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Al Browne Papers

Identifier: harsh-2004-07

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of two scrapbooks (and the loose materials found in the scrapbooks) compiled by Al Browne to document his career as a circus musician. The scrapbooks contain official route cards, business cards, photographs, postcards, payroll receipts, artist contracts and programs.


  • 1928-1939, undated


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restriction

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection

Biographical / Historical

Allan Browne was born September 18, 1903. He lived in Shelbyville, Tennessee before moving to Chicago in 1939. He lived at 4715 S. Michigan Avenue in a kitchenette apartment. In 1929 he joined the Al G. Barnes Side Show Band as a traveling trombone performer for the Al G. Barnes-Sells-Flotto and John Robinson Combined Circus. He went on to work for the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and the Cole Brothers Circus. After retiring from the circus, Browne returned to Chicago to work as a mechanic. He died on December 21, 1986.


1 Linear Feet : in 2 boxes, includes 10 photographs and 2 scrapbooks

Language of Materials



Collection consists of two scrapbooks from 1934 to 1938 from Al Browne’s tours around the United States as a circus clown and circus owner/manager.


This collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Frances Browne in September 2004

Related Materials

Related materials at other institutions:

  • John Heney Papers, United States Marine Band Library and Archives, Washington D.C.

  • Circus, Minstrel and Traveling Show Collection, University of Southern Mississippi, McCain Library and Archives


Guide to the Al Browne Papers
Elizabeth Loch, Archival Specialist, July 2021
July 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository

Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States
(312) 745-2080