World Cat Day

Happy World Cat Day! Also called International Cat Day, the holiday was first established by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2002. However, national holidays celebrating our feline friends have observed in countries around the world for decades. To celebrate, the IDHH spotlights items from Illinois State University’s collections.

First, behold the artwork of talented youngsters who loved their cats enough to immortalize them in pencil and watercolors. The paintings below are from the International Collection of Child Art and were created by children ages 8 through 13 from Colombia, Wales, and the U.S. The children’s attention to detail show how dear their furry friends were.

Next, here are toys from Japan featured from the Ethnology Teaching Collection, including a papier-mâché cat in a basket and the famous good luck charm of the waving cat, or ‘Maneki-Neko’. These figurines were placed in shop windows, inviting customers in and waving good-bye on their way out.

See all items in the IDHH related to cats.

Happy Father’s Day

The IDHH celebrates Father’s Day by highlighting families of performers from Illinois State University’s Passion for Circus collection. Captured by photographer, Sverre “Bex” Braathen, the photographs are from a collection of nearly 10,000 that includes thousands of black and white photographs from the 1930s and thousands more color photos from the 1940s and 1950s from circuses all around the United States.

Below is a selection of several father-daughter and father-son acts, Alfred, Sr. and Alfred, Jr. Burton from the Ringling Barnum Circus, the Naitto family, Ala and his daughters, Nio and Margie, also of Ringling, and Ernest and Ernestine Clarke of the Tom Mix Circus. The Burtons performed balancing acts on high pedestals. The Naittos were high wire and tightrope performers. The Clarkes performed floor routines. Ernest was famous as a somersaulting leaper in his own Clarkonian Flying act of the Ringling Brothers circus.

Finally, several images capture Astrid and Ernst “Franklin” Schlichting of the Ringling Barnum Circus. Astrid, thirteen years old, performs hand balancing routines with her father, acts that require tremendous strength and concentration.

For more Father’s Day-themed items, take a look at all items among Illinois State University’s collections, including from the International Collection of Children’s Art.