Unpacking the Enquirer Collection

As we wander the back warehouse part of the museum, it’s interesting to wonder what it would be like to have a group of bright, hard working individuals to help organize the collection, particularly our largest and most recent addition to the museum, The Enquirer blocks, acquired in 2015 from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Enter Professors Paul Brown and David Wolske with Indiana University grad student Alexander Landerer along with Jim Sherraden and Bill Moran on June 5.

The week was spent building pallet racks and turning 6 foot tall stacks of blocks into shelves of cleaned, photographed and numbered plates to be entered into the archives document. The work was tremendous, the discoveries were amazing and the museum’s collection took on a new shape.

We now know that one leg of “Bertha, the World’s Largest Woman” takes up most of a 40” x 52” block. The “Barrel Rider” is a life size woman standing on a horse carved so intricately it makes the head spin and that Johnnie Lynch and his “Daredevil Drivers” was possibly also Jimmy Lynch and his “Death Dodgers.” A Ringling Brothers gorilla head poster is taller than Stephanie. Believe it or Not!

In the course of a week, over 500 blocks were put on shelves. It was a dirty, tiresome stretch of standing on concrete but one of the most exciting parts of spending time at Hamilton.

Hats off to some great help and special thanks to the Windgate Foundation and Logan Foundation for their support of this cataloging initiative.

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What a great team! Pictured from left: Stephanie Carpenter, Jim Moran, Heather Buechler, Jim Sherraden, Bill Moran, Paul Brown, David Wolske, Dan Schneider, Alexander Landerer

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Paul and the team get started unloading the first pallet of cuts from the Enquirer Collection.

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David and Alexander start cleaning each block.

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Each block is cleaned and assessed for damage.

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We've found big foot!

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The pallet racks waiting for the blocks.

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Jim and Paul check out one of the tiger blocks.

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Stephanie next to the Ringling Bros blocks.

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One of the red block for the Ringling Bros blocks.

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A proof of the Ringling Bros block used as makeready on the back of one of the blocks.


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Jim Sherraden moving around some big blocks.

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Paul, Bill, and Stephanie setting up the space for photographing each block.

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David and Paul take a photo of each block before it gets put onto the shelf.


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David putting the blocks onto the shelf.

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Alexander helps get each block into its home on the shelf.


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Over 500 blocks now in place on the shelves.

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Jim ensuring we keep a clean shop.

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Some spectacular blocks were uncovered.


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At the end of the week we proofed a couple of the wonderful finds!

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Be on the look out for the Hamilton branded footies for those long days standing on concrete. David Wolske designed and approved!