Show Notes: The Hartford Circus Fire

Tracy Wilson

Spectators run from the blazing Big Top of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus at Hartford, Connecticut. Photo by Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images

The Hartford Circus Fire has a lot in common with other deadly fires that have been covered on the show before, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, covered by previous hosts, and the Iroquois Theater Fire, which Holly and I talked about in December. In all three fires, negligence and inherently unsafe conditions led to a tragic loss of life, and, later, stricter regulations to prevent similar occurrences in the future. But the story of the Hartford Circus Fire diverges a little - unlike in many other high-profile historical fires, people found to be responsible served some jail time, and the circus paid out millions of dollars in restitution.

Episode Link: Hartford Circus Fire

My research:

  • Cavanaugh, Jack. "The Hartford Fire, 50 Years Later." New York Times 3 July 1994. World History in Context. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Circus Fire Victims Awarded $93,000." 10/16/1945.Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Circus Had Greatest Season in History Despite Tragic Fire." 11/27, 1945. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Circus, 6 Individuals Plead No Contest in Trial for 168 Deaths." 2/17/1945. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Hartford Circus Fire Victim Wins Largest Award Given, $100,000." 2/2/1946. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Paraffin on Canvas Blamed for Rapid Spread of Fire." 7/7/1944. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Psychiatrist to Examine Youth Who Thinks He Set Hartford Circus Fire." 5/21/1950. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "Soaring Flames Trap Nearly Five Wallendas in Air." 7/7/1944. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Daily Boston Globe. "State Marshal Scores Hartford's Laxity in Circus Inspections." 2/23/1945. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Ensworth, Bob. "Quick-witted Show Folks Saved Many, Soldier Declares." Daily Boston Globe. 7/7/1944. Via ProQuest.
  • Garofalo, Michael, producer. "Remembering the Horror and Heroes of a Circus Fire." StoryCorps. NPR. Feat. Maureen Krekian, Lynn Everett and Joanne Krekian.
  • Goode, Steven. "Hartford Fire Captain Burns Photos Of Circus Fire Victim." Hartford Courant. 1/30/2015. http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-circus-fire-pictures-destroyed-0129-20150130-story.html
  • James, Regan. "Woman Trainer Gets Panther Out of Tent During Fire." Daily Boston Globe. 7/7/1944. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Kelley, Robert. "The Strange Case of Little Miss 1565 Still Baffles Police." Daily Boston Globe. 7/16/1945. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Lelyveld, Nita. "'Little Miss 1565 Goes Home 46 Years After Circus Fire." The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y. 3/17/1991. Via Google News.
  • Linscott, Seymour. "136 Die in Circus Fire." Daily Boston Globe.7/7/1944.
  • New York Times. "Court Lets Circus Resume Travels." 7/15/1944. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Ross, Leonora. "Hartford Tragedy Leaves Circus Artists Staggered." Daily Boston Globe. 7/8/1944. Via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  • Tuohy, Lynne. "Mystery of Girl Solved 47 Years After Fatal Fire." Los Angeles Times. 3/24/1991. http://articles.latimes.com/1991-03-24/news/mn-1291_1_circus-fire

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