Books [Circus Days and Ways]
Federal Writers' Project
Works Progress Administration
OREGON FOLKLORE STUDIES
Name of worker A. C. Sherbert Date January 13, 1939
Address Project Office
Subject Circus Days and Ways.
Name and address of informant W. E. “Doc” Van Alstine, Jefferson Hotel. Cor. First and Jefferson Avenues, Portland, Oregon.
W. E. “Doc” Van Alstine retired from active circus life in 1917, and has since made his home in Portland. Circus day in Portland is a red-letter day in old Doc's calendar of events. The big shows never forget him, and when they arrive in Portland, Doc is always presented with a generous supply of “Annie Oakleys” (passes). Surrounding himself with a bunch of his cronies from the Plaza Blocks, Doc and his party are the first ones on the lot, and though a nonagenarian, Doc misses nothing that happens during the progress of the performance, and is alert to even the slightest deviation from conventional circus routine.
Hard times struck Doc for a time, and he found it necessary to live for awhile at the Multnomah County Farm. With the passing of the Old Age Pension law, however, Doc was able to leave the County Farm and move into the city. He works occasionally for the painters' union, out of the Portland Labor Temple.