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Circus and Circus Toy Bibliography

By Dr. Eugene W. Metcalf

Dr. Gene Metcalf is currently preparing an article on circus toys and has gathered a nice bibliography of related articles and books on the subject. He has kindly provided this bibliography below for our readers.

We will announce when his article has been published. Should be very interesting.


Ackerman, Evelyn. Under the Big Top with Schoenhut’s Humpty Dumpty Circus. Annapolis, Maryland: Gold Horse Publishing. 1996.
Ackerman, Evelyn. Humpty Dumpty Circus: From A to Z. Los Angeles, CA.: Era Industries, Inc. 1075.

Barthes, Roland. “Toys.”  Encounters: Essays for Exploration and Inquiry. New York: McGraw Hill 2000.
Belk, Russell “Materialism and the Making of the Modern American Christmas.” in Unwrapping Christmas. ed. Daniel Miller. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993. pp. 75-104.
Belk, Russell. “A Child’s Christmas in America: Santa Claus as Deity, Consumption as Religion.” Journal of  American Culture. 1987.  pp. 87-100.

Bousiac, Paul. Circus and Culture: A Semiotic Approach.
Carrier, James. “The Rituals of Christmas Giving.” In Unwrapping Christmas. ed. Daniel Miller. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993. pp. 55-74.
Chindahl, George L. A History of the Circus in America. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, 1959.
Cross Gary. Kids’ Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 1977.
Culhane, John, The American Circus: An Illustrated History. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1990.

Daniel, Noe. The Circus: 1870 to 1950.

Davis. Janet M. The Circus Age: Culture and Society Under the Big Top. Chapel Hill and
London: University of North Carolina Press. 2002.
Douglas, Mary and Baron Isherwood. The World of Goods: Towards and Anthropology of Consumption. New York: W.W. Norton. 1979
Fleming, Dan. Powerplay: Toys as Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 1966
Garvey, Catherine. Play. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 1990.
Golby and Purdue. “The Victorians Refurbishing of Christmas.”In The Making of the Modern Christmas. Athens: University of Georgia Press. pp. 40-80.

Hammarstrom, David Lewis. Fall of the Big top: The Vanishing American Circus.
Hobsbawm. Eric. “Inventing Traditions.” In The Invention of Tradition. ed. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988. pp. 1-14.
Illick, Joseph E. American Childhoods. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 2002.
Jenkins, Henry “Complete Freedom of Movement: Video Games as Gendered Play Spaces.” In From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Ed. Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1998.
Kline. Stephen. Out of the Garden: Toys, TV, and Children’s Culture in the Age of Marketing. New York: Verso. 1993.

May, Earl Chapin. The Circus: From Rome to Ringling. New York: Dover Publicatins 1932.
Speaight, George. A History of the Circus. San Diego and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. 1980.
Verney, Peter. Here Comes the Circus. New York: Padddington Press Ltd. 1978.
Waits, William. “Something for the Kid: Gifts from Parents to Children.” In The Modern Christmas in America: A Cultural History of Gift Giving. New York: New York University Press: pp. 120-150.
West, Mark Irwin. “A Spectrum of Spectators: Circus Audiences in Nineteenth-Century America.” Journal of Social History, Vol. 15. No. 2 (Winter, 1981). Pp. 265-270.