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Guide to the Joseph Andrew Rowe Papers, 1857-1861
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Contents
  • Biography
  • Correspondents

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Joseph Andrew Rowe Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1857-1861
    Box Number: 293
    Creator: Rowe, Joseph Andrew, 1819-1887
    Extent: 1 box
    Repository: California State Library
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information



    Conditions of Use

    Please credit California State Library.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to California State Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing. Permission for publication is given on behalf of California State Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Joseph Andrew Rowe Papers, California State Library.

    Access Points

    Rowe, Joseph Andrew, 1819-1887
    Circus owners--California
    Circus--California--San Francisco


    Correspondence, bills and other papers of Rowe and his associates.


    Joseph A. Rowe was born in North Carolina in 1819 and joined a circus company in 1829 as a child performer. In 1837, he became independent, engaging in various circus activities, and touring the east coast and South America. In 1849 he came to San Francisco and gave the first circus entertainment. In 1851, he went to Australia, returning a rich man in 1854. In 1854, he purchased the Rancho Sant Anita near Los Angeles, living there for several years. In 1856, he assembled a new company, the Pioneer Circus; however, a combination of hard times and stiff competition drove the company into bankruptcy in 1857. At this point, a business friend, John Center, purchased the circus and resold it to Rowe at a fair price. In 1860, Rowe again toured Australia, this time unsuccessfully. After 1867, he worked at various jobs, dying in obscurity in San Francisco, November 5, 1887.


    Major Correspondents

    • Alexander, John
    • Center, David
    • Center, James
    • Center, John
    • Franklin, H. W.
    • Malloney, Henry C.
    • Rowe, John A.

    Other Correspondents

    • Austin, Nat
    • Field, Stephen A.
    • Gillim, Francis
    • Hancock, Henry
    • Hutchings, John
    • Hutchings, Thomas
    • Johnson, Chas. B.
    • Johnson, Orrick
    • Kimbal, M.
    • Lee, H. C.
    • Peoples, George
    • Rhoades, Thos. W.
    • Stocker, J. T.
    • Sutton Joseph
    • Thorne, J. W.