Digital Commonwealth

George Emery Papers, 1875-1977

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

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After graduating from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1924, George Edward "Red" Emery taught high school briefly and held a handful of other jobs before deciding to fulfill a childhood dream. Born in Marlboro, Mass., in 1904, Emery turned his love for the circus into a life touring the country as a white-face circus clown. After marrying Virginia Link, a Smith College student, in 1932, he settled down to a stable job in the Alumni Office at his alma mater, later filling in as Veterans Coordinator and as a staff member in the Student Placement Office until his retirement in 1972. Emery never left the circus behind entirely. Throughout his years in Amherst he continued to talk and write about the history of the circus and his personal experiences, and from the late 1940s through early 1960s, he used his show business connections to book talent for the Three County Fair. Longtime residents of Leverett, Mass., he and his wife died within a year of one another, Virginia in 1974 and George in 1975. With his passion for the circus, George Emery's papers contain material not only from his career as a circus clown in the 1920s but also from his later writings about the history of the circus, his work with the Three County Fair, and his long association with UMass Amherst. The collection includes correspondence with friends and family; circus toys and games; posters, photographs, and ephemera; and a library of books on circus history. Of special note are some exceptional photographs and a thick sheaf of material from the Three County Fair.