Mapping Barnum, Bailey, and Cody: American Entertainment in the Global Nineteenth Century

March 7th 2018 @ 12:00pm to @ 1:00pm
Hazelbaker Hall (E159)
Herman B Wells Library
1320 E. 10th St.
Bloomington, IN 47405
 Digital Library Brown Bag Series logo

Presented by: Daniel J. Story, Department of History

Circuses and other traveling shows were a staple of nineteenth-century American society, but just how American were they? This project uses digital mapping together with traditional archival research to investigate the geographic reach, business networks, and cultural significance of three iconic American shows: Cooper, Bailey, and Company’s Great International; the Barnum and Bailey Circus; and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Mapping their routes from the 1870s to the 1910s reveals how thoroughly they were embedded in global entertainment circuits—Cooper and Bailey travelled to Australia, New Zealand, India, and a handful of South American countries in the late 1870s; Buffalo Bill visited countries in Europe between 1887 and 1892 and again from 1902 to 1906; and Barnum and Bailey toured extensively in Europe from 1898 to 1902. Furthermore, in 1899, James Bailey officially relocated the headquarters of his circus to England, establishing the publically traded company Barnum and Bailey, Limited. By contrast, none of these shows travelled consistently to the west coast of the United States until 1907. Analysis of these entertainment geographies helps us rethink standard narratives of national integration in the U.S. in the second half of the nineteenth century and recasts institutions traditionally understood as quintessentially American in a transnational and global light.

This presentation is part of the ongoing Digital Library Brown Bag Series. Follow and contribute to the presentations and discussions on Twitter: #dlbb.


Spring 2018 Digital Library Brown Bag Schedule

Presentations are from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST in the Herman B Wells Library in Room E159 (Hazelbaker Hall in the Scholars' Commons).

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Contact Info

Wells Library W501
1320 East Tenth Street
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
Michelle Dalmau
Michelle Dalmau - Head, Digital Collections Services, Associate Librarian
(812) 855-1261