Everybody loves the circus. That may sound like a cliché but, it’s a fact. If you’re interested in collecting circus memorabilia and learning more about the circus, look no further. Below is information from the websites of some of the better known organizations and links to their web sites. Have fun!
Circus Historical Society (CHS)
Founded in 1939, the Circus Historical Society, Inc. (CHS) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to recording the history of the American circus from the first one in Philadelphia during 1793 to today. Membership includes people from all walks of life including historians, scholars, circus personnel, memorabilia collectors, Americana specialists and just folks who share both a love of the circus and a desire to preserve and disseminate its great and interesting heritage.
As in most organizations that share a common interest, the CHS members gather at a different location annually in North America to hold a convention. Papers are given, films and slides are presented, meaty tidbits of circus history are exchanged, current circus executives set forth their views and challenges, friendships are renewed and new ones made, all in the interest of circus history preservation. These sessions represent the culmination of a focused year of circus research and writings on the part of many CHS members and are cherished visits to the circus past and present.
Bandwagon, the CHS’s bimonthly journal, publishes captivating articles relating to circus history. Articles have explored such far ranging topics such as the Forepaugh-Sells seasons 1910-1911, seal lion training, circus balloon ascensions, circus parades of the 1930′s and the Ringling Bros. winter quarters in the early 1900′s. Most issues cover a half dozen topics varying in length from a single page to fifteen pages
Circus Fans Association of America (CFA)
The CFA dates back to 1926 when the first annual convention was held in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The purpose of the Circus Fans Association of America is:
Education & Understanding – To provide educational resources related the circus. To promote an understanding and appreciation of the art of the circus.
Communication – To be a point of contact between the people of the circus, artists or executives, and the outside world.
Support – To help insure the Circus will continue to exist among us as a social, educational and recreational art form. Visit our Calendar page to view support events..
Preservation- The National Circus Preservation Society (NCPS) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization affiliated with CFA. Its main goal is to develop, promote, and advance information and knowledge for a better understanding of the American Circus, and to preserve the circus as part ofAmerican history.
Publishing – The White Tops is the official magazine of the Circus Fans Association of America. It began as a newsletter in May, 1927 and now is a color magazine that comes with the CFA membership six times a year.
Circus Model Builders (CMB)
Circus Model Builders are men and women, boys and girls who love the circus so much they want to have a show of their own. They know and are fascinated by the circus as a whole. They know the progress of a circus day from the minute the first train or truck pulls into sight until the fading lights in the distance tell them that the show is gone and that another circus day has become a memory. A Circus Model Builder’s goal is to own a show in miniature-down to the last performer, roustabout, bull, wagon, or prop. Whatever the size-one wagon or a complete show-you can be sure it is a true replica of this great institution.
The Little Circus Wagon is the official magazine of the Circus Model Builders, Inc. and is one of the many benefits of joining the CMB. It is published six times a year. This is the authority on Circus models and model building. In it’s pages you’ll find great articles, circus pictures, circus news, modeling plans and other things of interest to circus enthusiast, all contributed by members, for members
Windjammers Unlimited is an historical music society that is dedicated to the preservation of traditional music of the circus. This music is kept alive via live performances and recording sessions at the annual convention and summer meetings.
Annual membership includes a subscription to the Circus Fanfare newsletter, the official publication of the Windjammers. The Circus Fanfare is published bi-monthly and is mailed to current members. It contains articles, reviews and information on Windjammer events.
Membership is open to all who share an interest in playing, hearing and preserving the traditional music of the circus.