The collection, 1955-2010, and undated (4 cubic feet) documents Ray Genter’s fascination with, and collecting of, carnival equipment and collectibles under the business name of Genter Bros. Shows and Rides, Inc., and his carnival, Great Lakes Amusement.
Boxes 1-6 include subject files of general carnival and circus information; financial records of the purchase and sale of equipment and collectibles; catalogs and fliers; advertisements; insurance; various forms; correspondence with committees, suppliers, and concessionaires; contact information of various suppliers and concessionaires as well as fair committee members; and information documenting how the Muskegon Optimist Club, of which Ray was a member, brought circuses to Muskegon. A few newspaper clippings (copies) are included. Of particular interest to carnival historians will be the material concerning the formation of the Amusement-Safety Act of 1966 and its related board, as documented in the minutes and correspondence of the Michigan Amusement Association, an organization of carnival owners, 1985-1987. These folders are organized alphabetically and chronologically.
Boxes 7-8 include the route lists, 1984-1987, and financial documentation, forms, booking agreements, inspection logs, correspondence, and other materials relating to specific route locations and events. This information is alphabetical by town or event. Materials vary from folder to folder, but most include some correspondence and accounts.
Posters and window cards of circus and carnival advertisements, mostly late 20th century and Michigan-related, are included in an oversized folder at the end of the collection.
Processing Notes: A few general Muskegon, Michigan, items of historical value were transferred to the Michigan Vertical Files-Muskegon folder. All information with account or social security numbers, or other personal information such as income, health, or governmental financial support, were withdrawn from the collection, including job and housing applications, cancelled checks, and bank balance statements, as well as duplicate and blank forms and stationery, miscellaneous notes, illegible materials, and miscellaneous information or newspaper clippings. Withdrawn material totaled 2 cubic feet. In addition, several publications by the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions were separately cataloged. Non-Michigan publications are normally withdrawn from a collection during processing, but since many carnival suppliers are national, these were left in the collection to provide information to researchers.
Special Note: Those with allergies should use the collection with care as it has a mildewed odor, although there is no mold in the papers themselves.