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Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010 by Matthew Wittmann

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Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010 by Matthew Wittmann

4to. pp. 208. profusely illustrated. bibliography. index. boards. New York: Bard Graduate Center & Yale University Press, [2012].

Published in conjunction with an exhibition.


ISBN-10: 0300187475 / ISBN-13: 9780300187472

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.