Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day from the IDHH. We’re a little late on celebrating mothers, but still feel like a tribute should be made. Shelter-in-place has been particularly difficult, and we’re hoping that the distance between you and your loved ones is either not-far, or easily traversed. 

Mother and Daughter Performers on Menage Horses. 1950. Passion for Circus. Photographer, Sverre O. Braathen. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.

To celebrate Mother’s Day we’re highlighting photographs of families of performers, especially mother-daughter performers from Illinois State University’s Passion for Circus Collection.  The photographs come from a collection of nearly 10,000 spanning from the 1930’s to the 1950’s from circus across the United States.

Performer and Employee with Parent. 1950. Passion for Circus. Photographer, Sverre O. Braathen. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.

Below is just a small selection of performers and their families, mostly mother-daughter aerial and acrobatics acts, but also performers with their spectator, non-circus parents.

Mother and Daughter Circus Performers. 1949. Passion for Circus. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.
Performer with Parent. 1951.Passion for Circus. Photographer, Sverre O. Braathen. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.
Performers in Wardrobe. 1936.Passion for Circus. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.
Aerialists in Wardrobe. 1945. Passion for Circus. Photographer, Sverre O. Braathen. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.
Mother and Daughter Production Girls. 1944.Passion for Circus. Photographer, Sverre O. Braathen. Used with permission from Illinois State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library.


For the full collection you can visit Illinois State University’s Milner Library webpage, or browse on the IDHH.

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