A group of Jacks and Stringers are in the middle of setting up a big top for a circus performance. Long, taught ropes tied to several stakes in the ground keep the roof of the tent fastened as the workers continue to assemble its sides. The workers are dressed in several styles of casual attire, mostly variations of a button-down shirt with trousers.Towards the center of the photograph, a large cloud of mist trails outwards from the tent towards the sky, creating an eerie effect. However, while the mist is very prominent, its source is unidentifiable. As they set up the tent, the men towards the right appear to be focusing their attention on something inside the tent, while the men on the left are concentrated on the smoke.
Big top, or the circus tent, is an innovation of the circus world introduced around 1825. Big tops are usually constructed of canvas and were originally very small: a single tent could only house a few hundred seats. But as time passed by, the tents eventually grew larger and could easily accommodate thousands of spectators. This innovation allowed circus groups to travel more conveniently, as well as provided more space to conduct their performances.
From the collection of Fred Bodin of Gloucester MA. Fred was a long time resident and well-known photographer of Gloucester and had one of the best private collections of New England nautical photographs in private hands. Fred was a photojournalist having graduated with this degree from Syracuse University and worked for Yankee Magazine. Fred passed away in 2016 and HIP purchased his collection from his estate.