Juan and Miguel Vazquez, of the renowned Flying Vazquez trapeze act, recently donated a substantial number of items to the Circus and Allied Arts Collection, housed in the Special Collections area of Illinois State University’s Milner Library.

The 51-piece Vasquez collection consists of newspaper and magazine articles, programs, posters, wardrobe items, photographs, and a flying trapeze bar used by the Vazquez act from 1997 until 2000. A number of items from the Vazquez collection will be on display on the sixth floor of Milner Library throughout the fall semester.

The Vazquez brothers were the first flying return trapeze act in the world to consistently catch a quadruple somersault. That incredible feat has earned them general recognition within the profession as the greatest flying trapeze act in history.

This past July, the Vasquez brothers participated in a panel discussion along with Tony Steele, Terry Cavaretta, Richie Gaona and Al Light at the Circus Historical Society convention, hosted by Illinois State University. The select group of elite performers was invited to the convention to represent the very best artists in the history of trapeze performance. For nearly a hundred years, the Bloomington-Normal community was the principal training site for the finest trapeze performers in the country.

Since its inception in the 1950s, Milner Library’s Circus and Allied Arts Collection has developed into one of the most significant archives of circus memorabilia in America. The collection houses thousands of photographs, posters, films, programs, heralds, couriers, personal correspondence, posters, ledgers, numerous artifacts, Gamma Phi Circus archives, and the largest circus book collection of any public institution in America.

“The Vazquez donation is perfectly consistent with our collections policy,” said Steve Gossard, curator of circus collections at Milner Library. “We want to develop Milner Library Special Collections into the principal archive of trapeze artifacts in America. The Vazquez collection, international in scope, is an extremely significant and welcome addition.”