Circus and the City

New York, 1793-2010

Matthew Wittmann

View Inside Price: $40.00

October 30, 2012
208 pages, 8 x 10 1/2
250 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300187472
HC - Paper over Board

Distributed for the Bard Graduate Center, NY

At the turn of the 20th century, the circus was the most popular form of American entertainment, and New York City was the hub of circus-related activity. Featuring superb archival photography, this book documents a wide variety of ephemera, images, and artifacts relating to the history of the circus in the city, from the seminal equestrian displays of the 18th century to the iconic railroad circuses of the late 19th century. Matthew Wittmann offers a thorough history of the circus in New York City, including stories of P. T. Barnum's triumphant entry into the circus business, the famous dwarf General Tom Thumb, and Jumbo, the African elephant that touched off a craze known as "Jumbomania." The histories of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the WPA Circus of the Great Depression, and the Big Apple Circus are testaments to the enduring popularity of this American pastime.

Matthew Wittmann is a curatorial fellow at the Bard Graduate Center.


Bard Graduate Center, NY09/21/12–02/03/13

“A treasure…This book brings to life the days when the circus was at the heart of an emerging American popular culture, rather than a mere sideshow, and restores the circus to its rightful place as the progenitor of the nation’s entire entertainment industry.”—Beyond Chron
The American Circus

Edited by Susan Weber, Kenneth Ames, and Matthew Wittmann

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