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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Ringling [Rungeling], Albert 1852 - 1916

Definition:

circusman, b. Chicago. He moved to Wisconsin in the early 1870's, settling in Baraboo. Ringling was the eldest of seven brothers, six of whom eventually became identified with the development of the circus in America. On Nov. 27, 1882, Albert Ringling, with four of his brothers, Alf, Otto, Charles, and John, performed before the public in a "Classic and Comic Concert" at Mazomanie, Wis. On May 19, 1884, at Baraboo, in collaboration with veteran showman "Old Yankee [Fayette L.] Robinson," the brothers gave their first circus performance under the title, "Old Yankee Robinson and Ringling Brothers Great Double Show." From these crude beginnings, the Ringling brothers expanded in 35 years until their circus became the best known in the world. They acquired an elephant in 1888, began to use the railroads for transportation in 1890, and in 1904 acquired a half interest in the Forepaugh-Sells Circus, gaining complete control two years later. Maintaining their business arrangement as a co-partnership, in 1907 the Ringling brothers bought out the Barnum and Bailey Circus and claimed the title of "the Greatest Show on Earth." Albert Ringling, the leader of the "circus brothers" in the early wagon-show days, contributed generously to various civic enterprises in Baraboo and built the theater there that bears his name. He was for many years recognized as one of the foremost citizens of Baraboo, and in 1915 was honored by the Wisconsin legislature. OTTO RINGLING, b. Baraboo, served in the early days of the circus as advance man, ticket taker, and cashier. An excellent businessman and extremely efficient circus manager, Otto was known among circus people as "The King," and was responsible for many of the mergers effected by the brothers in the early 1900's. After Otto's death in 1911, another brother, HENRY RINGLING, b. McGregor, Iowa, purchased his interest and became a partner in the circus enterprise. Of the remaining brothers concerned with the circus undertaking at Baraboo, ALFRED T. RINGLING, b. McGregor, Iowa, handled the circus publicity until his death. CHARLES RINGLING, b. McGregor, styled by many as "the master showman," managed the circus for many years, spending more days in the active management of a large circus than any other showman. He kept the circus clean, and went far toward eliminating graft both from his own and other circuses. JOHN RINGLING, b. McGregor, Iowa, the last survivor of the famous brothers, was the transportation and routing expert. He was known to his performers as "Mr. John," and through his personal investments in railroads, oil fields, real estate, and art, became the wealthiest of the Ringlings. Much of his rich art collection is housed in the famous Ringling Art Museum, Sarasota, Fla. Dict. Amer. Biog.; Life Story of the Ringling Brothers (Chicago, 1900); E. C. May, Circus ... (New York, 1932); H. E. Cole, ed., Standard Hist. of Sauk Co. (2 vols., Chicago, 1918); Baraboo Weekly News, Apr. 6, 1911, Jan. 6, 1916, Dec. 3, 1936; N.Y. Times, Dec. 2, 1936.

View pictures relating to the circus at Wisconsin Historical Images.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]

172 records found

1888 Bohemian Schoolhouse (Historic Marker)
Abert, George 1817 - 1890
Ameche, Don 1908 - 1993
Bacon, Edward Payson 1834 - 1916
ballast (railroads)
bank (railroads)
Barron, Henry Danforth 1833 - 1882
Bashford, Coles 1816 - 1878
Bay View Rolling Mill (Historic Marker Erected 198
Belgian Settlement in Wisconsin (Historic Marker E
Bluffton, Marquette Co.
bobber (railroads)
boiler (railroads)
boxcar (railroads)
brakeman (railroads)
branch line (railroads)
Brandemuehl, David A. 1931
Breske, Roger M. 1938
broad gauge (railroads)
Brookfield [brief history]
Browne, Edward L. 1830 - 1925
Buffalo City [brief history]
Burnham, George 1816 - 1889
Burnham, Jonathan Levi 1818 - 1891
caboose (railroads)
cant (railroads)
Carhart, John W. 1834 - 1914
Carpenter, Matthew Hale [B. "Carpenter","Decatur M
Civil War: 29th Infantry
Civil War: 43rd Infantry
Civil War: home front
Colby, Gardner 1810 - 1879
Commons, John Rogers 1862 - 1945
conductor (railroads)
Cooper, Henry Allen 1850 - 1931
coupler (railroads)
Crocker, Hans 1815 - 1889
Cross, James B. 1819 - 1876
crummy (railroads)
Davidson, James Henry 1858 - 1918
De Pere [brief history]
dead man's handle (railroads)
Dheinsville Settlement (Historic Marker Erected 19
Doty, James Duane 1799 - 1865
Edgerton, Benjamin Hyde 1811 - 1886
Eldred, Anson 1820 - 1895
Esch, John Jacob 1861 - 1941
express train (railroads)
facing (railroads)
fettle, fettling (railroads)
firebox (railroads)
fireman (railroads)
First Rural Zoning Ordinance (Historic Marker Erec
flatcar (railroads)
floods in Wisconsin
flying junction (railroads)
Fond du Lac [brief history]
Foster, Nathaniel Caldwell 1834 - 1923
four-foot (railroads)
gandy dancer (railroads)
Garland, Hamlin 1860 - 1940
gauge (railroads)
gondola (railroads)
Good Roads Movement
grab bar (railroads)
Granger Movement
Green Bay [brief history]
Guppey, Gen. Joshua J. (1820-1893)
hack (railroads)
Hasenohrl, Donald W. 1935
Hatton, William H. 1856 - 1937
Hayward [brief history]
Highway Marking (Historic Marker Erected 1956)
Hirst, Arthur Roscoe 1881 - 1932
Hoard, William Dempster 1836 - 1918
hogger (railroads)
Holmes, Frederick Lionel 1883 - 1946
Holton, Edward Dwight 1815 - 1892
hotels in Wisconsin
island platform (railroads)
Janesville, Rock Co.
Jefferson, Jefferson Co.
Johnstown Center, Rock Co.
Jones, Burr W. 1846 - 1935
junction (railroads)
Juneau, Solomon 1793 - 1856
Keep, Albert 1826 - 1907
Kenosha [brief history]
Keyes, Elisha Williams 1828 - 1910
Kilbourn, Byron 1801 - 1870
Kincaid, Lloyd H. 1925
Kneeland, Moses 1809 - 1864
La Crosse [brief history]
La Follette, Robert Marion Sr. 1855 - 1925
Lasee, Alan J. 1937
Lawe, George William 1810 - 1895
Lawler, John 1832 - 1891
level junction (railroads)
Lime industry in Wisconsin
local train (railroads)
long lots
Ludington, Harrison 1812 - 1891
Mack, John Givan Davis 1867 - 1924
Madison, Dane Co.
mainline (railroads)
Manitowoc, Manitowoc Co.
Mapes, David Parshall 1798 - 1890
Marin, Paul, 1692-1753
Mcdougal, Milton 1917
meat packing industry
Miller, Roswell 1843 - 1913
Mohrsville [origin of place name]
narrow gauge (railroads)
North Freedom [origin of place name]
Omro, Winnebago Co.
pantograph (railroads)
per diem (railroads)
Pewaukee [brief history]
Philipp, Emanuel Lorenz 1861 - 1925
piston (railroads)
Plache, Kimberly M. 1961
plank road
Potter Law (1874)
Price, William Thompson 1824 - 1886
Putnam, Henry Cleveland 1832 - 1912
quarrying industry in Wisconsin
Racine [brief history]
Racine, Racine Co.
railroads in Wisconsin
Reed, George 1807 - 1883
Rest Areas on the I-Roads (Historic Marker Erected
Ringling [Rungeling], Albert 1852 - 1916
Road gang (logging)
road monkey (logging)
roads in Wisconsin (early)
roads in Wisconsin (modern)
rolling stock (railroads)
Rustic Road (Historic Marker Erected 1976)
Sanders, Col. Horace T. (1820-1865)
Shaw, Daniel 1813 - 1881
Sheboygan, Sheboygan Co.
shoofly (railroads)
siding (railroads)
six-foot (railroads)
standard gauge (railroads)
Stevens Point [brief history]
Stone, Jeff 1961
swamper (logging)
switchman (railroads)
Taylor, William Robert 1820 - 1909
Teasdale, Howard (1855 - 1936)
ten-foot (railroads)
The "Dinky" (Historic Marker Erected 1989)
The Point of Beginning (Historic Marker Erected 19
The Saukville Trails (Historic Marker Erected 1998
The Upper Mississippi (Historic Marker Erected 198
Thompsonville, Racine Co.
through platform (railroads)
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1900 -1999
Tittemore, James Nelson 1864 - 1949
trainman (railroads)
turntable (railroads)
Van Hise Rock (Historic Marker Erected 1997)
Vanderperren, Cletus 1912
Village of Cooksville (Historic Marker Erected 199
Washburn, Gov. Cadwallader Colden (1818-1882)
Watertown, Jefferson Co.
Wauwatosa, Milwaukee Co.
way car (railroads)
wheat cultivation
WPA (in Wisconsin)
yard (railroads)

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