About the Project

The Circus In America, 1793 - 1940 examines the unique characteristics, cultural impact, and relationships in the development of the circus as one of the most popular and significant forms of entertainment in America. The site looks at the circus’ transition from small performer operated shows into big business. As circuses grew so did the associated problems. The circus developed unique solutions to their problems and these solutions were adopted by other industries. Likewise, the circus learned valuable lessons from industry and used those ideas to their benefit. One prominent example was the switch from wagons to railroads for transporting the shows. The circus shared many of the recurring problems of theatre and vaudeville such as maintaining fresh shows with unique acts.

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   Pre-1793 | 1793-1800 | 1801-1824 | 1825-1871 | 1872-1905 | 1906-1940 |
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