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Maureen Brunsdale

Head of Special Collections
Milner Library
Milner Library - MLB 620A
Office Hours
Special Collections hours are 9a.m. to 12p.m. and 1-4p.m. Monday through Thursday and Fridays 9am-12noon.
  • About
  • Education
  • Research


Head of Special Collections overseeing the Abraham Lincoln Collection, the Rare & Fine Book Collection, the Children's Literature & Historical Textbook Collection and the Circus & Allied Arts Collection.

Teaching Interests & Areas

Integrating materials from Special Collections into the curricular offerings of Illinois State University

Research Interests & Areas

The cultural phenomena of the circus and its impact on American society.

Other Organizational Management

University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD

M.L.S. (Master of Library Science) Library Science

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

Bachelor of Arts History; Ancient Studies

St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN

Book, Authored

Brunsdale, M. In the Shadow of the Big Top: The Life of Ringling's Unlikely Circus Savior. Rowman & Littlefield (2023)
Brunsdale, M., & Schmitt, M. The Bloomington-Normal Circus Legacy: the Golden Age of Aerialists. History Press (2013)

Book, Chapter

Smallwood, C., & Brunsdale, M. "Breathing Life into the Circus Collection". Librarians as Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook. American Library Association (2010)

Journal Article

Brunsdale, M. The Publication Odyssey for In the Shadow of the Big Top: The Life of Ringling's Unlikely Circus Savior. Kat Vecchio (EDs). Bandwagon 67.2 (2023): 6-17.
Brunsdale, M., & Gamble, M. "Little Caesar". Bandwagon 61.1 (2017): 6-13000.
Brunsdale, M. "Miss Minnie Fisher, the Intrepid Acts and Remarkable Life. Jennifer Lemmer Posey (EDs). Bandwagon 59.1 (2015): 16-31.
MacDonald, J., & Brunsdale, M. “It’s a Whole New Season at MilnER.”. Popular Culture in Libraries 5 (1999)

Newspaper, Article

Brunsdale, M. "B-N celebrates high-flying circus past". The Pantagraph (2023): A16.


Circus History in Bloomington-Normal. Lunch, Learn & Listen: Step Right Up to Local Circus History. Heartland Community College. (2023)
In the spotlight... Antoinette Concello. Circus Historical Society 2023. Circus Historical Society. (2023)
Special Collections: An Overview. Half Century Club Academy. Illinois State University - Alumni Engagement. (2023)
Trapeze Capital of the World: Bloomington, Illinois. Events at Luther Oaks. Luther Oaks Assisted Living Center. (2023)
"Circus Author's Roundtable". Circus Historical Society 2022. Circus Historical Society. (2022)
A librarian's perspective on collecting. The Acts and Arts of Collecting. College of the Atlantic. (2021)
"Circus Librarianship". Special Libraries Association San Jose State University student chapter. San Jose State University. (2021)
"Flyers in the American Circus". Under the Big Top: the history of the circus in America. Furman University. (2021)
"Bloomington-Normal: much more than State Farm, Beer Nuts and Steak'n' Shake!". Route 66 Conference. (2019)
"Come Fly with Me". World Circus Day Celebration. McLean County Museum of History. (2019)