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Record Group Number: 000151
Series/Collection Number: .S 183
Creator: Florida. Office of Secretary of State.
Title, Dates: Ringling Estate legal papers, 1922-1957.
Amount: 5.00 cubic ft.
2.00 v.
2.00 folder
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: By record type, then roughly chronological.
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:     Upon his death in 1936, John Ringling, circus owner, real estate developer, and art collector, bequeathed his estate to the State of Florida.  Included in the gift was Ringling's valuable collection of art and his home, Ca' d'Zan, in Sarasota, Florida.  Due to entanglements on the estate, however, the 1937 Florida Legislature was reluctant to accept the bequest.  The State finally agreed to accept the estate on the condition that it be free of all debts or liens of any nature.  A total of seventy-one creditors made claims on the estate.  Numerous Ringling family members became involved in the case, demanding dismissal of the court-appointed executors, John and Ida Ringling North (nephew and sister to John Ringling) and claiming the art collection for themselves.  The State of Florida, under the direction of the Board of Commissioners of State Institutions and the Special Counsel for the case, former Florida governor, Doyle Carlton, sometimes acted as a colleague and then as an adversary of the executors.  After ten years in probate, the estate came into the full possession of the state in May 1946. After its acquisition, the property was operated as the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art under the management of the State Board of Control, and later under the Secretary of State's office.
Summary:     This series contains the legal papers maintained by the State of Florida circa 1922 to 1957 related to the bequest of the Ringling Estate to the state.  The series includes an inventory and appraisal of the art work and other contents of the Ringling home and museum; copies of the probate records related to the case and filed in Sarasota County; records relating to the transfer of the estate from Executors John and Ida Ringling North to the state, including mortgage releases and note payments; correspondence and other general office files of Special Counsel for the case, Doyle Carlton; files related to the many litigation cases involved in the settlement of the estate; financial records of the estate and the many properties and companies held by it and records relating to the liquidation of these various estate properties; and various other records concerning the management of the estate of John Ringling, the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form:
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes:
Ownership/Custodial History:
Publication Note: Ringling: The Florida Years, 1911-1936 / by David Chapin Weeks. Gainesville, Fla. : University Press of Florida, 1993.
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Ringling, John, 1866-1936
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows
Probate records. aat
Estate inventories. aat
Judicial records. aat
Added Entries Carlton, Doyle E., 1887-1972
Florida. Board of Commissioners of State Institutions.
Florida. Circuit Court (12th Circuit : Sarasota County)