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From the Cataloger’s Desk: Bandwagon Rolls into the IHS Library

February 22, 2019

I recently cataloged numerous issues of Bandwagon, a publication of the Circus Historical Society. The organization was formed in 1939, and its mission is to “preserve, promote and share through education, the history and cultural significance of the circus and allied arts, past and present.” The first issue of their journal was published in 1940 and went through several name changes in subsequent years: SPEC (1940–1941), Bandwagon (1942–1947), Hobby-Bandwagon (1947–1951), and Bandwagon again (1951–present). Articles highlight various owners, performers, events and seasons. Best of all, wonderful illustrations and photographs bring the stories to life.

Page from Bandwagon. Article is titled Lentz Bros. Studios, Peru, Indiana by Bob Cline. The page includes to photos, one of a man in a pen with a lion and a chair, the other includes the same man an lion posing for the photo.

Article from v. 58, no. 2 (2014)

The IHS library holds more than 200 issues of Bandwagon, with a date range of 1969–2017. One of my colleagues, who also happens to be extremely knowledgeable about all things circus-related, flagged articles pertaining to Indiana. So, if you’re solely interested in stories with ties to the Hoosier state, they’re now very easy to find. (Thanks, Matt!)

From death-defying aerialists and comedic clowns to exotic animals and Wild West shows, Bandwagon has life under the big top covered. I particularly enjoy the articles about trapeze artists and tight rope walkers. Their skills and bravery know no bounds, and their costumes are pretty fantastic, too!

Cover of Bandwagon: The Journal of the Circus Historical Society, vol. 61, no. 1, 2017. Features a Ringling Bros adn Barnum and Bailey Circus poster.

Circus Day is right around the corner, so it’s a perfect time to visit the library and explore our issues of Bandwagon. We also have other circus-related materials in our collection, so search our catalog to see everything we have to offer!

Lindsay Borman is the cataloger of Printed Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: She can name all of the U.S. presidents ... in order!

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