- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- McCaddon, Joseph T.
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- McCaddon Collection of the Barnum and Bailey Circus
- Manuscripts Division
- Permanent URL:
- 1871-1907 (mostly 1895-1905)
- 85 boxes, 9 folders, and 14 items
- Storage Note:
- This is stored in multiple locations. Firestone Library (mss): Boxes 1-62; 64-85 Firestone Library (hsvm): Box 63
The McCaddon Collection of the Barnum and Bailey Circus consists of correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, and other material collected by business manager Joseph T. McCaddon prior to the 1907 merger of the circus with Ringling Bros.
Collection Description & Creator Information
Consists of the working papers of the Barnum and Bailey partnership prior to its merger with Ringling Bros. in 1907. In addition to correspondence, scrapbooks, posters, couriers, parade, costume and wagon designs, music, and memorabilia collected by Joseph T. McCaddon, who was the business manager of the circus at the turn of the century, there are hundreds of photographs documenting the American circus of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The collection has been arranged in the following sections:
- Collection Creator Biography:
McCaddon, Joseph T.
Joseph T. McCaddon was born on January 31, 1859, in Beverly, Washington County, Ohio. McCaddon began his career with the circus as manager of the Adam Forepaugh Circus. Later, as James A. Bailey's brother-in-law and business manager of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, he represented Bailey in many business matters, including correspondence with William F. Cody ("Buffalo Bill") regarding the acquisition of his Wild West Show.
 John Robinson Circus formed 1867 Adam Forepaugh Circus formed 1871 P. T. Barnum begins "P.T. Barnum's Museum, Menagerie, & Circus" in Brooklyn, N.Y. 1873 James A. Bailey buys interest in Hemmings and Cooper's Circus from James E. Cooper, changes name to Cooper and Bailey Circus. 1875 Sells Bros. Circus formed 1879-80 Bailey, along with Cooper and James L. Hutchinson, purchases show owned by Seth B. Howes, forming Howes' Great London Circus and Sanger's Royal British Menagerie and Cooper & Bailey's International Allied Shows 1881 Cooper retires; Bailey and Hutchinson form partnership with Barnum, creating the Barnum and London Circus. 1883 Buffalo Bill's Wild West founded 1884 The Ringling Brothers establish their circus. 1885 Bailey sells his interest in the circus to Cooper and W. W. Cole. 1888 Barnum and Bailey begin sole partnership, forming the "Barnum and Bailey Circus." 1890 Bailey and Cooper buy Adam Forepaugh Circus. 1891 Barnum dies; Bailey assumes full ownership of Barnum and Bailey Circus. 1894 Bailey buys a controlling interest in Buffalo Bill's Wild West. 1896 Bailey joins with W. W. Cole and two of the Sells Brothers; Sells Bros. Circus becomes Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus 1897-1902 5-year Barnum and Bailey European Tour. Ringling Bros. Circus becomes dominant American Circus. 1898 Ringling Bros. begin to lease John Robinson Circus. 1905 Bailey acquires full ownership of Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus, sells half interest in it to the Ringling Bros. 1906 Bailey dies; Ringling Brothers buy remaining share of Forepaugh-Sells Circus from Bailey's widow. 1907 Ringling Brothers purchase "Barnum and Bailey Circus" (shows remain separate). 1919 "Ringling Brothers Circus" combined with "Barnum and Bailey Circus" to create "Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus" 1929 Ringling Brothers purchase American Circus (which consisted of Sells-Floto, Al G. Barnes, Sparks, Hagenbeck-Wallace, and John Robinson Circuses). 1956 Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus gives last big top performance. 1957 Irvin Feld purchases "Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus" and transforms it into an indoor show.
The collection was a gift to the Library by the McCaddon family in 1941. Additions were purchased at auction in July 1978 .
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Melanie Papasian, Princeton Class of 2003 and Rachel Jordan in 2002 and 2004 . Finding aid written by Melanie Papasian, Princeton Class of 2003 and Rachel Jordan in 2002 and 2004.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use. However, Box 63 (glass plate negatives) is restricted.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
McCaddon Collection of the Barnum and Bailey Circus; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Subject Terms:
- Circus -- United States -- History -- Sources.
Circus -- United States -- Photographs.
Circus animals -- United States.
Circus owners -- United States.
Circus performers -- United States -- Costume.
Circus performers -- United States.
Circus trains -- United States.
Circus wagons -- United States.
Costume designers -- United States -- Drawings.
- Genre Terms:
- Barnum and Bailey