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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Balasic Family Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1890-1920
Creator: Balasi Family (1840-)
Extent: 1.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0075
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Scrapbook album, which contains a brief history of the Balasi family, artists' copies of performance contracts, promotional materials, newspaper reviews, photographs documenting their performances, and sheet music for music included in their performances. Sometimes the name appears as Balasic.

Alternate Extent Statement: Videocassette of the head-to-head stunt

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Mark Balasi, grandson of the Balasics.

Preferred Citation: Papers of the Balasi Family, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

The Balasi name is Croatian in origin. Karlu Balasi was probably born in the late 1840s. He was an entertainer who performed on the continent. His wife's name was Maria Dogmar. They had a son, Victor, in Pozega, Croatia, in 1869. Victor married Paula Enders in Hungary in 1894. They had three children: Maria, who suffered from cerebral palsy and was confined to a sanitarium during her lifetime; and two sons, Alfred and Victor, who joined the act. Their act was a combination of vaudeville and acrobatics. They went under various names at different points in their career. In the late 1890s and early 1900s the family was managing their own circus traveling all over Europe.
They were in St. Petersburg performingat the Narodi-Dom in 1914 when war broke out. They were interned by the Czar's government and sent to Siberia. They spent five months there before escaping and making their way to Denmark, where they immediately began performing again.
During 1917-1918 the act was suspended, presumably because the men were serving in the Austro-Hungarian army. In August 1923, Victor, Sr., Paula, Alfred, Victor, Jr., Maria Holz, and another woman sailed from Sweden to the United States to do a nineteen week tour. They signed further contracts and stayed in the US in 1924. Alfred married Marie Holz and they had a son, Alfred. In 1925, Victor retired to Chicago, where he and Paula bought and managed several rooming houses.
Alfred, Maria, and Victor, Jr. carried on as the Balasi Trio. They performed in several combinations and under various names for the next several years. Alfred and Maria retired in 1930 and Victor retired a few years later.
Victor, Sr. died in 1931; Victor, Jr. died in 1943; Maria and Paula died in 1956; Maria Holz died in 1963; and Alfred died in 1967.
Taken from the Introduction to the scrapbook written by Mark Balasi.

This collection consists of a photocopy of the scrapbook of the Balasi family; originals of sixty some contracts; originals, many hand-written, of the music used in their performances and photocopies of these sheets bound in a book; and a video casette of a 1925 performance of their head-to-head stunt.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Contracts
  • Documented performance history - 1910-1929
  • Scrapbook. Photocopy
  • Sheet music: Originals
  • Sheet music: Photocopies
  • Videocassette: Balasic Family Vaudeville Act - Film clip of head-to-head acrobatic stunt of "The Balasi Trio," Alfred Balasic, Victor Balasic, and Maria Holz Balasic. - 1925

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Corporate Names:
B.F. Keith (Firm)
B.F. Moss Vaudeville Circuit



Geographic Names:

Genre/Form of Materials: