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Friday, January 27, 2012

“A Passion for Circus”




Jimmy Armstrong, a midget clown, stands with an unknown clown in front of the baggage wagons.


from: abcnews.go.com


By Jeff Swartz Tiffany Hagler-Geard@THGEARD


Jan 25, 2012


As an avid circus goer, Sverre Braathen found an outlet to show off his hobby by photographing the Ringling Bros. circus throughout the Midwest in the 1940's-50's. He was born in Norway in 1895 and moved to the US in 1915 after finishing his studies. An attorney by day, Braathen was able to support his family, however he always made time in his busy schedule to follow his true passion; the circus. The people at the Milner Library at Illinois State University have put together an online archive, “A Passion for Circus,” of all his works. Here are a selection of the impressive Kodachrome slides produced by Mr. Braathen.





#2 The elephants, dressed with their purple blankets, get ready for a production number, August 18, 1945. The Ringling Brothers have seen issues arise over the years from PETA and other activists groups for the mistreatment of their animals. The elephants in particular.





#3 Emmett Kelly against a blue sky in August 18, 1945. He and Otto Griebling were the two best clowns the show ever had.





#4 One of the shows highlight acts was “Clown with a big rope and a small dog.” Seen here is clown Charles Bell with his small dog outside the tents.





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#5 The Sideshow banners line the midway. The acts of the Sideshow were used to draw crowds and featured human oddities, feats like fire eating and sword swallowing, and other unusually rare sights.

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