Collect a Virtual Library of Circus Books from the Internet for Free

A bookshelf of free circus books is now loaded on my iPad.

Circus books are an important part of any circus memorabilia collection. A previous article (Circus Books: Building a Solid Foundation for Collecting) was all about that topic.

Modern technology has given us a whole new way to look at books. For about a year now, I have been investigating the various e-book readers that are available—Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader. I finally settled on an iPad. One advantage was the iBooks built-in application on iPad and the ability to also download Kindle and Nook applications.

The iBooks application allows you to read books published in the ePub format and also PDF documents. Because the iPad reads PDF files, you the freedom to produce your own documents using various word processing programs or programs designed to create and edit PDF files.

A quick search of the iBooks Store reveals many circus and circus-related books including these, which are free:

Autobiographies:

The Autobiography of P.T. Barnum by Phineas Taylor Barnum
The Life of Dan Rice by Maria Ward Brown
An Autobiography of Buffalo Bill by William F. Cody
Last of the Great Scouts by Helen Cody Wetmore (Biography of Buffalo Bill written by his sister)

Historical Books:

On the Road With a Circus by William Carter Thompson (Thompson was an animal trainer who traveled with Montgomery Queen, Adam Forepaugh, John Robinson and other shows.)
Circus Memoirs by George Middleton (Middleton was an early American showman and at one time was a partner with James A. Bailey on the Cooper Circus.)
The Ways of the Circus by George Conklin (Sub-title of the book is Being the memories and adventures of George Conklin Tamer of Lions)
Amateur Circus Life by Ernest Balch (A new method of physical development for boys and girls based on the ten elements of simple tumbling and adapted from the practice of professional acrobats.)

Fiction:

Toby Tyler by James Otis
Mr. Stubb’s by James Otis (Toby Tyler Sequel)

The Entire Circus Boys Series by Edgar B. P. Darlington:
The Circus Boys On The Flying Rings or Making the Start in the Sawdust Life
The Circus Boys Across The Continent or Winning New Laurels on the Tanbark
The Circus Boys in Dixie Land or Winning the Plaudits of the Sunny South
The Circus Boys On The Mississippi or Afloat with the Big Show on the Big River
The Circus Boys On The Plains or The Young Advance Agents Ahead of the Show

Peck’s Bad Boy at the Circus by George W. Peck
Nero the Circus Lion by Richard Barnum
Joe Strong on the Trapeze by Vance Barnum
Circus Fists by Robert Ervin Howard
Under a Circus Tent by Irma Blanchard
The Young Circus Rider or The Mystery of Robert Rudd by Horatio Alger

After you become familiar with your e-book reader, you will be able to visit many Web sites to download free books in various formats including ePub. Here are three of the best sites offering free public domain books:

manybooks.net: (Type “circus” in the “Advance Search” box in the left of the screen and hit “enter.”)

books.google.com: (Type “circus” in the “Search Books” box. Then on the left, click on “Full View” and “Books.” You will see a list of all the books that contain the word “circus.” Many can be downloaded.)

gutenberg.org: (On the left click on “Advance Search.” Type “circus” in the “Subject” box and click “Search.” When you click on the book title you will be taken to a screen where you can download the book in various formats.)

It’s a good idea to revisit all of the sites periodically because they continue to add books. Enjoy the search.

Larry Kellogg is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in circus memorabilia.

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2 Comments

  1. hi i was wondering if you’ve ever heard of a barnum & bailey’s concert songster and joker.