The collection, compiled and photographed by Dawn Rogala, documents daily life in traveling, tented circuses in America, including: Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers, Circus Vargas, Sterling & Reid Brothers, Culpepper and Merriweather, Carson and Barnes, Vidbel's Olde Tyme Circus, Big Apple Circus, Carson and Barnes Circus, Culpepper and Merriweather Circus, Franzen Brothers Circus, Roberts Brothers Circus, Sterling and Reid Brothers Circus, and Walker Brothers Circus. The collection consists primarily of photographic materials such as slides, prints and negatives. It also includes Rogala's project files containing schedules, programs, notes, correspondence, pictures of Rogala on the road, etc., and transcribed interviews that Rogala conducted.
The collection is divided into seven series.
Series 1: Black-and-White Negatives, and Color Transparencies, 1992-1995
Series 2: Xerographic Prints, 1992-1998
Series 3: Low Resolution Xerographic Prints, 1992-1998
Series 4: Interview Transcripts, 1995, 1998
Series 5: Early Organization of the Book, 2005
Series 6: Miscellaneous Ephemera, 1990-2015
Series 7: Miscellaneous Materials, 1993-1996
Series 8: Oversize, 1992-1993
Biographical / Historical:
A paintings conservator and photographer, Rogala traveled with every tented, full time, traveling American circus which traveled at least eight months of every year, during the years 1992-1998. She photographed not only the performances, but the behind-the-scenes activities of setting up and breaking down, and activities such as animal care (especially elephants), costuming, make-up, and day-to-day life on the road.
Collection donated by Dawn V. Rogala, 2017.
Collection is open for research.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark. Photographer retains copyright until death.
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Access to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is by appointment only. Visit our website for more information on scheduling a visit or making a digitization request. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.