Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new finding aid published for the Leondor Brothers collection (Ax 082). The finding aid is available on Archives West.
This collection is primarily focused on Mae and Charles Leondor, but also relates to Will Leondor, as well as other circus acts, performers, and troupes. Mae Leondor was a vocalist performer in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She married Charles Leondor, (Charles Landauer) who was an acrobat performer. Charles began performing in “The 9 Landauer Troupe”, and later created the Bothers Leondor act with his brother William. Sometimes the act was performed as a duo and sometimes, with the addition of Mae, it was performed as a trio. Mae continued performing as a vocalist when she was not performing with her husband and brother-in-law. The performers recreated famous artworks, and gladiatorial scenes while dressed to look like stone. They also had a particularly popular act where they told the story of the Civil War in nine scenes. The Brothers and Mae traveled west to Oregon at the turn of the century. While they continued to perform across the country, Portland became the home of Mae and Charles Leondor.
Materials that can be found in this collection include correspondences relating to scheduling shows contracts and payments, as well as some personal correspondences. There are numerous photographs of the group displaying their act, as well as personal portraits. Additionally, the collection contains a large number of theatre programs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, and sheet music. Of note in the programs are wonderful examples of everyday advertisements for local businesses and interesting products. Letterheads for the Leondor Brothers and a number of other acts can also be found in this collection, displaying intricate and vibrant artwork on the stationery. Much of the material relates directly to Mae and Charles Leondor. Other material relates to various acts and performers of the circus and vaudeville circuits.
There are a few items in this collection that are particularly interesting to the circus enthusiast or researcher. A book titled “The Circus Annual Route Book of the Ringling Brothers World’s Greatest Shows Season of 1897” which is a bound book that gives an account of the shows and acts with descriptions and images of the circus for that particular season. In the collection there are also two oversized color posters for the Ringling Brothers Circus featuring the Leondor Brothers act.
This collection contained a good deal of material that was very fragile and required special care in handling. Overall, we were able to safely store this fragile material so that it is protected but still available for use.
–Emily Haskins, Special Collections Intern