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Victorian Popular Culture: Circuses, Sideshows and Freaks

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Database available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus) Database available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus)
Adam Matthew Digital
Adam Matthew Digital
Late eighteenth century to 1930s

Circuses, Sideshows and Freaks concerns the world of travelling entertainment in Britain, America and Europe during the 19th and early 20th century: circuses, carnivals, fairgrounds and dime museums.
The collection includes visual materials: posters, postcards, photographs, cabinet cards and illustrations, along with handbills, pamphlets, manuscripts, printed ephemera and memorabilia. There are also rare books, items of children's literature and the memoirs of entertrainers.

Subjects covered include:
Circuses, including clowns, contortionists, aerial acts and animals
World’s Fairs
Barnum and Bailey
Buffalo Bill and Wild West shows
Freaks and oddities Fairs, including Nottingham Goose Fair and Bartholomew Fair
Fairground rides, including the unique photograph archive of fairground manufacturers Orton and Spooner

National Fairground Archive (University of Sheffield); the performing arts collections at the Harry Ransom Center; the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature, and the National Archives (Kew).

Number of Users:
Interlibrary Loan:
Print-only copy permitted
Resource Advocate:
Courtney, Angela
SFX Source:
Federated Search:

IUB Library Subjects:
  • Folklore
  • Communication and Culture
  • Victorian Studies
  • American Studies
  • History

Library of Congress Subjects:

Popular culture--Europe--19th century.
Popular culture--United States--19th century.