Ringling Brothers Circus in United States

Ringling Brothers Circus

First elephant arrived1888
Last elephant left1919
Closed down1919
Address550 Water Street
DistrictSauk County
CountryUnited States

Head keepers
of elephants
1888-1892?: Mickey Mann, elephants superintendent
1892?-1893: G. W. Ezell, elephants superintendent
1893-1894: Mark Monro, elephant superintendent
1894-?: Edouard "Perl" Souder, elephant superintendent
Google map

List of Ringlings elephants in 1911

List of Ringlings elephants in 1911
Relevant literature


Ringling Brothers Circus, located at 550 Water Street, in Baraboo, United States, was founded in 1884 and the first elephant arrived in 1888. The last elephant left in 1919. Ringling Brothers Circus closed down in 1919 in Baraboo, .

Comments / pictures

Elephants owned, residing and performing with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus can be found at several different locations, which have been divided up for clarification of record keeping and to give a better idea of herd identifications. They include:
- Ringling Brothers Circus (1884 - 1918)
- Barnum & Bailey Circus (1888 - 1918)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (1919 - 1968)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Blue Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Red Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Gold Unit (1988 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus European Tour (1963 - 1964)
- Circus World at Polk City (1974 - 1984
- Ringling Retirement Farm at Williston (1984 - 2010)
- Ringling Brother's Center for Elephant Conservation (1995 - present)

The Ringling Bros Circus was founded by seven Ringling brothers, Albert (1852-1916), August (1854-1907), Otto (1858-1911), Alfred T. (1862-1919), Charles (1864-1926), John (1866-1936), and Henry (1869-1918).

The Ringling Brothers Circus began in 1884 using the title "Yankee Robinson and Ringling Brothers", the only time the Ringlings ever gave themselves second billing. It was a small circus at first, conveyed by wagons, and differed little from scores of other little shows that transversed limited geographic areas.

By the late 1880s, however, the circus had established itself as one of the largest and best-run circuses in the country. John Ringling served as the advance man and Charles Ringling assumed the role of the manager.

1888: "The Ringlings got their first elephants in 1888 "Babe" and "Fannie" (an African) and they walked overland. Mickey Mann became elephants superintendent. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)

1892: Babe, Jule and Lou were added. G. W. Ezell was superintendent. Some sources also mention the elephants Zip and Queen during this year. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)

1893: Zip died and Queen was sold to G Hall. The show toured with Babe, Jule, Fannie, Lou, Fanchon, Prince, Duke and Sultan. Mark Monro was elephant superintendent. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)

1894: By the time Edouard "Perl" Souder took over the herd in 1894 the show moved on 39 railroad cars with 3 more ahead and carried 8 elephants.

1895: 15 elephants: Babe, Jule, Fannie, Lou, Fanchon, Prince, Duke, Sultan, Abdallah, Babylon, Corsair, Emperor, Pasha, Hortense, Trilby. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)

1896: 12 August Baldy and Jennie were added to the herd. (Now total 17), and at tour start the Lockart group (among them Lockhart Jennie, Lockhart Nelly and Lockhart Charlie) was added. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)
The herd ballooned up to 23 and included the five Lockhart elephants from England which the Ringlings later bought and Souder worked for many years.
William Buckles Woodcock

1897: Route book adverts 25 elephants. Keddah was added this year. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)

1904: The Ringling's purchased 8 elephants from Hagenbeck in 1904 according to Lorenz H. book.[Source]

1905: 24 elephants. James Bailey, sole proprietor of the Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus, set up an auction of the shows equipment but ended up purchasing everything back and sold half of the interest to the Ringling Brothers.

1906: Ringling's acquired complete ownership of the Adam Forepaugh and Sells Bros. Circus from James Bailey's widow.

1907: The brothers purchased the Barnum & Bailey circus and ran the two circuses separately until they merged them into one unit 1919, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, when they also moved the winter quarters to Sarasota, Florida.

1908: After the Ringlings bought the Barnum Show in November of '07 they decided to take 4-Paw-Sells off the road.
Now with surplus elephants on hand, eight were leased to the Gollmars and six went to the Barnum Show but upon arrival in Bridgeport a fire in the bull car took the life of the big African male "Mike".
The surviving five brought the 1908 Barnum herd up to 22."

William Buckles Woodcock

1910: There is a new elephant with the show. It is only thirty-six inches high, and is a big feature in the menagerie.
New York clippings 1910

1910: 22 elephants at Ringling, 20 elephants at Barnum and Baileys, and 10 elephants at Forepaugh and Sells.

1911: 21 elephants: Modoc, Baldy, Big Jennie, Lockhart Jennie, Lockhart Nellie, Babe and Trilby. Among added elephants during the years before were: Clara, Judy, Juno, Bessie, Jess, John, Dutch (Duchess), Hattie (Haddie), Sammy, Mary, Hazel, Pinto, Clyde and Wilhelmina. 21 elephants. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968, Circus parades Charles Philip Fox, page 111). From Buckles Woodcocks blog:

1912: Total 28 elephants? Another 7 elephants added from Forepaugh 1912: (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968) 1. Ringling Nelly, 2. Columbia, 3. Veneda (Venita, Vanita, Jenny), 4. Dutch (Duchess), 5. Sells Queen, 6. Romeo, and 7. ?? (presently unknown name)

1918: George Denman listed Clara,Judy, Juno, Bessie, John, Dutch (Duchess), Hattie (Haddie), Sammy, Modoc, Queen, Jennie, Mary, Baby, Hazel, Pinto, Clyde, Nelly, Trilby, Rio, Wilhelmina, Romeo, Venta and Columbia. (Source: The Ringling elephants 1888-1968)
1918 Jennie died in Columbus, Ohio.

1919: Ringling Bros Circus merged into Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

References for records about Ringling Brothers Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Ringling Brothers Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=627. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Ringling Brothers Circus on elephant-news.com

Ringling Brothers Circus is mentioned on Elephant News:

DateLinks which opens in new window
2020-10-02When the circus came to town - Elephant News

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Categoriescircus in United States | United States portal

This document was updated: 2021-07-28 12:12:19

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