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Harrison Sayre Circus Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2010-007

Scope and Contents

The Harrison Sayre Circus Collection contains approximately 8,000 photographs, including 8" x 10" autographs, snapshots, slides and negatives, as well as circus programs, posters and other circus memorabilia collected from circuses attended mostly in the mid-Atlantic region during the second half of the 20th century. As a collection, many of the photographs offer a comprehensive study of circus performer costume design and production style.

Note to researchers: This collection is in process, and portions remain unavailable to researchers at this time. Please contact FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives for more information.

Online Copies Available

Select materials from the Sayre Collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.


  • Created: 1863-2001
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1949-1994
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/2010

Biographical or Historical Information

While on the surface a quiet, reserved Navy veteran from New England, Harrison Sayre (1913-2005) also had an alter ego that loved the spectacle of the Big Top. For nearly all of his adult life, Sayre visited the circus whenever he could and fastidiously photographed and collected artifacts of all that he experienced. As a member of the Circus Fans of America, he traveled to see circuses in places as far away as Australia, Russia and Hawaii.


34.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Materials about circuses, circus performers, and circus industry from all over the world, mainly North and South America and Europe. Includes photographs, books, posters, flyers, pamphlets, circus programs, and related materials dating primarily from the 1940s-1990s..

Custodial History

Collection was created by Harrison Sayre. After Mr. Sayre's death the collection was donated by his daughter, Carol Sayre Perfit, to the Florida State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives division, in 2010.

Source of Acquisition

Carol Perfit gift.

Appraisal Information

The collection has been appraised, see donor file for details.

Separated Materials

Books have been separated from the collection in order to be cataloged. A list of books received is in the donor file.

Harrison Sayre Circus Collection
Adrienne Serra
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US