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Schools empty -- circus is in town!

Oct. 31, 1898: The Wallace Circus “played havoc with the attendance records of the public schools” as “classrooms were depopulated to fill the big tent,” The Times reported.

“The great crowd that filled every inch of space in the canvas amphitheater was not all of children, for all the children there had two to six able-bodied adult protectors,” the newspaper said.

The circus featured bareback horse-riding, horse tricks, two baby lions and much more.

Among the acts: the Stirk family of trick bicycle riders, the Nelson family of acrobats, the Vortex Sisters on a “Ferris wheel trapeze,” eight women called the Dellameads who posed as statues of historical figures, and the Grand Corps de Ballet of Paris.

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“The Sisters Earl, whose bones had apparently been removed, reclined on their bosoms and grinned cheerfully at the spectators with their faces peering out from between their legs, danced friskily around their heads without moving them from their places, and perched high in the air, twisted themselves into knots,” The Times said.


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