James Anthony Bailey (July 4, 1847 – April 11, 1906) was the creator of the modern circus.
He was born James Anthony McGuiness in Detroit, Michigan. Orphaned at the age of eight, McGuinness was working as a bellhop in Pontiac, Michigan when he was discovered by Fred Harrison Bailey (a nephew of circus pioneer Hachaliah Bailey) as a teenager. Bailey gave McGuiness a job as his assistant and the two traveled together for many years. James Anthony eventually adopted Bailey's surname to become James A. Bailey. Bailey later associated with James E. Cooper and, by the time he was 25, he was manager of the Cooper and Bailey circus. He then met with P.T. Barnum and together they established Barnum and Bailey's Circus (for which Bailey was instrumental in obtaining Jumbo the Elephant) in 1881. In 1919, Barnum and Bailey's joined with the Ringling Brothers to form the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. James Anthony Bailey was married to Ruth McCaddon of Zanesville, Ohio. He died of erysipelas in 1906 in Mount Vernon, New York.