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Charles Philip Fox (1913-2003) Biography

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for SATA sketch: Born May 27, 1913, in Milwaukee, WI; died September 12, 2003, in Baraboo, WI. Administrator and author. Fox became famous for establishing the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, as well as for creating Milwaukee's Great Circus Parade; he was also the author of numerous children's books. Harboring a love for horses and circuses since he was a child, Fox spent most of his career making a living as a train parts salesman and writing books about circuses and wildlife for young readers. While researching a book about Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, he got the idea for establishing a circus museum from attorney John M. Kelley, who once worked for the circus. Starting in 1960, Fox set out to collect circus wagons and other artifacts around the world for his Circus World Museum. He continued as director of the museum until 1972, amassing a collection of over four hundred wagons, tractors, trucks, and railroad cars that are currently housed in forty-four buildings. In 1963, he also founded the Great Circus Parade, which was held each year in Milwaukee to showcase to the public the museum's impressive collection. When Fox moved to Vienna, Virginia, in 1972 to work as circus historian and director of research and project development at Ringling Bros., the parade quickly faded away the next year. However, he left Virginia in 1983, and two years later revived the parade, which is still an annual event today. He also became a member of the board of the Wisconsin Historical Society, which runs the museum. Fox was the author of over two dozen children's books. Some of them are naturally about circuses, including Circus Trains (1948), A Ticket to the Circus (1960), The Circus Moves by Rail (1978), and America's Great Circus Parade: Its Roots, Its Revival, and Its Revelry (1993), while other books are about animals, including A Fox in the House (1960), Birds Will Come to You (1963), and Opie Possum's Trick (1968).



Capital Times (Madison, WI), September 13, 2003, p. B1.

Washington Post, September 14, 2003, p. C11.

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