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Why Join the Circus Historical Society?

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      Membership in the Circus Historical Society provides you with the journal, Bandwagon, which includes leading edge knowledge of circus history. Equally important, it also brings you into contact with others with an interest in the history of the circus. The best recommendations for joining the Circus Historical Society are the personal testimonies of those who have been enriched by their membership, and who, in turn, have given of their own time, knowledge and effort to further support the mission of the organization. Here’s what a selected group of members wrote in response to the question:

circle The Circus Historical Society is a rare opportunity to meet some of the most important collectors of circus ephemera in the United States and to exchange ideas with the authors of groundbreaking research into the rich history of the American circus. The American circus invented the rules of engagement for today’s global entertainment industry, and organizations like the CHS are critical to keeping the circulation of its artifacts and documentation alive. The members of the CHS are driven by their belief in the circus’ important legacy, and it is through efforts like theirs that the history of the circus has survived to today. – Noel Daniel, Princeton graduate 1995, Fulbright Scholar 1997; editor, The Circus 1870-1950 (Taschen, 2008).

circle The Circus Historical Society is an amazing community comprised of wonderful people, who are generous with their time and expansive insights on circus history. Moreover, Bandwagon is a first-rate publication, packed with rich historical information and visual material. Circus Historical Society annual conventions are always packed with terrific presentations, great conversations, and excellent field trips!" – Janet M. Davis, Associate Professor of American Studies and History and Chair, Department of American Studies, University of Texas at Austin; author of The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top (2002) and editor of Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Memoir of Tiny Kline (2008).

circle The Circus Historical Society is made up of a friendly group of people interested in all aspects of circus history. It is an organization where the serious circus researcher and the "armchair historian" can both share information and thoughts on "all things circus." The Circus Historical Society bi-monthly magazine, Bandwagon, is an excellent chronicle of circus history plus a year end review of current shows. The Circus Historical Society website is a most useful research tool providing both archived material and the membership-wide discussion board for asking and answering show-related questions. – Stephen T. Flint, 43-year [started at age 12] circus enthusiast, model builder, historian and volunteer

circle The Circus Historical Society is tailor made for students of history and popular culture. The shared knowledge of its membership covers virtually every phase of the diverse and fascinating study of circus business and performance. If you have an interest in the spectacular in human potential and the entertainment industry you will want to join into the spirit of cooperative research of the Circus Historical Society. – Steve Gossard, Curator of Circus Collections, Illinois State University; author of An Era of Reckless Aerial Performance, the Evolution of Trapeze (1994).

circle My son Brian and I joined Circus Historical Society to help promote and preserve circus history research for the future. Although our family history is inexorably intertwined with circus history, we think that it is important for us to help preserve circus history for others. Circus history leads us to the humanity and the real life of the circus yesterday, today and tomorrow. – Robert A. and Brian R. Heber, 4th and 5th generation of Heber Bros. Greater Shows

circle The world of the circus is changing faster than any of us could have ever predicted. It is absolutely mandatory that we never diminish its historical roots. The story of the circus in American cultural history is illustrative, colorful and bountiful almost beyond belief. But without the hard work, determination and diligence of the historians and scholars who belong to the Circus Historical Society, that wonderful history would be lost forever. – Rodney Huey, Ph. D., Strategic Communication Consultant; former Vice-President of Public Relations, Feld Entertainment and Vice President for Communications, National Public Radio.

circle Anyone interested in American history would enjoy the history of the American Circus. The American circus industry 1850 to 2020 changed the culture of America which still exists today. Movement of large circus enterprises by train, mass advertising campaigns, and jargon in our culture were created by the American circus industry. The Circus Historical Society brings to life the glorious past of the American circus and American history. – Ed Limbach, immediate past Circus Fans Association Director of Public Relations and Media

circle Overseas members rarely if ever have the opportunity to participate in meetings and conferences of the Circus Historical Society, but the society's journal Bandwagon is reason enough for anyone with a serious interest in the history of the circus to join. All the more so as the society with its journal throw a wide net, including traveling menageries and the wild-animal trade and other perhaps fringe but engrossing and important aspects of circus history in its portfolio. The annual membership fee, aside from supporting the community of circus historians, provides quite simply excellent value. – Herman Reichenbach, fact-checker and archivist at the Gruner + Jahr publishing group of newspapers and magazines, Hamburg, Germany, contributor to the International Zoo News and Geo, author of academic papers on the history of zoos.

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Circus Historical Society, Inc.

CHS webmasters J. Griffin and Bob Cline, last modified October 2010.