In The Spotlight
JAMES WASHINGTON MYERS
Born James Washington Myers in Providence, Rhode Island in 1823, he was apprenticed at the tender age of nine to the equestrian and showman Aaron Turner (1790-1854). Like many young performers of that period, he adopted his teacher’s name when he debuted in the ring, and was billed for a time as a bareback rider and acrobat under the name of James Turner. By 1845, however, he had reverted to his own identity and, as Jim Myers, presented equestrian scenes in the manner of Andrew Ducrow in his mentor’s circus.
But Myers was an ambitious and enterprising young man, and in 1854, he entered a partnership with Henry P. Madigan (1815-1862), a fellow equestrian who had worked with him for Aaron Turner, and together they created the Myers & Madigan’s Railroad Circus. Myers worked as a clown in their show; he would later marry his partner’s daughter, Rose Madigan (1839-1907), a talented equestrienneA female equestrian, or horse trainer, horse presenter, or acrobat on horseback. in her own right, who was sixteen years his junior.
The Myers & Madigan Railroad Circus, which was one of the earliest circuses traveling by rail, became Howes Menagerie and Myers & Madigan Circus in 1855, when the partners entered an association with Seth B. Howes (1815-1901)—himself a pioneer of the American traveling circus and a former associate of Aaron Turner. This combine was short-lived however, and the following year, Myers went on the road without partners, with his own Jim Myers’ Circus.... (more...)
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- The Maxwells, Comedy Acrobatics (1963)
- Joy Kay & Co., Comedy Contortion Act (1963)
Featured Oral Histories
- Jean Richard and Jean-Pierre Richard at the Cirque jean Richard - Christian Boner Interview (1979)
- Jérôme Medrano about Buster Keaton at the Cirque Medrano (1947)
- Moira Orfei, Circus Owner - Davide Maggio Interview (2012)
- Oleg Popov, clown - Russian Television Feature (2014)
- Albert Fratellini, clown - French Television Interview (1957)
A Message from the Editor
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