Milner Library’s Circus and Allied Arts Collection is one of the largest special collections of its type in existence. While the primary focus of the collection is upon the circus, related arts such as carnivals, sideshows, carousels, conjuring, music halls, and vaudeville are also represented.
In addition to over 8000 books, this collection includes photographs, circus posters, programs, route books, correspondence, business records, band scores, assorted media, and realia.
Take a moment...take a few hours or even a few days to make your way through our vast (and always growing) online exhibit of Sverre O. Braathen's Kodachromes and black and white photographs from a number of fantastic circuses documenting the 1930s to the 1960s. View the Passion for Circus Digital Collection.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Magazine Database contains all of Milner Library's holdings for this circus. The collection, which spans the years 1919 to 2009, includes multiple editions of each program published including Road Programs and Madison Square Garden Programs from 1919-1969 and Red Unit and Blue Unit Programs from 1970-2009. Over 4,000 articles have been indexed. These can be searched for by serial titles, issues, article titles, authors, article types, and index terms.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Programs are full of incredible information about each year's circus. Subjects of the articles include biographical information about the performers and circus management, descriptions of acts, information about circus life, advertisements, historical information, and words of appreciation for the circus written by fans. Many famous writers, actors, and musicians contributed content to these programs including Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Bing Crosby, Burt Lancaster, and many more."