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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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BUSBY BROTHERS. William, Al. J., and Eben Busby managed the GRAND OPERA HOUSE and the ODEON THEATER for several years. In 1899 they leased the Economic Opera House in Clinton for five years. Alfred J. BUSBY was to be in charge of the Clinton operation and was to move to Clinton to live. William was in charge of shows on the road. He had previously been the manager of BEACH AND BOWERS. (1)

In October, 1899 it was announced that the Busby Brothers and Otis Bowers of the BEACH AND BOWERS show were in the process of organizing a minstrel company that would begin performing in November. The trio were in Chicago finding talent with rehearsals likely to be done in Clinton, Iowa. (2)

A. J. Busby completed the business details in April, 1908 for him to assume the management of the Oelwein Theater effective August 1, 1908. This would become part of the Iowa-Illinois Circuit, a chain of approximately thirty-four theaters, which was described as "the most rapidly growing theater circuit in the country." (3)

The brothers also owned and operated the Busby Poster Advertising Company. Alfred sold his interests in the company to Eben in March, 1934. William died in January, 1934. (4)



1. "Go To Clinton," The Dubuque Herald, May 12, 1899, p. 4

2. "City Briefs," The Dubuque Herald, October 21, 1899, p. 5

3. "Manage Oelwein Theatre," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, April 22, 1908, p. 5

4. Al. J. Busby, Former Dubuque Resident, Dies in Waterloo," Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal, April 22, 1935, p. 9