The Ringling Brothers From Baraboo to Barnum, Bailey and Bridgeport
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The Ringling Brothers is arguably the most well-known name in the circus business. This paper explores the nature of their success from 1882-1918, beginning with their first venture in ther hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin to the acquiring of Barnum & Bailey and eventually the moving of their winter quarters from Baraboo, Wisconsin to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Using a plethora of primary sources pulled from newspaper articles, oral interviews and autobiographies, this paper argues that the Ringlings did not appear in a vacuum. Wisconsin was already an established circus state. Morever, the Ringling Brothers were ultimately able to becoming a global success because they were able to grow and adapt to new venues and changes in their industry while at the same time maintaining the fundamental characteristics of a family business that first led to their success as a small rural circus in Wisconsin.
Barnum and Bailey--History