Audio and Video Collection
The Portage County Historical Society has a growing collection of audio and video material in a variety of media. The process of converting our collection to digital format is ongoing.
Tim Siebert, long time President of the Society, wrote an article in 1981 titled "Hints on Oral History". Although methods of recording "oral history" have changed dramatically since then, the basic information is still very pertinent!
Because of the large size of the audio and video files, please be patient.
With a long history of circuses calling Portage County home, we have accumulated a very large collection of circus material. Among these collections are a growing collection of videos. See our Circus History section for more details.
Engford Family Videos
Ruthie and Frank Clark are our primary source for circus videos. Twenty plus videos of Engford Family and Frank Clark have been included on this site. In addition, videos of Extraordinary Circus Artists are also presented.
Ruthie and Frank have several large reels of 8mm film that will be digitized in the future.
Frank performed his solo act beginning in 1963. The following videos are featured.
- Noble Trio 1959. (2:47 minutes)
- Atlanta, Georgia, 1963. His real "first" performance was on Bozo's Clown program in Chicago earlier this year. (4 minutes)
- Francarro with Billy Smart Circus, Black Heath, England 1964 (6:40 minutes)
- Other Billy Smart Circus act at Black Heath England 1964. (8 minutes)
- Paris 1965. This is a compilation of performances taken over several days. (10 minutes)
- The rest of the video. Views around the performance hall and some the other acts. (14 minutes)
The Engfords at Circus World Museum 1965
The Engfords, Harry and Lois with Ruthie, performed their last two years (1964-'65) at Circus World Museum. Their long time friend Eldon "Buster" Bailey (obit) took the only known videos of "The Engfords" act and that of Ruthie's "Estreleta" trapeze act.
- The Engfords - a compilation of several performances that demonstrates the skill involved in their performances. (2 minutes) Paul Luckey is Ringmaster.
- Estreleta - Ruthie's first solo act. 2 - videos.
- Estreleta's "Slide for Life".
- The other acts performing at Circus World Museum (11 minutes). Leading the goat cart is Eydie Barnhart; Walking is Chappie Fox and Barbara Bailey (Buster's wife); Mary Ruth Herriott with Dog and Pony Act; John Herriott Dressage or "High-School" presentation on his horse "Anthem"; John Herriott 12-pony Liberty Act; Mary Ruth and Johnny Herriott Elephants - "Toby, Topsy and Eva".
Francarro & Estreleta
Frank Clark and Ruthie Engford began performing their helicopter act in the summer of 1966. The tragic death of their pilot in 1968 ended their helicopter act.
Beginning in late 1968, Frank and Ruthie began performing indoor and outdoor engagements. The following videos attempts to show the variety of acts and conditions they performed in. Frank, being a trained engineer, designed and built the equipment necessary to perform in these varied conditions.
- Helicopter Act. (2:26 minutes)
- Wedding, September 17, 1966. (8:36 minutes)
- Taped in Pomona California 1972. Frank had to adapt the rigging to allow for performing over the Grandstand rather then in the infield. (2:47 minutes)
- Green Bay, Wisconsin 1986. Foot juggling. (4:30 minutes)
- Green Bay, Wisconsin 1986. Aerial act. (6:15 minutes)
- Caesar's Palace - Lake Tahoe, Nevada. August 1987, Emmett Kelly Circus. Parley Baer appears as Ringmaster. (6 minutes)
- Santa's Christmas Show Dec. 30, 1992. Mt. St. Joseph College, Cincinnati, Ohio. (5:40 minutes)
- Winnipeg, interview. (2 minutes)
- "The Brigadier" International Circus Festival, where they competed in the Comedy classification, and won the Bronze Medal, 1992. (7:12 minutes)
- Tim Tegge interview with Ruthie Clark. (3:23 minutes)
Military Veteran Videos
World War I
The Society's special Annual Meeting, April 6, 2017, the "Over There" presentation was held at the Sentry Insurance Theater.
World War II
About the time of the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II (1995) several Society members, Robert Precourt being the leader, began interviewing World War II veterans.
Watch the World War II interviews!
See our Permissions page for use and copyright information.