Friday, January 21, 2011

Antiquariana: The Ringling Brothers Route Book, 1892

Introducing their astounding Impalement Act, also their beautiful Flageolet and Tambourine Solo, in Romana Compagna Costume. A great feature and astonishing sensation, fit for any Circus or Combination. Princely and magnificent wardrobe. A leading feature with Ringling Brothers’ World’s Greatest Shows. Address care of New York Clipper.

I don't remember how I found this, but it's amazing. It's written by one of the Ringling Bros.' jugglers, who dedicates it thusly:

To my girl, whoever she is, and wherever she may be, this little volume is respectfully dedicated.
P. S.
As my girl has gone clear back on me since writing the above,  I respectfully dedicate this book to “Hey Rube, King of the Sawdust,” Who never went back on a Circus man.

and concludes his introduction with the following words:

No doubt there are lines that might have been blue-penciled, and perhaps, as in case of the man with the second concert announcement, there is “something I forgot to mention.” My business as a circus juggler would hardly require me to juggle the English language, and besides there are spots on the sun and flies on Nancy Hanks.

Good one! Nancy Hanks! I don't know who that is...

Within the Route Book, you can find out about the various circus personnel, including Rhoda Royal, Superintendent of Ring Stock; Charles W. Roy, Superintendent of the Chandelier Department; and C.F. Ryan, Superintendent of Pinkerton Detectives; Fred Ehlers, Tonsorial Artist; and Lawshe, King of Ice-water; the Sleeping Car Department, the Mechanical Department, and all the inhabitants of Car No. 4, "The War Eagle"; the horsetent men, the side show canvasmen, and the ring makers; the four cages of lions, the gnu, the hippopotamus den, and Demon the Hairless Horse; the waiters; the Midnight Lunch Cafe staff; Joseph Levis of the Running Dogs and Two-Horse Act; Signor Arcaris of the Impalement and Musical Acts; John Moncayo, the Boneless Wonder; and C.H. Clark, General Performer; the Leapers and Tumblers, the Four Horse Chariot Drivers, and the Lady Jockeys...the list is nearly endless.

Then comes the circus juggler's journal...

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