Circus Ring of Fame Wheel Plaque

Williams, Peggy

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 2023

Circus Profession: Clown, Performance Director, Educator, Historian

Peggy Williams’ contributions to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and the circus industry have literally made history.  She was the first female graduate of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College to ever appear in The Greatest Show On Earth in 1970.  Her accomplishments as a performer, instructor and mentor helped pave the way for many aspiring entertainers who would appear in the circus.  In 1980, she distinguished herself again by becoming the first woman to take the role as assistant performance director for Ringling, before being appointed performance director – again a first in the company’s history – for the Special International Edition of The Greatest Show On Earth to visit Japan.

Peggy’s passion for education would ultimately take her from the live show to the Feld Entertainment corporate office, where in 1980 she worked to create Ringling’s Department of Education Services.  Under her leadership Circusworks was created as a resource for teachers that explored many areas of curriculum that brought Circus themes into the classroom.  Circuswork gained national attention as educators entered into the world of Ringling’s cultural heritage and then created lesson plans that they took back to their students making learning fun, exciting and unforgettable.