Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911-1936

Overview

John Nicholas Ringling's years in Sarasota spanned the final quarter-century of his life.  On Florida's west coast, as the Ringling's Circus became "the greatest show on earth," he collected Baroque paintings, European decorative art, and Italian statuary, built the ostentatious mansion Ca'd'Zan, developed and marketed most of the barrier islands around Sarasota Bay, and became the focus of a confusing pastiche of acclaim, misconception, and suspicion.  Sarasota's Ringling Museum is his priceless ...

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Overview

John Nicholas Ringling's years in Sarasota spanned the final quarter-century of his life.  On Florida's west coast, as the Ringling's Circus became "the greatest show on earth," he collected Baroque paintings, European decorative art, and Italian statuary, built the ostentatious mansion Ca'd'Zan, developed and marketed most of the barrier islands around Sarasota Bay, and became the focus of a confusing pastiche of acclaim, misconception, and suspicion.  Sarasota's Ringling Museum is his priceless cultural legacy to the people of Florida and the world of art—an inheritance at risk for the ten years that Ringling's estate was in probate.

 The author of this first intensive look at Ringling's presence in Sarasota sets the man against the backdrop of Florida from World War I through the land boom and the turbulent twenties into the depression years and Ringling's lapse into obscurity.
 Illustrated with nearly fifty black-and-white photographs, many never before published, this is the chronicle of a man, as the foreword claims, "who was not afraid to think or live on a grand scale, who knew what he wanted from life, and from art."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Weeks, who lectures at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, presents a serviceable account of one of the famous Ringling brothers, John Nicholas, from his move to Sarasota in 1911 until his death in 1936. The book begins with a comprehensive overview of Florida's economy in the early 20th century. Ringling wintered his circus in Sarasota and thus became involved with the development of the city during the 1920s. However, during the early years of the Depression, Ringling suffered from ill health and financial problems. After his death, his estate was in probate for many years, resulting in the near loss of his legacy to the state of Florida. This book provides an excellent description of Florida, economically and socially, during the boom and depression of the 1920s and 1930s and should appeal to general readers interested in economic and social history.-- H. Denyse Seaman, Baylor Univ. Law Lib., Waco, Tex.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813012438
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 367
  • Sales rank: 977,636
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

David C. Weeks, occasional lecturer in Imperial studies at the Royal Empire Society and adjunct professor at the American University Center for Technology and Administration, Washington, D.C., is a docent at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Chronology
1 A Prologue: Ringling, the Showman 1
2 Sarasota's Golden Promise 26
3 A Decade of Quiet Affluence 45
4 The Florida Gold Rush 81
5 Life in the Grand Manner 111
6 After the Boom 131
7 The Art Collector 168
8 A Long Farewell 215
9 Ten Years in Probate 257
10 John Ringling Redux 286
Notes 299
Bibliography 331
Index 338
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