Circus is coming to town…..

Sanger's Circus Late 19th Century

Sanger’s Circus Late 19th Century

We all know the names of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  They have been one of the biggest Circus troupes of all time.  They truly have an amazing history, particularly if you have a chance to read it in detail. From Wikipedia:

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is an American circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. The company was started in 1919 when the circus created by James Anthony Bailey and P. T. Barnum was merged with the Ringling Brothers Circus. The Ringling brothers purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1907, but ran the circuses separately until they were finally merged in 1919.”

There were many circus acts before them, some quite spectacular in their own rights.  I have put together a collection of phots I have pulled from various sources. I hope you will enjoy!

As a side note, what circus is complete without freaks, I included some of them here.   It was hard for me to include these because of the obvious exploitation of these people.  On the other hand, their notoriety brought them a type of respect and fellowship which otherwise would they would not have had.

I included a lot of photos in this post, please enjoy each of them and let me know your favorites!

Walt Disney Circus

Walt Disney Circus

The Escalante Circus - founded 1909

The Escalante Circus – founded 1909

Society Circus Horses. It was made between 1910 and 1917

Society Circus Horses. It was made between 1910 and 1917

1894 St. Petersburg Russia

1894 St. Petersburg Russia

a one-of-a-kind photograph of Jack Barrett with Barnum Circus

a one-of-a-kind photograph of Jack Barrett with Barnum Circus

Henry Bros. Wagon early 1900's

Henry Bros. Wagon early 1900’s

Circus in Salem 1898

Circus in Salem 1898

Clowns and Horse. It was made between 1915 and 1917

Clowns and Horse. It was made between 1915 and 1917

Clowns On a Horse. It was taken between 1915 and 1917

Clowns On a Horse. It was taken between 1915 and 1917

exhibit

Gainesville TX Circus 1923

Gainesville TX Circus 1923

Ruth Davis, the penguin girl had seal limbs a disease called phocomelia. It is what gave her the penguin appearance.

Ruth Davis, the penguin girl had seal limbs a disease called phocomelia. It is what gave her the penguin appearance.

Prince Randian He was known as the living torso, human caterpillar, pillow man, and the human cigar. He was born in 1871 and died in December 1934.

Prince Randian He was known as the living torso, human caterpillar, pillow man, and the human cigar. He was born in 1871 and died in December 1934.

Mademoiselle Gabrielle was born in Switzerland in 1884. She was a perfect lady until you got to her torso, and then she just ended

Mademoiselle Gabrielle was born in Switzerland in 1884. She was a perfect lady until you got to her torso, and then she just ended

Born as Simon Metz was born in the Bronx in 1901. He was born with microlephaly a disorder that gave him a small brain and the IQ of a 3yr He was beloved to all and died in 1971

Born as Simon Metz was born in the Bronx in 1901. He was born with microlephaly a disorder that gave him a small brain and the IQ of a 3yr He was beloved to all and died in 1971

Prince Randian and the Half Man

Prince Randian and the Half Man

Prince Randian was actually a pretty interesting man!  He was married and had five children, his amazing story can be found in more detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Randian

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Circus is coming to town…..

  1. It surprised me to see how long some of these people lived for. I always thought circus folks who had disfigurements of any kinds were treated very poorly. it seems someone must have cared for them properly or they wouldn’t have lived so long in that time period.

  2. Prince Randian was an amazing person. Have you seen the movie Freaks? He’s in it. It’s actually quite good and portrays the circus folk as real people (you know, for 1932), not just curiosities. Still a good horror film.

  3. I like the photo you chose for the header of this post best. The circus. Wow. I used to go when I was a boy in the 70’s. Are they still around? I’m sure the freak shows have been disbanded, but there was a reality show a while ago about a modern version. Did you watch it?

    • We do not watch TV, so I missed that show. I took my daughters to the circus about 3 years ago, and really it is a joke compared to what it was when I was ten years old. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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