How the Showmen's League of America began...
On February 19th, 1913, a small group of dedicated "out-of-doors showmen" met at the Saratoga Hotel, in Chicago, IL. Those present agreed that the time had come for an international organization that would cater to the needs and wishes of carnival people everywhere, through good times and bad. Thus, The Showmen's League of America was born. U.J. "Sport" Hermann chaired this historic meeting. Under his stewardship, committees were formed and a slate of Officers and a Board of Governors were created. Colonel William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, famed "Wild West" figure and showman was elected the League’s first President.
The Showmen's League of America has survived and prospered over the years, building on the foundation of mutual goodwill and determination established by its 40 charter members. Since 1913, generations of industry leaders have served the League and nurtured its continued health. Our founders' legacy is our precious treasure and their enduring monument
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Due to the fire of 2001 many of the League’s records were lost. We highly recommend searching old Billboard magazines at Google Books. Clicking on the 'Advanced Book Search' button will allow you to tailor your search to a specific time period.
For more research tips and suggestions, see 'Chapters & Links'