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Fred Graham circus collection

Identifier: MSS-232

Scope and Contents

The Fred Graham Circus Research Collection contains a variety of circus-related materials including papers, advertisements, book materials, various publications, research material correspondence, genealogical work, membership information, postcards, show materials, programs, tickets/ticket stubs, Wait for the Muncie Boys, yearbooks, oversize material, photographs, and photograph negatives.


  • 1811 - 2001

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Frederick H. Graham was born in Muncie, Indiana to high wire artist William Graham. His father was part of the renowned circus group nicknamed the “Wirettas”. Graham attended primary and secondary school in Muncie, Indiana. Subsequently, he went to the University of Michigan to study architecture, and he received the George C. Booth Graduate Scholarship for study in Europe. Working in the studio of Alden B. Dow, Graham began his career as an architect in Midland, Michigan. Later, he established his own architectural firm in Muncie. Graham married artist Mary E. "Bette" (Hook) Graham, and they had three children. Graham wrote several books on local architecture and history, including one book on early circuses in Indiana (Wait for the Muncie Boys: Indiana's Early Circuses, 1994). Graham was an enthusiast, researcher, and historian of the circus and a collector of circus material. He was also a member of the Circus Historical Society, the Circus World Museum, and the Circus Hall of Fame, which he helped found in Peru, Indiana in 1994. Frederick H. Graham died in 2007

Source: Frederick H. Graham, Wait for the Muncie Boys


2.3 Cubic Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Fred Graham circus advertisements, brochures, programs, and other promotional material, 1859-2001

Series 2: Fred Graham circus and genealogy research files, 1858-2001

Subseries 2.1: Fred Graham circus personnage and circus family genealogy research, 1858-2000

Subseries 2.2: Fred Graham Muncie circus location and show documents, 1876-1996

Subseries 2.3: Fred Graham circus research correspondence, 1990-2001

Series 3: Fred Graham collected circus publications, 1848-2001

Subseries 3.1: Fred Graham academic history papers, 1973, 1984, and undated

Subseries 3.2: Fred Graham book excerpts and jackets, 1956-1990

Subseries 3.3: Fred Graham circus periodicals, articles, and other written material, 1848-2001

Series 4: Fred Graham Wait for the Muncie Boys book documents, 1856, 1994-1997

Series 5: Fred Graham circus research oversize collection, 1875-1996

Series 6: Fred Graham circus research photographs, 1811-1996

Series 7: Fred Graham circus research negatives, 1811-1996

Series 8: Fred Graham oversized photographs, undated

Series 9: Fred Graham photographs, undated

Series 10: Fred Graham slide collection, undated

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Fred Graham on 2003/08/29.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2003/09/18 by A. Stone. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/18 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid revised 2013/10/30 by Rebecca Marangelli.


Fred Graham circus collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA