H.W. Franklin

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H.W. Franklin (Hiram W. Franklin) was a American circus performer and owner.

He arrived in South Africa a celebrated clown, pad rider, slack-rope artiste and vaulter, originally appearing in Cape Town as a star member of M'Collum's Circus. His popular acts included the The Corde Volante.

In 1862, he founded Franklin's International Circus (also referred to as the Franklin International Circus) in Cape Town, going on to perform there without break for more than 5 months, and becoming a serious rival for the companies of Sefton Parry and Mrs Tellet in terms of popular support.

Despite the rivalry, Franklin and his circus apparently had a good relationship with Sefton Parry, the two helping each other with benefit evenings (e.g. those for Mrs Parry on 28 October, 1861; Leon, ), and even - towards the end of the Circus's stay and Parry's 1862 season - joining forces to present a short series of extended programmes, consisting of "Comedy, Ballet, Dancing" (as well as songs and acrobatics) in Cape Town, running from 8-10 and again from 12-14 May, 1862.

Their last appearance in Cape Town was on 19 July, 1862, after which Franklin and his circus left the country, to set sail for Calcutta in India.


Entry on "Hiram W. Franklin" on James Bohun's website The joeboganny.co.uk ("A Circus, Music Hall and Variety Family History Site) at: http://www.joeboganny.co.uk/hiram-w-franklin/. Acessed on 6 January, 2020 at 06h42.

Facsimile versions of letterpress broadsides for two performances (on 12 and 28 April, 1862), as advertised on the Live Auctioneers website (accessed on 6 January, 2020 at 06h18) [1]

S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler. 2011. The Rise of the American Circus, 1716-1899. McFarland: pp. 157, 166[2]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 99, 110, 112, 114, 133, 137, 139-140.

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