• IdentificationMidwest MS AmCircus
  • TitleAmerican Circus Collection, 1891-1939 Midwest.MS.AmCircus
  • PublisherThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • RepositoryThe Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts
  • Physical Description5.8 linear feet (5 boxes, 2 oversize boxes)
  • Date1891-1939
  • Location1 2 3-4, 1 16 1
  • AbstractLate 19th and early 20th century circus and theater related illustrations, publicity, programs, photographs and memorabilia.

Gift of Irving Kane Pond, 1939

The American Circus Collection is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

The American Circus Collection is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

American Circus Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Jo Ellen McKillop Dickie, 2004.

Chicago architect; founder of several literary and civic organizations.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1857, Irving Kane Pond received a degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and began his architectural career at the Chicago offices of William Le Baron Jenney and Solon S. Beman. While employed at Beman's firm, he worked on the initial design of the Pullman company town and in 1885 formed Pond & Pond Architects with his brother Allen B. Pond.

Pond & Pond's buildings typify Arts & Crafts-style architecture and are considered some of the best examples in Chicago. The firm designed several settlement and civic institutions including, Jane Addams Hull House, Northwestern Settlement, the American Correspondence School and Chicago Commons.

Pond's interest in promoting the fine arts and social betterment led to his involvement with several architectural and literary clubs; including Little Room, Cliff Dwellers and the Chicago Literary Club. Pond served as the president of the American Institute of Architects and vice president of the Circus Fans Association.

Circus and theater related clippings, illustrations, programs, publicity, photographs, and memorabilia donated by Irving Kane Pond, 1891-1939.

The bulk of material consists of Circus programs and reviews and Circus Fans Association material dating from the 1920'-1930's. The Circus programs illustrate over twenty circuses. The theater publications represent a diverse array of Chicago and Midwest theaters. A small collection of photographs document performers and circus life at the turn of the 20th century. Pond's illustrations and drawings created for his book titled, Big Top Rhythms, highlight a variety circus acts. The remainder of the collection consists of circus clippings, publicity and memorabilia.

Papers are organized in the following series:

Title Box Series 1: Publications, 1891-1939 Boxes 1-4 Series 2: Visual Materials, 1895-1939 Box 5 Series 3: Oversize materials, 1891-1939 Boxes 6-7

  • Names
    • Al G. Barnes Circus.
    • Bertram Mills’ Circus.
    • Buffalo Bill, 1846-1917
    • Circus Fans Association of America.
    • Cliff Dwellers (Club).
    • Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus.
    • Hagenbeck-Wallace.
    • Pond , Irving K. (Irving Kane), 1857-1939
    • Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows.
    • Russell Brothers Circus.
    • Sells-Floto Circus.
    • United States. Works Progress Administration.
  • Subject
    • Advertising -- Circus
    • Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934 : Chicago, Ill.)
    • Chicago
    • Circus
    • Circus -- United States
    • Circus animals
    • Circus in Art
    • Circus trains
    • Manuscripts, American
    • Minstrel Shows
    • Theater