Sunday, April 15, 2007

In touch with history

Saturday was an interesting day. Cayla and I visited three quilt shops and the playground in Humboldt. I went to work and Kent took Cayla home.

Sandy went to Vincent and took pictures. There's a photo gallery on the Messenger Web site.

The circus poster for Ringling Bros. Greatest Show on Earth was put on the side of the grocery store in Vincent in August 1910. It advertised that the circus would be in Fort Dodge on Saturday, Aug. 27. I did some research to find out what year.

Checking a perpetual calendar, I found that Aug. 27 was a Saturday in the following years: 1853 (too early, Fort Dodge not yet founded), 1859, 1870, 1881, 1887, 1898, 1910, 1921. (More, but the clothing styles indicated late 19th century, early 20th century.)

The Ringling Bros. circus merged with Barnum & Bailey in 1919. This poster only mentioned Ringling Bros.

I looked up "Cottrell-Powells" online and only found one mention - that said they performed in 1910. Sandy told me later that the copyright notices on the posters had 1909 and 1910 dates.

I went upstairs to the room where the old Messengers are kept and found the book that included August 1910. I found ads for the circus. The ads listed things like how many horses (650) and how many performers (375 - 300 from Europe). They also said that the horses of Albert Schuman would be there - performing for the first time in America. The horses are shown in the poster. So this narrowed the date down to the year 1910.

That is the same year and month that my mom's dad was born. He was 8 days old the day the circus came to town.

The posters are peeling off with every breeze. One rain will probably finish them off completely. My grandpa died in 1981. Life is ephemeral, but sometimes the connections are grand.