A Pictorial History of the American Carnival, Volume 1

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Carnival Publishers of Sarasota, 1972 - Carnivals - 208 pages
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This is a wonderful book, loaded with excellent photographs and historical information collected chronologically in a single volume. I had the chance to talk to Mr. McKennon at the Showman's Extravaganza in Gibsonton, Florida. before his death. He told me that this discriptive volume was carefully put together, piece by piece over many years, long before computers were as standard as telephones, because, as a showman himself, he wanted to preserve a record of the heritage of the carnival industry that did not then exist. At the time,except for a few examples, there was only a small, damp, cinder block building adjacent to the Gibsonton Showman's Club housing the entire collection of information, photographs and a handful of faded memorabilia from the amusement industry that spanned over a century of the colorful history of the traveling carnival in America. He had expressed his desire to see a sampling of the available photographs, dated, archived and combined with some of those from his private collection into a single volume for those, who, like himself, were fascinated by the history of the old traveling shows. It was hoped that such a work would inspire those who had such photographs or other information and artifacts tucked away, to come forward and share them before they were destroyed by the ravages of time or thrown out as junk by someone who didn't recognize their worth. He was a storehouse of knowledge about the carnival industry and even today, with an internet that has abundant information on everything imanigable, his work still stands alone as one of the best sources of information about this industry and the individuals who shaped it. It is a must have for anyone seriously interested in the rich history of the amusement industry. (There is a part II available by this author as well as several excellent companion books about carnivals from the earlier days that are also loaded with photographs and information.) 

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