James Raymond in United States

James Raymond
Typecircus
Founded0
First elephant0
CountryUnited States

James Raymond was the leading animal show impresario in America. Active from 1830 to 1851, he had from one to five units on tour in each of twenty-two seasons.


James Raymond (1795-1854) was one of the powers behind the Zoological Institute, perhaps its originator, and the operator of more animal caravans than any other man in American history. At one time, in the 1840s, his control of the genre was so complete that there were no menageries traveling that were not his in some manner.

Raymond owned, leased and rented out animal shows to the extent that in some seasons he had four of them on tour simultaneously. He did not do this alone; over the years such names as Ogden, Weeks, Waring appeared on his shows as partners. He seems to have always had investors in his properties.

Raymond was not an innovator nor an importer of rare animals. Every change, every improvement he made in his operations were the result of someone else’s introduction When heavily carved and gilded bandwagons were introduced in the 1840s, he promptly had two manufactured. When Van Amburgh’s fame took him to the acme of success, Raymond found Jacob Driesbach and publicized him into a worthy rival. If his competition had two elephants pulling their bandwagon, Raymond bought four and advertised them heavily.

Our suspicion is that his desire to monopolize the menagerie business led him to the idea of the Zoological Institute, and that when it failed he attempted the same thing privately. His only competitors after the collapse of the corporation were June, Titus, Angevine & Co., who were too wealthy and too well entrenched for him to acquire. When they retired in 1842, Raymond bought their property and from then was the uncontested leader of animal exhibitors.

Stuart Craven http://www.circushistory.org/Thayer/Thayer2b.htm


1835: In 1835, the menagerie became part of the Zoological Institute.
1839-1842: Raymond & Waring's Menagerie, Museum and Circus United.
1842: Bought June, Titus, Angevine and Co.
1843-1845: Philadelphia Zoological Garden United With New York Institute
1851: James Raymond retired after the 1851 season. At the time he owned two menageries, Raymond & Hcrr Driesbach and Raymond & Van Amburgh. He sold these to two of his sons-in-law, Chauncey Weeks and John J. Drake.
1879: Elephant boss was Orrin Townsend (-1870).

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