Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Frederick Fried Coney Island collection, 1847-2001

Summary Information


The collection consists of materials used by Frederick Fried in his research and writing about folk art and material culture, especially related to Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. A significant portion of the collection consists of the personal archive of William F. Mangels, which was purchased by Fried in 1955. Mangels was a designer and manufacturer of amusement rides and founder of the American Museum of Public Recreation at Coney Island. Subjects include amusement parks, amusement rides, architecture, bathing pavilions, beaches, beauty contests, carousels, carousel animals, Brooklyn, coin-operated machines, Coney Island, exhibitions, games of chance and skill, hotels, mechanical rides, mechanization, parades, pleasure railways, recreation, roller coasters, sideshows, transportation, and other subjects related to American material culture and popular amusement.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1582
Bib ID 8857048 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Fried, Frederick
Title Frederick Fried Coney Island collection, 1847-2001
Physical Description 32.62 linear feet (15 document boxes 7 flat boxes 36 oversized folders 7 tubes)
Language(s) English .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Subseries II.2 (Boxes 16-22) is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.



This collection is organized into three series.



The Frederick Fried Coney Island Collection consists of material created and collected by Frederick Fried in the course of documenting and writing about the history of the amusements industry and the public culture of Coney Island (Brooklyn, New York). It includes, photographic materials, drawings, blueprints, newspaper and magazine clippings, research notes, published and unpublished writings, brochures, printed advertisements, correspondence, trade literature, sheet music, and ephemera. Of particular interest for researchers will be the materials that Fried collected from William F. Mangels (1867-1958) in 1955. Mangels was a German immigrant entrepreneur, designer, and inventor who was a major figure in the development of the American amusement park. Located at Coney Island, the W.F. Mangels Company was a prominent manufacturer of carousels and other amusement rides, including the Whip and the Tickler. Also a historian of the amusements industry and collector, Mangels founded the American Museum of Public Recreation (1929-1955) at West Eighth Street and Neptune Avenue at Coney Island and authored the book The Outdoor Amusement Industry: From Earliest Times to the Present (1952). Both Fried and Mangels organized their materials by subject or genre, and, therefore, there is some overlap in the method of arrangement. Researchers are advised to be mindful of this and may need to consult multiple subject categories and locations.

Some materials in this collection have been digitized and available: https://dlc.library.columbia.edu/coney_island

  • Series I: Photographs, 1894-2001, undated

    The series consists of photographic material that was collected by Frederick Fried that depicts the rich public life and popular culture of Coney Island from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, illustrating amusement rides; buildings and structures; parades, contests, and performances; the boardwalk; transportation; and people, both visitors to and employees of Coney Island's various attractions, amusements, and spectacles. Visual material is especially strong in chronicling the heyday of Coney Island's three main amusement parks—Dreamland, Luna Park, and Steeplechase Park—from 1903 to 1911, but also includes earlier views as well as many crowd and beach photographs of the "Nickel Empire" era, circa 1920-1933. In addition, there are also six photographs of scale models of designs for amusements by William F. Mangels and other photographs of his installations at the American Museum of Public Recreation. Photographic material is mostly gelatin silver and albumen prints, both mounted and unmounted, some with a photographer's credit, some dated, and most identified. The series is divided into three subseries and arranged by subject.

  • Series II: Architectural and Design Drawings, 1847-1974, undated

    This series consists primarily of architectural and design drawings produced by the W.F. Mangels Company for buildings, structures, amusement rides, and mechanical devices. The majority of the series contains material that relates to the firm's client that were based in and around Coney Island (Brooklyn, New York), but there are also several items for projects elsewhere in the United States. This series is arranged first by size into three subseries—flat drawings, rolled drawings, and mapcase drawings—and is then arranged by the following subject categories: architectural drawings, carousels, amusements, roller coasters, mini-rails and pleasure railroads, flat rides, and ornamental details and other items. Because items are first arranged by size, researchers are advised to examine each of the three subseries to find all of the design documents in the collection that may pertain to a specific project. While perusing the container listing below, please note that digits that precede the item title and description (e.g. 170, Ferris wheel, foundation plan, undated) are identification numbers given to the drawings by the Ricco Maresca Gallery (New York, New York) for inventory purposes.

  • Series III: Personal Papers and Ephemera, 1870-2000, undated

    This series contains the personal papers, research files, and collected ephemera of Frederick Fried, all of which relates to his personal interest in the history of the amusements industry and Coney Island (Brooklyn, New York). Much of this material originally belonged to William F. Mangels and was subsequently purchased by Fried in 1955. Items include clippings, photographs, manuscripts, research files, correspondence, deeds of sale, business records, official reports, postcards, ticket stubs, and other ephemera. Researchers are advised that this series maintains its original order and related items may be founded in multiple boxes, folders, and volumes.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Subseries II.2 (Boxes 16-22) is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Frederick Fried Coney Island Collection; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material

Frederick and Mary Hill Fried Folk Art Archives, 1895-1991, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


No additional material expected

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2011.2012.M009: Source of acquisition--Schroeder Romero & Shredder Gallery. Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--07/20/2012.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Thai Jones, GSAS 2013; Matthew Spooner, GSAS 2013; Matthew Kuhnert, GSAAP 2012 2011-2012.

Finding aid written Matthew Kuhnert, GSAAP 2012 05/--/2012.

The original finding aid included the term "Freakshow" in Series I as an archivist-applied topical heading. In February 2020 this was changed to "Sideshow performers." The original finding aid, and the rationale for the change, are found in the collection file. The term "freak" in the title of the exhibition catalog was maintained, as it is included the actual title of the object. kws

Revision Description

2012-09-21 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

2020-02-19 Description language updated. kws

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Advertisements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architects Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Business records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Design drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pamphlets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Patent drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Periodicals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Printed Ephemera Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sheet music Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Technical drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
architectural drawings (visual works) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
blueprints (reprographic copies) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
A.G. Mangels Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
American Museum of Public Recreation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Amusement park owners Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Amusement parks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Amusement ride equipment industry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Amusement rides Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Anaconda Copper Mining Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Artisans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Attractions (Spectacles) -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Barnes Brothers Nursery Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Beaches -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Beauty contests Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Berni, Louis Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bishop & Babcock Sales Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Booman, H Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Boyton, Paul, 1848-1924 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brewster, James W. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Browning, Charles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Builder Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Businesspeople Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Butte Electric Railway Co. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carousel animals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Collector Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coney Island (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coney Island Carnival Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coney Island Chamber of Commerce Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Consultant Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Contractor Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Crowds -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Custer, L. Luzerne Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Designer Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Drafters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dreamland (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dundy, Elmer "Skip", 1862-1907 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Earisher, Frederick Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Engineer Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Feltman's Garden (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Feltman's of Coney Island, Incorporated Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Frank Wilcox Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fred Medart Mfg. Co. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fried, Frederick Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fried, Rachel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gabriel, Carl Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gumpertz, Samuel W Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Haase, Hugo Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hagenhech, Carl Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Historian Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hotels -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Humphrey, D. S Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hurley, John J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Idora Park (Oakland, Calif.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Illions, Marcus Charles Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Immerso, Michael, 1949- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Inventor Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jeanson, Charles A., III Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
JoJo the Dog Boy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Keating, William Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kennedy, W. T Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Luna Park (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mangels, William F., 1867-1958 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mangels, William F., 1867-1958 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manufacturer Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Material culture -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Maxim, Hiram S. (Hiram Stevens), 1840-1916 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mechanization Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Meinsch, William C. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Merry-go-round art Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Narragansett Machine Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nesensohn, Charles, approximately 1867 or 1868-1923 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
O'Neill, Clarence J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Onorato, Anthony Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Parades -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Peck, James O Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Peterson, William J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pinto Brothers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Playland Park (Rye, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Popular culture -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
R.S. Uzzell Corporation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Raub, Herman, 1868-1915 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Recreation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reynold, H Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roller coasters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ruprecht, Joseph Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rutter, Edgar E., 1883-1964 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ryan Amusement Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ryan, Thomas J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schaal, Eric Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schenck Brothers Palisade Park Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schenck, Joseph M., 1877-1961 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schenck, Nicholas M., 1880-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seashore -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seaside architecture Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Semmel, Patricia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sideshows -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Steeplechase Park (New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stock, John J Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Strickler, William H Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Thompson, F. W (Frederick W.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Thompson, LaMarcus Adna Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tilyou Realty Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tilyou, Edward C Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tilyou, George C., 1862-1914 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Transportation -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Trump, Fred, 1905-1999 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Underhill, Irving, -1960 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Van Kannel, T. (Theophilus), 1841-1919 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
W.F. Mangels Company Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wood-carver Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zip the Pinhead Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Frederick P. Fried (1908-1994) was a recognized authority and avid collector of American folk art, specializing in American carousels and carousel art, circus art, mechanical amusements, shop figures, ship figureheads, and architectural ornament.

Fried was a frequent writer and lecturer and served as a consultant for several museums and institutions, including the Shelburne Museum (Shelburne, Vermont), the South Street Seaport Museum, the American Folk Art Museum (both in New York, New York), and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C.). Fried was an historian for the Musical Box Society International, and, along with his wife Mary Hill Fried (1913-1988), also a folk art specialist, helped to found the National Carousel Association in 1973.

Frederick Fried is primarily known for his research on American folk sculpture and the design and manufacture of carousels in the United States. His book A Pictorial History of the Carousel (1964) is one of the definitive works on the subject. Research on the New York City shipcarver Thomas V. Brooks (1828-1895) and his apprentice Samuel Anderson Robb (1851-1928) led to the publication of Artists in Wood: American Carvers of Cigar-Store Indians, Show Figures, and Circus Wagons (1970), which is considered to be Fried's "greatest contribution to folk art scholarship."

In addition, Fried was an active participant in the nascent historic preservation movement in New York City and an early member of the Anonymous Arts Recovery Society, an organization founded in 1962 and devoted to the preservation and salvage of architectural ornament. The group rescued over 1,500 artifacts from threatened buildings and sites all over greater New York, including material from Coney Island's Steeplechase Park during its demolition, and donated them to the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. In 1966, the museum established the Frieda Schiff Warburg Memorial Sculpture Garden, which placed a curated selection of these architectural fragments on long-term exhibition. Frederick Fried authored the essay "Fragmentary Landmarks" for the installation's inaugural catalog. Fried's interest in the sculptors and manufacturers of architectural ornament led to his collaboration with the photographer Edmund V. Gillon, Jr., on the publication of New York Civic Sculpture, A Pictorial Guide (1976). Throughout the 1960s, Fried was also an early advocate for the creation of an historic preservation district along Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan and the establishment of a maritime museum at the site. He led the national effort to facilitate the transfer of the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse from the headquarters of the Seamen's Church Institute to the newly founded South Street Seaport Museum in 1967.

A native of New York City, Frederick Fried was raised in Brooklyn, where his father owned a clock business on Ocean Parkway near the workshop and studio of Charles Carmel, a noted carousel carver. Fried earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in sculpture. He married Mary McKenzie Hill, the Baltimorean artist and illustrator, in 1949, and the couple had two children. Fried served in the United States Air Force during the Second World War, and, after his military service, worked as an art director for several fashion agencies and the Bonwit Teller department store. After 1962, Fried devoted his professional life to research on American folk art and sculpture.

Over the course of many decades, Frederick Fried assembled an extensive folk art collection that he housed in a barn on his rural estate near Lincoln, Vermont. According to his obituary in The Carousel News and Trade, his most treasured objects were those items that he was able to salvage from the historic amusement parks at Coney Island. Regretfully, many of these larger, three-dimensional artifacts were destroyed when an arsonist set fire to the barn in 1993, but a complete and detailed inventory of the collection survives. In 1987, Fried published a short history, "Greetings from Coney Island," based on his research and illustrated with material from his archival collection. Fried was working on a book-length history of Coney Island when he died in 1994, one year after the tragic fire ravaged his Vermont estate.

William Frederick Mangels (1867-1958) was a German immigrant, entrepreneur, and inventor, best known for his designs for mechanical amusements and carousels, and an important authority on the history of the amusements industry. During the course of his professional career, he was active in local and national organizations devoted to the amusements industry, such as the American Recreational Equipment Association, the New England Association of Amusement Parks, and the National Association of Amusement Parks, Pools, and Beaches, for which he served as historian. A prominent and successful businessman, Mangels served on the board of directors of many local Brooklyn concerns, such as the Bank of Coney Island, the Brooklyn Trust Company, the Coney Island Board of Trade, the Coney Island Carnival Company, Incorporated, the Coney Island Hotel Corporation, and the West Tenth Street Realty Group.

Records indicate that William F. Mangels was born in Cuxhaven, Germany, near Hamburg, in 1867. According to later interviews, Mangels worked as an apprentice in his father's machine shop where he helped manufacture parts for carousels. He immigrated to New York City in 1884 and become a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1890. In 1894, Mangels married Emma Kammerer, a New Yorker, and together they would have three children: William, Jr., Frederick, and Marguerite Mangels. His two sons, as well as one grandson, would continue the family amusement business after Mangels' death in 1958.

By 1886, William F. Mangels had established a bicycle and machine shop on West Fifth Street in Coney Island, which also provided repair services to the amusement rides and parks then in operation. It was also here that Mangels developed his first inventions, including his first patented amusement ride, a "roundabout" or "Razzle-Dazzle" improved mechanical swing in 1891. Patents for a "bicycle railway" soon followed in 1896 and 1898. Coney Island was then the center of the American amusements industry, and Mangels joined a growing enclave of entrepreneurs and inventors, many of them fellow German and Eastern European immigrants, who designed, manufactured, and repaired carousels, rides, and mechanical amusements.

Although he had enjoyed modest success thus far, the year 1907 proved to be especially momentous for Mangels. The summer season also marked the debut of his most popular amusement ride to date, the Tickler, which consisted of round cars in which riders were jostled as they slid down an inclined plane. When the inventor showed a drawing of the attraction to Frederick W. Thompson, the owner of Luna Park, the latter is reported to have exclaimed, "Mangels, you will need barrels to take your money away in!" Demand for the manufacture of the new mechanical device was indeed robust and allowed Mangels to raise enough capital to finance the construction of a new factory on West Eighth Street in Coney Island where the rides would be produced. A reporter for The Billboard, the amusement industry organ, listed the cost of the plant to be $32,000 and described it as "the most thoroughly-equipped factory for the manufacture of mechanical amusement devices in the country," containing drafting rooms, machine shops, a metal foundry, a wood-carving plant, and facilities for carpentry and painted finishes.

Mangels eventually made a small fortune by selling limited territorial rights to clients for between $35,000 and $45,000 per device in addition to the cost of the ride itself.

Incorporated in 1908, the W.F. Mangels Company operated until 1959 and became a leading international manufacturer of carousels, mechanical devices, and amusement rides. At various times, the firm employed many of Coney Island's most celebrated carvers to produce carousel horses, rounding boards, and embellishments, including Marcus Charles Illions, Samuel Stein, and Harry Goldstein. Mangels famously collaborated with Illions to produce the lavish, new Feltman carousel at Coney Island, which replaced an earlier ride that was damaged by fire in 1899.

In addition to carousels, the W.F. Mangels Company also designed and manufactured a diverse range of mechanical devices and rides for adults and children. In fact, Mangels claimed to have registered over seventy patents for inventions and amusement devices in his lifetime. The company designed and manufactured such noted rides as the Rocky Road to Dublin, in addition to various pleasure railroads, mechanical swings, and other amusements, both permanent and portable, for Coney Island-based establishments and amusement parks across the globe. For example, in 1912, Mangels was commissioned by the Joseph and Nicholas Schenck to design one of the earliest artificial wave-generating machines in the United States for Palisades Amusement Park (Fort Lee, New Jersey).

The veteran amusement-maker is perhaps most famous for inventing the Whip, which débuted at Coney Island's Luna Park in 1914 and soon became one of the park's most popular attractions. The ride was composed of cars that ran on a flat, elliptical course, and which were given an extra jolt by the centrifugal force of rounding a curved track at constant speed. Brisk sales of the Whip to other amusement parks, licensing agreements, and royalties from the sale of foreign manufacturing rights earned Mangels hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. "We have sold the rights in Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Cuba, South Africa—every place where there are civilized people who like to play," explained Mangels, "And remember we make the apparatus too. … It cost the showman over $14,000 before he set it up, but it paid for itself in six weeks." Despite the Whip's great success, however, Mangels himself never rode on one.

In 1934, while on a five-month journey with his family to Europe, Mangels visited the operator who had purchased the German rights to the Whip, a gentleman named Sieboldt who ran a children's amusement park and zoo near Bremerhaven. In an interview many decades later, Mangels credited the success of Sieboldt's concern with inspiring a specialization in the design and manufacture of "kiddie rides" and other miniature amusements for youth that reproduced adult attractions on a smaller scale, such as child-sized Whips, pleasure railroads, and carousels. Also in its later years, Mangels' business also profited by producing replacement parts and mechanisms for the firm's historic rides, which were then in operation at countless amusement parks all over the world.

A recognized authority on the amusements industry, an amateur historian, and collector, Mangels founded the American Museum of Public Recreation (1929-1955) and authored the book The Outdoor Amusement Industry: From Earliest Times to the Present (1952), two initiatives that defined the last decades of his life.

The museum was granted an education charter by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1929. Mangels was director and treasurer of the institution, which was sponsored by the National Association of Amusement Parks. Little financial support was forthcoming from the Association, however, and Mangels housed and maintained the collection himself in a structure adjacent to his factory at West Eighth Street and Neptune Avenue. According to the promotional pamphlet authored in the museum's inaugural year, it was hoped that the City of New York would eventually grant a plot of land for the erection of a permanent building.

The endeavor was unable to secure long-term financial stability, however, and the trustees of the museum closed the institution in 1955 and dispersed its collection. According to an obituary of William F. Mangels, the museum's collection of musical instruments was sold to an as yet unidentified museum then located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The other three-dimensional items were purchased by the Circus Hall of Fame [and Horn's Cars of Yesterday (Fried, 104)], now the Ringling Circus Museum (Sarasota, Florida). It was also at this time that Frederick Fried arranged to acquire the bulk of William F. Mangels' personal papers and design drawings, which were subsequently used as source material, in part, for several of Fried's publications, such as A Pictorial History of the Carousel (1964) and others.