Haberstich, David, Perich, Shannon Thomas, and Rogala, Dawn V. , eds. 2019. When the circus came to town! an American tradition in photographs. Smithsonian Scholarly Press.
"We are seeing the last of America's traveling circuses and the livelihoods, skills, and history that have been part of the fabric of American culture are slipping from memory. This book looks behind the scenes of the last American circuses, captured by independent photographer Dawn V. Rogala, who spent much of the 1990s living with and traveling the country with eleven full-time, tented circuses. The results of this self-directed project-a photographic body of work consisting of more than 10,000 negatives and prints, interviews, and other documents related to circus life--is now in the Archives Center (AC) at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (NMAH). An exclusive portfolio of prints is in the museum's Photographic History Collection (PHC). Rogala's intimate, yet documentary style gives the reader a sense of how the circus was put together day after day, venue after venue. Rogala's essay offers a photographic journey to explore a moment of American work life, lifestyle, and entertainment that has quietly become history. Archives Center curator David E. Haberstich explores the history of documentary photography, especially through images of workers, which prefigure Rogala's studies of circus workers. PHC curator Shannon T. Perich situates Rogala's circus photographs into a historical context by drawing on PHC's collections that includes images of the well-known P.T. Barnum, the 1906 amateur photographer Emil Albrect, and the contemporary photographer Henry Horenstein"--