James M. Cole Circus in United States

James M. Cole Circus
James M. Cole Circus ad, 1936
James M. Cole Circus ad, 1936


Owner 1936-1950: Jimmy Cole
First elephant arrived1946
Last elephant left1949
Closed down1949
Country United States

Directors-1950: Dorothy H. Cole (director)

Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
-1950: Sonny Cole
(elephant trainer)

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2023-09-11

Latest document update2023-09-11 12:30:19
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James M. Cole Circus, United States , was founded in 1936 and the first elephant arrived in 1946. The last elephant left in 1949. James M. Cole Circus closed down in 1949.

Comments / pictures
Records about James M. Cole Circus from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at http://www.bucklesw.blogspot.com/
The James M. Cole Circus toured from 1946 thru 1950. Their first elephant "Frieda" was on the show from the start, the other two "Elizabeth" and "Dorothy" were imported in 1947. After the show closed, Mr. Cole retained the elephants as an independent act, 1951-´57, during the time Mr. Dykes pictures were taken, after which all three were sold in 1958 to Hagen Bros. Circus (Howard Suesz)

William "Buckles" Woodcock

At one point the Coles had five elephants, but the ones the papers mentioned most often besides Frieda were Elizabeth and Dorothy. I did not find much on Elizabeth, but Dorothy came directly from Ceylon at nine months old. Baby Dorothy was also very popular. She was billed as the smallest elephant in the circus world, and the paper reported that she searched through peoples’ pockets in hopes of finding treats. By the time he was seven, James Cole Jr. was working the elephants in their act, and for some years he was “the youngest elephant trainer in the country.”

Alice Askins, Education Coordinator at Rose Hill Mansion

1949-04-04: The circus was sold.

References for records about James M. Cole Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). James M. Cole Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=1819. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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