One of the great data sets in American circus history comes in the form of route books, pamphlets produced by shows that documented their make up and travels each season. Perhaps the earliest of these is a pamphlet documenting the 1842 season of the June, Titus, Avengine, & Co.’s Menagerie & Circus. After wintering in Cincinnati, the company’s season started April 21 in Elizabethtown, Ohio, and ended October 22 in New York City; over those 184 days, the circus traveled 2482 miles and performed in 141 different towns and cities. The average ‘run’ between towns was 15 miles, which the company would travel after the evening performance, though when travel by water was an option, they often traveled further.
- The 1842 route overlaid on an 1839 map of the United States made available by the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
Data compiled from Western division route of Messrs. June, Titus, Angevine, & Co’s Menagerie and Circus, under the direction of Lewis B. Lent… (New York : Printed by Jonas Booth, sen’r; 1842). Click to download data as a .csv
At left is a newspaper advertisement for the show from The Ohio Democrat (June 16, 1842), which puffs the “giraffe or camelopard [sic]” and the featured riding acts.
The principal members of the company were:
L. B. Lent, manager
J. R. Shay, equestrian director
Sam Lathrop, Clown
Thomas Field, Assistant Manager
E. K. Eaton, Leader of the Band
J. C. A. Hobby, Canvas Director
W. A. Van Amburgh, Animal Keeper
C. J. Howe, Giraffe Keeper
W. Perrin, Elephant Keeper
George R. Bronson, Advertiser
A. Hunt, Farrier &c. [specialist that cares for horses’ hooves]
The equestrians were as follows: Moses Lipman, I. Sweet, H. W. Ruggles, H. A. Gardner, H. E. Conover, Charles Sands, R. White, R. Sliter, J. McCloud, and Master W. Aymar