Online Manuscript Resources in Southern Women's History


Robert Brisendine papers, 1899-2002 (bulk 1940-1980)
Manuscript Collection No. 947

Collection, 1899-2002; 25 linear feet.

Robert Harold Brisendine (1922-2002) served as an Army radio operator in Italy during World War II. From the 1960s-1990s, he worked as a radio announcer and newscaster in Atlanta for WQXI (790AM). In the fall of 1976, he joined the Hoxie Brothers Circus as an advance agent, and he remained with the circus in 1977. Brisendine was an inveterate circus researcher, one of a small cadre whose specialty was circus dates. He collected information on all kinds of shows, from large shows like Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey to Wild West Shows to old time Medicine Shows to dog and pony shows to a “captive” whale. His invaluable original research focused on the routes of particular shows and recorded the entertainments that visited particular cities. He never published his material, but he made it available to other circus historians. This collection includes records, primarily newspaper clippings, of circus city chronologies, as well as circus routes, advertisements, scrapbooks, and printed material by and/or about circuses.

We have selected a handful of advertisements and printed matter concerning women and the circus, drawn from circus annual programs and publications such as The Circus Review and Southern Sawdust. Items include an advertisement for an exhibit car featuring the mummified body of Marie O'Day, advertisements for Admiracion shampoo and Beck shoes, the monthly "Contortion Corner" spread from Southern Sawdust magazine, and an advertisement for Cristiani Brothers circus that claims, "No Circus without Clowns and Girls," pictured above.

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