown. Glenroy reports that Welch's group returned in mid-May 1844 from Rio Janeiro, approximately two weeks after his (Glenroy's) return.
          The passenger list mentioned in the query nicely confirms Glenroy's recollection with a return date of May 20; as is generally known, Glenroy's autobiography has proven to be a remarkably accurate account of 42 years of professional travel. A comparison of the company list provided by Glenroy and that of the passenger list shows a difference suggesting that some performers returned by a different route and perhaps on different dates. Mathuw and Walsh are new names to the roster of known early circus performers but all the others can be found in the index of Thayer's "Annals".
          Welch's age, as recorded in the passenger list, gives credence to an 1801 birth date rather than the possible 1800, a small question discussed in the second footnote of my article. Richard Flint, Baltimore, MD

    Reply: 07 July, 2006 - Glenroy's book was scanned and can be accessed on the CHS website in its entirety. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - Please communicate my thanks to Fred Dahlinger for his help. I have already sent a thank you to Richard Flint. Thanks again, David Lambert

    Reply: 16 Sep 2008 - Hi, I was reading your online question about Phil Walsh. I think he may be an ancestor of mine, although we spell it Walch. I think I emailed you before (possibly from a Juno email?) but never got back to you. I was wondering if you have more information on Phil Walsh/Walch? I haven't been able to find much on his history. Thank you, Karen Walch

1413. Mira Miro Vanzuci, 05 July, 2006 - I'm looking for a picture (or digital copy) of a native american who visited the turkish city Istanbul (old name Constantinople) at 1880 with a circus. His name should be Mira Miro Vanzuci and acted in horse shows. He is the first known native american who visited Turkey and stayed for 5 years. I ask this picture as a proof of his visit. I would be very happy if you could help me to find this picture, or another one which could be from the same circus maybe in another country. Regards, Fikret Calislar, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 07 July, 2006 - A search on Google turned up one photograph on the page However, the text is not in english. Maybe you can get someone to translate for you. John Vaught

1412. Britain's Mammoth Circus set, 05 July, 2006 - I purchased Britain's Mammoth Circus set from an antique shop several years ago. Does anyone have any information on this set? The set was manufactured by M.Britain in London England. Regd.#459993. Set #1539. Thanks, RONALD DART, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1411. Moscow State Circus, 04 July, 2006 - I have been very lucky to find and put in touch with a relative of 87 today - that I have never met! A topic of family history is this: Family History is Musical, and I am trying to find articles relating to my Aunt, Eva, now deceased, who travelled in a double act (possibly called the "Linde sisters") in the 1930's. (Xylophone [Ivy], Marimba [Ivy], Saxophone [Eva], Violin [Eva]; possibly percussion [Ivy]). On or about 1936 they were travelling with the Moscow State Circus, when Eva was arrested and put in the Lubyanka. Legend has it the NKVD took all the Music away to "decode" it. Somehow, through contacts, they got her out a year later. Her crime was being married to a German, Sasha (I believe), and therefore a Spy. Unfortunately, I don't know any surnames then (and no-one around to ask). Is there any place I can go to research this? It rated a 2-3 column inch article in a (UK ?) newspaper, I believe, at the time. Any help or pointers you could give would be gratefully received. Thank you. Terry Browne FCIS, North Yorkshire, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 20 Jun 2010 - Further info in Article found in Singapore Sunday Times of 1st August 1937 - see - Terry Browne. New e-mail address:

    Reply: 04 Sep 2010 - More information coming forward via Daily Express articles in London. 19 July 1937. Tracing has found that at that time, my Aunt's married name was Eva Lowenburg. Google search on Eva Lowenburg reveals photos of her, and my mother, i.e. "The Linde Sisters" at, and Eva alone 2285900163. Thank you for your interest everyone so far, hopefully this might produce a little more data. Terry Browne. .

1410. Circus Organizational charts, 04 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the organizational chart for a circus. Just a basic chart of pecking order. In addition I am looking for job descriptions and basic duties per role. I have been looking at current opening as well as the training facilities but cannot find the detail. Thanks for your help. Kelly VanReeth, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

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1409. Earl Shipley, 03 July, 2006 - I am looking for information on the circus career of Earl Shipley. He was born and returned to his hometown of Willow Springs, Missouri, but there is little information here honoring his career. I have recently moved to Willow Springs and am a part time clown. I hope to get Earl Shipley's circus career to be a recognized part of local history.) Thanks for any information or possible sources I could pursue. Jim Vokac (a.k.a. Franklin the clown). Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 July, 2006 - In 1931 Earl Shipley was employed as a clown on the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Have you looked at his obituary? Many times there are leads in the local newspapers, and possibly the Billboard obituary notices, as to a performer's history. John Polacsek

    Reply: 25 July, 2006 - After the CWM library re-opens, ask them to check their yellow ticket listings, Draper files, small collections, photo albums and folders, etc. for Shipley information. It's abundant and you would have little difficulty establishing his career path. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 10 Feb 2008 - Earl Shipley was my Great Uncle and brother of my Grandmother Myrtle Shipley/Ward. My mother Mary Louise Ward/Barker was born in Willow Springs Mo. Her twin brother, Billy Ward also became a clown. I am the closest living male relative for this family. I know more than a bit of history and have info on both Earl and Billy. Bill Barker.

    Reply: 24 Aug 2009 - Earl Shipley was my uncle and brother of my mother, Helen Francis Shipley. She was also born in Willow Springs, Missouri, in November, 1908. I have two brothers (living) who are Uncle Earl's nephews. There are lots of great nieces and nephews. (Bill Barker is my second cousin). I have lots of old circus photos of "RED" SHIPLEY, also photos of Billy Ward when he was a trapeze artist with the circus - he later became a clown with the circus. Earl Shipley was born January 16, 1893 in Willow Springs, Missouri. His parents were Hugh M. Shipley and Matilda E. Guffey. They are buried in the Willow Springs cemetery. I was told that the airport there was named after Uncle Earl. My mother told me that Earl ran away with "the" circus when he was about 16 or 17 years old. Uncle Earl retired to Sarasota, Florida. (Not sure what year he died). Earl was married to "Aunt Hattie" who was also with Ringling Bros. - she did an aerial act where she hung by her teeth. She also made alot of the circus costumes. I went to the circus many times when I was growing up (in St. Louis, Mo.) Please feel free to contact me for any info I can possibly give to you. Sally Fitzgerald

    Reply: 05 Aug 2010 - Sally Fitzgerald - thanks for the note of 24 Aug 2009. I searched for contact info for you and failed. Can you contact me? I have lots of questions. We are planning a display on Earl Shipley's career for the Willow Springs Historical Society. 417-469-4822 Thanks in advance. Jim Vokac

1408. Death of Tightrope Walker in Utah, 03 July, 2006 - My girlfriend and I are performers (jugglers), and recently she told me that she went a circus when she was younger and saw a tightrope walker fall and die. She is 22 now, and has blocked out a lot of the memory. The accident took place in Utah (she's almost sure of that at least) probably in the 1990-1995 range. It was before the circus nets were mandatory I guess. Anybody know the name of that performer? Thanks. Justin, Beaverton, OR. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 05 July, 2006 - Hi Justin, I just spoke with a good friend of mine who was working on a circus in Utah and recalls such an accident about the time period you describe. The name of the circus was Jordan International. As my friend recalls, the high wire performer received serious injuries from the fall, but did not die. She can not recall the performers name, although she believes he was from South America. Jim Cole. It seems that there was a similar inquiry on the CHS message board about 5 - 6 months ago.

1407. Iverson and Gebel, 03 July, 2006 - What are Johnathan Lee Iverson and Mark Oilver Gebel doing now? Thanks, FRANK J GALANTI, Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1406. Capt. Leo Collins, 02 July, 2006 - I bought a photograph of "Capt. Leo Collins", which shows him as a circus high diver with the Sun Bros. Circus, in 1900. The inventor of the "Collins no battery flashlight" the "Collins wind-up razor" and "Collins round razor" was also a circus high diver at one point in his life. Does anyone know if this is the same Collins, or have any more detailed information on Capt. Leo Collins? Thanks, John Vaught, Collinsville, Va. ( Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 July, 2006 - "Bandwagon," XXXVIII, 3, carries the longest story in print on the Sun Bros. operation, but it has little 1900 coverage and makes no mention of Collins. If you're certain of the year being 1900, some scanning of "New York Clipper" and "Billboard" circus coverage might yield some results. Sun Bros. opened the 1900 season at Raleigh, NC on April 5th [per New York Clipper of April 21, page 173]. The newspaper may have published a review of the show. The show was then utilizing winter quarters in Roanoke, VA. Circuses started presenting free outdoor acts by the 1850s, ascensions, diving acts, etc., and Collins presentation was likely of that style. He could have been contracted by different circuses, carnivals and amusement parks, all of which utilized free acts to build attendance. Some appearances might not have been under his own name. There were quite a few diving acts, some of which contracted for advertisements in the Clipper and Billboard. You might also check for listings as well as the obituary index for "Variety." A date there might lead to greater coverage in Billboard. Searching census records, local city directories, etc, the usual sources accessed by biographers and genealogists, will likely yield the answer that you seek, as well as a broader understanding of Collins's entire life. Determining that your 1900 diver is the same person as the inventor may likely require ascertaining residence and such, unless you are adequately fortunate to locate a detailed biography that specifically associates him with Sun Bros. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 05 July, 2006 - Thanks for the good information. The "parlor card" photograph is labeled Sun Bros' Circus 1900. Collinsville, Va. is only 55 miles from Roanoke,Va. so I may also check with some of the history people in Roanoke. The town of Collinsville was named for a Collins who was a circus high diver at one time. We think his given name was Levi Bertrand Collins, and he went by the name of Cap B. Collins on all of his patents. Your information will give me some new leads to check. Thanks, John Vaught, Collinsville, Va.

1405. Crossing Genesse Falls, 30 Jun, 2006 - I am interested in researching a bit of old family history, and wonder if you can give any help, please. Regretably, I have very little information to pass along. I don't even know this man's name! He may have been a great, great, great uncle? I have his photo, but that's all. He was supposedly with a circus - maybe a clown? But we learned of him in the family as having crosssed Genesse Falls on tightrope. (Or was it in a barrel?) Its more likely, on tightrope. This must have been in the middle or late 1800's or early 1900's. He looks portly and sad (as all clowns probably do without their makeup) and had bags under his eyes. He was in civilian clothes and dressed well. Any ideas anyone? I am awaiting memorabilia to be delivered from an older cousin, but she doesn't know his name either. I may be able to forward a photocopy of this man later on? There was one man listed, via Google, as crossing Niagra Falls on tightrope and also being a professional tightrope walker with a circus. THAT name is Oliver Hilton, but I couldn't find out more about him that than, nor do I know that he ever crossed Genesee Falls too. (I myself am 82 so you can imagine how far back this man might go. Another relative - my grandmother's grandmother - lived near Rochsteser, New York. She survived three husbands, so I don't know her various last names. Was this man possibly related to her, or one of her husbands? Many thanks for trying! Sincerely, Carol Lems-Dworkin, Evanston, IL. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 06 July, 2006 - A short time ago I sent the e-mail, above, hoping to be able to obtain some information from your regarding an old relative of ours who, we thought, was a circus clown who also crossed Genesee Falls on tightrope. I have not yet had any response yet from you. However, since writing, I have found out a bit more information. His last name may have been PULLIS or GOULD - more liklely, PULLIS? I also found out that it might have instead been NIAGARA FALLS that he crossed on tightrope, rather than GENESSE FALLS. (When I checked out the "Niagra Falls Daredevils" web site, however, I didn't find any listing there for either "Pullis" OR "Gould.") I did find a little more information using Google today, but this was all I could find: I located PULLIS (without a last name) merely listed as a "Slack-rope performer with Mount Pitt Circus, NYC, fall 1828; and LaFayette Circus, NYC, January 1827." I believe I found this on "Olympians of the Sawdust Circle." He is also listed as an adventurous "King of Clowns." We have heard that our relative was also a clown. I can also send a copy of the one photo we have, if this would be of any use. But perhaps this new information might help to narrow the search. Looking forward to hearing from you one way or the other, please. Thank you kindly. Carol Lems-Dworkin, Evanston, IL

    Reply: 08 July, 2006 - Rochester NY indeed has several falls on the Genessee River. The fact that your grandmother lived near here lends credence to that story. There have been various daredevils to cross the falls or go over it, in our history - I will try to locate the names of any that may have been published. Carol

1404. Great Mons Victor, 30 June, 2006 - I am looking for information about Frank Firestine and family (Franz Heinrich Feuerstein). He performed as a snake charmer, a contortionist (The Great Mons Victor), he performed with the Flying Fortons (not sure about the spelling of this one). He performed a short ?high wire? Act at a ticket booth, and was also said to have played a wind instrument in the parades. The Sells – Floto circus is one of those mentioned in family history. His wife’s name was Myrtle and they had a daughter in 1900 named Gladys Mae and she was said to have done a trained dog act (whether she was an assistant or the main actor – I don’t know. We do have a picture of “The Great Mons Victor” but really don’t have a lot of hard core evidence of the families time with the circus’. They lived in St. Joseph, MO and we think they left circus life sometime before 1910. Any information to aid us in finding additional information would be greatly appreciated. I would also be very happy to share our photo with you if interested. Thank you for your time. Carol B. Groover, Locust Grove, GA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 04 July, 2006 - Sells-Floto as a circus title came into use in 1906, an outgrowth of the [Otto] Floto Dog and Pony Show. It was Denver-based, but also wintered elsewhere [Venice, CA one winter]. It survived in constant use through 1932 and today the title is used on the RBBB concessions company. The late Gordon Carver wrote a series of articles about the early years of the show and you can locate these in the article index on this website. Orin C. King also wrote articles about Sells-Floto. Their writings might include references to performers that would be helpful to your search. In the economy practiced by traveling circuses, it would not be unusual for members of smaller troupes to do multiple turns in performance, side show, concert, etc. There is also the Burns Kattenberg collection of contortionist photographs at Harvard University. Their images might provide additional understanding of his circus career. The listing of the other circus titles with which they are affiliated might provide further understanding of the circus affiliation. Some titles had a very brief existence, providing accuracy as to the year of association. Fred Dahlinger

1403. May Kovar Schafer, 29 June, 2006 - My Name is Bernard "Rusty" W. Parker III, I am one of May Kovar and Curly Schafer's Grandsons, My Mother Sandra June Schafer, who was later Adopted by David Joseph Kleindienst and Margret B. Kleindienst, after the Death of My Biological Grandparents May Kovar who was killed by her Lion at Jungleland in thousand Oaks in California in 1950, and my Grandfather "Curly" Schafer died Fallen Down Drunk after My Grandmothers Death, I need to find any Information, Photos, and Posters of my Grandmother May Kovar Schafer. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

1402. Chang Reynolds, 29 June, 2006 - What information might you have on Chang Reynolds? He was, I believe, a cousin of my grandmother (Gretchen Turner Kelsey, 1900-1997) and I have a charcoal drawing by him of horses at a watering trough outside a circus tent. Thank you. Dan Milliman, Stoughton, MA. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 June, 2006 - Chang Reynolds was an educator, school system administrator and artist in the Los Angeles area. He is remembered for his circus research, documentation of elephant history and lore, observations as a naturalist, photography and works of art, especially those depicting animals. He wrote quite a few articles about circus and Wild West history for the CHS magazine "Bandwagon" [check 1962-1992] and also published "Pioneer Circuses of the West" in 1966. You'll find the articles indexed on this website. At one time he was the President of the Circus Historical Society and later served as a director. His extensive collection was donated by his family to the Circus World Museum library. His widow, Mary, survived him, as did one or more daughters, including one named Susan. Chang was a true gentleman, a very fine person to know. He passed away January 29, 1987. A fine obituary for him is in "Bandwagon," XXXI, 1, page 3. Fred Dahlinger

    Reply: 02 July, 2006 - What a prince was Chang! I would only add to Fred's notes that Chang's name was actually Charles, that he joined the Circus Historical Society in early 1959 as our number 788, and that he went by "Chang" for much of his life after being so named by fellow college students from his insatiable habit of visiting the Rochester (New York) Zoo to draw Chang the elephant. Old Whitey

1401. Dodson Shows, 29 June, 2006 - I had an uncle, George L. Hurley aged 29,from CT; was listed in 1930 census (April 15th) was employed by Dodson Shows at a stop in Waco City, TX as concession agent; carnival showman; poss a Barker. I would like to find out what that group had for a schedule of travel for its shows from then thru the 1940's if possible, and if anyone might have known him. I do not know when he stopped employment with them but my brother as a boy prob abt 10-12 spent a summer with him in his travel,prob late 30;s but does not remember what states or towns; since I cannot find out from 1940 census as yet for a few yrs, this info would help. He did die in CT in 1948, so I wonder when his travel with Circus/Carnival life stopped. Thank you, M.H.R. Respond to this message, replies go to this board, not to the message sender.

    Reply: 30 June, 2006 - The Dodson's World's Fair Shows was a well known railroad carnival. Joe McKennon's "Pictorial History of the American Carnival" provides operational dates of 1915-1945. There are other miscellaneous references to the show, and the principal owner, C. Guy Dodson, in McKennon volumes I and II. Dodson came back out for the single season of 1949.
          Bob Goldsack wrote a lengthy and illustrated article about the operation in "Midway Journal Illustrated," May 2000, pages 6-19. It includes some route information. The magazine is no longer printed, but Goldsack may have some extras to sell. His address is elsewhere in this message board. There's also a page about the Dodson railroad show in Goldsack's book about carnival trains.
          The show utilized Waco, TX as a winter quarters before and after the 1930 tour. That would explain the reference to that community. There may be local newspaper articles about the novelty of a carnival in the community during the winters.
          The only likely place that you will find consistent information about the Dodson show activities and route is in the weekly issues of the trade journal "Billboard." It had several pages of carnival commentary plus routes and advertisements. It's been microfilmed and your local librarian may be able to obtain it on interlibrary loan for you. Extended biographies about C. Guy Dodson are in the December 3, 1955 issue (pages 73-74) and September 29, 1956 (page 80), which is his obituary.
          An article about the Dodson Shows in the April 19, 1930 issue of "Billboard" provides a synopsis of the new features as well as a roster of ownership, staff and bosses. There is no listing of a George Hurley, but there is a mention of a Leona Hurley, owner and operator of a single concession. On a midway, it was not unusual for one spouse to be employed with one concession and the other spouse being with another, or having their own operation. The show opened the 1930 tour at Waco on April 5, the event highlighted by a big parade. I'd bet that there's some local newspaper coverage of the operation. It's also possible that other show staff were enumerated in a later issue.
          If you have the exact date of death of your uncle, you could check the obituary column of "Billboard" for his notice. Perhaps he was still known to the profession, or possibly a friend supplied a notice.
          Billy Burr, residing in Hollywood, FL, is a former New England carnival man and knows as many people in the business as anyone else. You might try contacting him.
          It is unlikely that any significant archive of Dodson show business records or Dodson personal papers survive today, though his wife and two daughters survived him.
          By the way, in outdoor show business, "barkers" have four legs and a tail. The leather-lunged men that attracted people to the back end shows were "talkers," with other names less frequently utilized. Fred Dahlinger

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