CWM Mss 38, CWM PH 15
Heist, Walter G. Papers. 46 c.f. (38 boxes, 64 folders, 5 drawers)
Walter G. Heist, is a circus fan and volunteer from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, whose collection reflects a lifelong passion for the American circus. In his personal life Heist, a communications tech for ATT, was involved in numerous community organizations including the Boy Scouts, local ambulance service, as well as his church council. But his great passion has always been for the circus. An enthusiast since childhood, Heist built his first model circus at the age of 10 in the 1930s. Heist has been a longtime member of the Circus Model Builders (CMB) and has volunteered at many circus shows over the years including Circus Kirk, Roberts Bros. Circus, James E. Strates Carnival, Cristiani-Wallace Bros. and Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros Show, and for 12 years worked on the Great Circus Parade. A longtime member of both the Circus Model Builders (CMB) and the Circus Historical Society, Heist attended the first national convention of the CMB in 1942 at Peru, Indiana, and has maintained an active, role in that organization ever since.
Scope and Content Note
This is a preliminary finding aid of the Walter G. Heist Papers. The majority of the collection focuses on eastern shows and the post WWII era and includes manuscript, advertisement material, business correspondence, collectible ephemera, window cards, and photographs. Of particular importance is a set of business correspondence relating to the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the American Circus Corp. collected by Heist during the CFA Convention at Peru, Indiana in 1942.
The collection consists of three series; MANUSCRIPTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS series, FOREIGN PROGRAMS series, and WINDOW CARDS series. The organization of the collection reflects the original arrangement as created by Heist and is largely arranged by alphabetically by show title. In some cases, specifically in regards to WINDOW CARDS series and FOREIGN CIRCUS PROGRAMS series, the collection has been segregated by format type and then arranged alphabetically by show title. The MANUSCRIPTS series comprises the largest portion of the collection and consist of three ring binders containing consolidated information on numerous circus shows and includes correspondence, advertisement material, assorted documents, and photographs. The WINDOW CARDS series consist entirely of large format advertisements printed on cardboard. The FOREIGN PROGRAMS series includes performance programs for 102 different circuses from a wide variety of European and Latin American countries.
The Walter G. Heist Papers also contains numerous circus posters and artifacts. The posters are currently not listed. The artifacts have been cataloged into the museum’s artifact cataloging system under the accession number 2011.32, the master accession number for the entire collection. Access to both the poster and artifact portions of the collection must be made by special request of the archivist.
Presented to Circus World Museum, by Walter G. Heist January, 2012
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