Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bill Reynolds Collection - Carson and Barnes Circus

Wade Burck recently posted an article dated August 4, 1975, discussing the escape of two juvenile Asian elephants, Lilly and Isa, from Carson and Barnes Circus winter quarters in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Bill Reynolds graciously shares a photograph from his collection featuring a portion of the Carson and Barnes herd of Asian elephants in 1981.

"I like this one because Obert is in it."
Courtesy of B Reynolds

>> "Elephant Escape 1975," The Circus No-Spin Zone, 12/06/2011

The vintage news article discusses Lilly and Isa. It states the two Indian elephants are "only 16 months in captivity." The following question was posted to Mr. Burck and he replied in kind:

Ryan E said...
Article states April 1974 as an arrival date of these two. Was that the largest and last import group by DR?

Wade B said...
When I went to pick up baby Obert, Kelly, and Tracy 3 months prior to this to present in Denver for Clyde Bros Circus, there were 51 elephants on the show. Two adult Asians, one young African named Paula, and 48 young Asians ranging in ages from 3 to 6 all with their names stenciled on their foreheads in 3 inch white letters. The headpieces were 3 inch round washers, each one held together with a link from a cut chain. The elephant tubs were catch traps for street manholes.

51 elephants! Very few of them are documented. Only 14 elephants of the current 27 member Carson & Barnes herd stem from the 1975 juvenile group.

The following photograph more accurately captures the herd as described by Mr. Burck, graciously shared by Andrea Carr Jewell.

"I wanna say early 70s Paula and Ruby and them came later.."
Courtesy of A Jewell


  1. Radar,
    I'll be the first to admit that the record keeping of elephants is not an exact science. If we can stretch this out to being there around the 1972 to 1977 era, I have 53 different names there, African and Asian.

  2. Thanks, Bob. I have been taking advantage of the offseason here in Hugo "Circus City USA " Oklahoma and researching first and second hand accounts of the town''s (if it can be deemed as such) elephant history. Between the Circus City Showmen's Club, Showman's Rest, the library, three current and uncountable closed shows, I reside in a land mine of knowledge and history to be learned.


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.