George Engesser

From the list of elephant persons Family: Engesser

George Engesser
Profession circus director
Personal details
Born 1888-10-07 Saint Peter, Nicollet County, Minnesota in United States

Spouse(s) Vates Lola Swenson Engesser

Country United States

Title owner 1929-1936
Location at Schell Brothers Circus in United States

Title owner 1926-1928
Location at Zellmar Brothers Circus in United States

Biography details

George Engesser , circus director in United States

Born 1888-10-07 in United States dead 1962-05-14 , son of animal trainer John Engesser and director Martha Helen Engesser .

Born in St. Peter, circus entertainer and musician George Engesser came from a family of German immigrant beer-brewing brothers. Their Engesser Brewing and Malting Co. started in St. Peter in 1856 — predating statehood by two years and becoming one of the longest serving breweries west of the Mississippi River until Prohibition 64 years later.

A vaudeville troupe passing through St. Peter was looking for a new piano player, and someone suggested George Engesser, who was working at a music store. He got the job and soon had a show of his own, one act was a Swedish Dialect comedy which he performed with his wife. They decided to try the circus business, and they once traded an elephant for a Model T at the local Ford dealership. Their daughter, Baby Vates Engesser, went on to Hollywood and starred in a few movies in the 1920s and 1930s, including a circus-related movie.

George Engesser expanded his circus into one of the nations largest motorized shows with 75 trucks that traveled to towns that circus trains couldnt visit.

He vowed to invest $20,000 in 1926, purchasing two lions, a bear and some wolves and kangaroos. He soon added two elephants, Ruth and Mary, according to

Just before the Depression descended in 1929, theirs was the second-largest motorized circus in the country. But they called it the Zellmar Bros. Circus and then Schell Bros. because "Engesser" was too hard to say and remember.

Grorge Engressers, Schell Bros. Circus was out 1929 - 1936.

George Rngresser also had Engressers Show 1922 - 1925

Clarion Bros. Circus - 1925

Zellmar Bros. Circus 1926 - 1928

King Bros. Circus - 1937 - William King and George Engresser, proprietors.


Total: 1 children

  1. Gee Gee Engesser. Born: 1926-08-06. Dead: † 2008-07-15


Siblings through the father John Engesser (1862-04-12 -- 1946-01-20):

  1. Viola Engesser Born 1905-05-19 Dead: † 1981-07-13

George Engesser s ancestral Ahnentafel:


George Engesser
Born: 1888-10-07

John Engesser

Born: 1862-04-12

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Born: ?

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Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). director George Engesser in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 24 July 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications

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Categories director | circus | Schell Brothers Circus | Engesser family | Born 1888 | Dead 1962 | People from United States

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