Records relating to the Debord Circus and other circuses

Title: Records relating to the Debord Circus and other circuses
Dates of Material:
1955–1985, predominant 1964-1968
66.5 cm of textual records
138 photographs
1 album
1 poster
1 compact disc.
Administrative history

The Debord Circus was incorporated in Ontario in October of 1964 and its objective was to prepare and present high quality animal circus acts in a single ring to the Canadian public. Paul Bouissac was president and the main stockholder, with other stock in the corporation held by academics at the University of Toronto and Trent University. The animal trainer, Girard Debord, was brought from France to act as ringmaster. In August 1965 some of the animals in the circus were seized by the Humane Society; the circus folded shortly thereafter.

Scope and content

Series consists of correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, posters, photographs, a compact disc, tickets and printed material, and financial records relating to the incorporation and operation of the Debord Circus, 1964-1968.  There are also clippings, notes and drafts of writings, published material and photographs, [ca. 1955]–1985, relating to circuses in general; and correspondence, project descriptions, notes and other records relating to an attempt to stage a circus performance at the 1978 Berlin Festival, 1977–1979.

Language of material

Some material in Berlin Festival file is in German
One article is in French


Access points

Subject: Circuses

Box 7
71 Binder of records, containing: Copy of charter/By-laws/Minutes of Directors/Minutes of ShareholdersSeptember 10, 1960, 1964-1965

Includes newspaper article on the circus from 1960.

Newspaper article very fragile, handle with care. 

72 Stock certificates and other records relating to shareholders1964-1965
73 Tax records1966-1968
74 Insurance records1964-1966
75 Correspondence re. Debord Circus 1958-1966

Includes 1 b&w photograph.

76 Correspondence re. organization and administration of Debord Circus1963-1965

Includes 11 b&w photographs of various circus performers

77 RREmployee records1964-1965

Includes personal information regarding former employees of the circus. 

78 Financial records re performances1965
7 /OS8AO/S Poster announcing circus [1965?]
79 Notes and other records re performances, circus materials and other entertainments1964-1965
710 Tickets and other printed material1965
711 Maps, professional publications, and other records1961-1966
712 Newspaper clippings relating primarily to seized animals1964-1972

Newspaper clippings fragile, handle with care.

713 Issue of Maclean's with article on circusJune 5, 1965

Rasky, Frank. "The Professors' Wonderful Circus." Maclean's, June 5, 1965, pp. 19, 35, 37-40; includes additional loose pages from the article and possible an O/S Poster announcing circus.

714 Photo album of Girard Debord[ca. 1961]

Includes 43 b&w photographs and 1 postcard; originally held in accompanying brown photograph album.

715 Photographs and publicity material[1965?]

Includes 5 b&w photographs, one (1) col. photograph, one (1) 11.5 cm x 15 cm negative, and one (1) 12.5 cm x 10 cm negative.

716 Photographs of Dubord Circus[between 1955 and 1965]

Includes 33 b&w photographs, 2 col. photographs, 1 col. 35 mm slide, and 3 postcards or various circus animals, performers, and circus buildings.

717 Photographs of the Baglione Circus and other subjects[between 1955 and 1965]

Includes 8 b&w photographs and 1 postcard of circus animals, performers, and animal handlers.

721Contract agreement between King Shows and Debord CircusJanuary 12, 1965

Three (3) copies of contract agreement. 

7 /OS22'Cirque Medrano' Paris1966

I print : lithograph

By Maxwell Bates, numbered 47/50 

Box 8
81 Appointment books1964-1965

Appointment books contain loose papers.

82 Martin Down’s Ring Notes1965
83 Drawings and plans1963-1964
84 Music written by Dimitri Maximov for circus[1964?]
85–7Financial correspondence and records1964-1967
88 Monthly expenses[1965?]
89 Financial records1964, 1978, 1986

Includes newspaper clipping from 1978 and postcard from 1986.

810–13Financial records1965
814 Pending bills1965-1966

Contains one unopened envelope.

815 Clippings, published material re circuses1965-1968

Newspaper clippings fragile.

816 Photographs of Girard Debord and circus animals[between 1964 and 1965]

Includes 20 b&w photographs, 3 col. photographs, and 1 postcard.

817 Photographs, clippings and published material re circuses1961-1975

Includes: 8 negative photographs, one (1) 35 mm col. slide, 54 b&w photographs, and 2 col. photographs.

Some newspaper clippings are fragile, handle with care.

818Bouissac/circus music - [Sousa] and piano[2005]

One (1) audio CD, dated 2005, of music played at circus and Sousa and piano.

Box 9
97 Debord Circus financial record book1965
98 Proposed circus performance for Berlin Festival1977-1979
Box 1
115Circus time - Notes/drafts/research material 1982
116"Pyramide et la roue: jeux formels et effets de sens dans les sectacles de cirqe" - Article published Anthropologica 1985
Box 1
110Correspondence/tax records/clippings/notes1965-1966


Box 1
111Animaux: Debord Circus1964-1965

Financial records and correspondence related to the purchase and sale of animals for the Debord Circus.

112Cirque: Debord Circus notebook[n.d.]

Notebook of Bouissac's circus partner Gerard Debord, a lion tamer.