Clowns at the Circus | University of Illinois Archives

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Clowns at the Circus
May 15, 1926

Content Warning: Racism; Blackface

Two students (left and middle) are dressed as clowns/hobos as entertainment for the interscholastic circus. The figure on the right is dressed in blackface to also act as a clown.

The interscholastic circus was an annual spring event where students, under the training of circus coach Carlos Wagner, trained as clowns and performers to put on a university circus show. There were awards presented to different categories focused on clownery, performance, and fraternity/sorority participation. Campus Greek life was integral to these performances every year.

We are aware of the racial stigma of the blackface illustrated in this image. While we do not condone this behavior, we provide context for this student behavior through these digital entries.

Due to the volatile nature of nitrate film, the image can be found here:

Phys. Desc:
Digital File can be found in JP_2 and TIF
University of Illinois Archives
Found in:

Copyright Bernard A. Strauch.

Copyright of this image is NOT owned by the University of Illinois and the image is provided here for personal use only. Any other use of this image is strictly prohibited without the express permission of the copyright holder. Please contact us for more information.

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