Monday, July 15, 2013

The Circus is Coming to Town!

Folks, step right up, step right up to the new Circus exhibit in Archives and Special Collections!!! Indiana has a strong tradition of circuses, especially in the early years of circus popularity.  The heart of this popularity was in an area from Muncie to Peru.  The first circuses came to Indiana in the 1820s—the pioneer years of the state, and many of the big shows headquartered in Peru.  Two circuses, the Hall and Long Circus, and the Ripple Shows, wintered in Muncie.  
Mills Bros. Circus stops in Muncie c. 1957.
From Spurgeon-Greene photo collection. (P40)

This exhibit, drawing heavily from the Fred Graham Circus Research Collection, the Spurgeon-Greene Photographs Collection, the Jerry Joschko Photographs collection, and several others, highlights those many visits to Muncie over the years by various circuses and travelling shows.  The exhibit also depicts the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru as well as the stops circuses made in other Indiana cities.  You’ll see great individual performers, dazzling acts, spectacular animals, and even the parade of circus wagons! So, come one, come all, to go back in time to see the greatest show on earth as it appeared right here in Muncie, Indiana!  

The exhibit on the 2nd floor of Bracken Library runs from Monday, July 15, 2013 to September 27, 2013, and is open to the public. For more information, contact Archives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.   

Mills Bros. Circus stops in Muncie c. 1957.
From Spurgeon-Greene photo collection. (P40)
Ad for Herbert Brother's Circus
in: "Wait for the Muncie Boys" by Fred Graham

Friday, July 05, 2013

Burris Laboratory School Historical Records Digitized and Available Online

1938-1939 Burris boys' basketball
team (click for full size)
Through a collaborative Ball State University Libraries digital project, hundreds of historical records and documents from the Burris Laboratory School held in Archives and Special Collections at Bracken Library have been digitized and made available in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository.  The Burris Laboratory School digital collection provides online access to archival materials documenting the history and development of Burris highlighting the student experience at Burris from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Burris Briefs newsletter, 1978-1979
The Burris Laboratory School, a Kindergarten through 12th grade experimental school on the campus of Ball State University, opened in 1929.  Named after Benjamin Burris, college president from 1924 to his death in 1927, the institution provides high-quality elementary and secondary education while allowing students of Ball State University to gain practical experience educating pupils.
Included in the collection are Burris High School commencement programsBurris campus newsletters, and Burris student newspapers.  Newsletters available include editions from the Burris BannerBurris Briefs, and Burris Daily. Digitized student newspapers available in this collection include editions from the Burris Owl from 1930 to 1966 and editions of the Burris Vanguard from 1972 to 1987.
Burris Laboratory School, circa 1929 (click for full size)
Also available are a selection of scrapbooks documenting Burris basketball in the 1930s and 1940s, scrapbooks documenting general student life, a selection of theatre programs from Burris drama productions, and documents compiled from the "Save Burris" campaign in reaction to the uncertain future of the school in the early 1980s.
A history entitled The Fifty Year History of Burris School written by Robert C. Rose in 1981 is available in print in Bracken Library on the campus of Ball State University.  Digitized photographs documenting the history of the Burris Laboratory School are also available online in the Ball State University Campus Photographs and Muncie and Delaware County Historic Photographs collections in the Digital Media Repository.