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the free encyclopedia of the international circus.
A project of the Big Apple Circus,
inspired and funded by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

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Lorch Family Friedlander Poster.jpeg


The Lorch family was a highly respected Jewish circus family that owned a circus in Germany intermittently from the nineteenth century until 1930. Founded by Hirsch Lorch (1817-1901) in the second half of the nineteenth century, Circus Lorch was continued by his sons, Adolf (1845-1918), who was born in Manheim on May 4, 1845, and Louis (1847-1924), born in Lörrach, in Baden-Württemberg, on July 14, 1847. Before the turn of the twentieth century, the brothers worked in partnership, and their Circus Gebrüder Lorch traveled principally in southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

The family acts presented in the show included horsemanship and a remarkable Risley actAct performed by Icarists, in which one acrobat, lying on his back, juggles another acrobat with his feet. (Named after Richard Risley Carlisle, who developed this type of act.) performed by Louis’s children, which would acquire a towering reputation on the international circus and variety scene during the first half of the twentieth century. The circus maintained winter quarters in Eschollbrücken (today part of Pfungstadt, in the district of Darmstadt-Dieburg) in southern Hessen, where Hirsch Lorch and his family had settled in 1870.... (more...)

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CIRCOPEDIA is a constantly evolving and expanding encyclopedia of the international circus. New videos, biographies, essays, and documents are added to the site on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis. So keep visiting us: even if today you don't find what you're looking for, it may well be here tomorrow! And if you are a serious circus scholar and spot a factual or historical inaccuracy, do not hesitate to contact us: we will definitely consider your remarks and suggestions.

Dominique Jando

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