Open main menu

Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/14

This page has been validated.
x
FOREWORD

been the effort constantly held in view in grouping these notes for publication. The terse idiom of the offhand dictation has been consistently retained and gives the true "show" color and flavor to the stirring scenes, adventures and incidents with which the book deals.

Of Mr. Coup's prominence in his profession it is scarcely necessary to speak, and I think none will venture to question the statement that he was the founder and pioneer in America of the circus business pure and simple, as distinguished from other lines of show enterprise, and that the story of his life would incidentally furnish a concise history of the circus on this continent. His name was a family word in homes of the people of every part of the United States during the period of his greatest activity. The main incidents of his career may be tersely stated as follows:

William Cameron Coup was born in Mount Pleasant, Ind., in 1837. While he was still a boy, his father bought the local tavern in a small country village. The business of hotel keeping did not commend itself to the future showman, who left home and took the position of "devil" in a country newspaper office. Soon, however, he became dissatisfied with the opportunities which the printing craft seemed