Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman who is best remembered for his entertaining hoaxes and for founding the circus that eventually became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Events 1295 - Scotland and France form an alliance the beginnings of the Auld Alliance, against England. Year 1810 ( MDCCCX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Events 529 - First draft of Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in Jurisprudence) is issued by Eastern Roman Emperor Year 1891 ( MDCCCXCI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Showman can have a variety of meanings usually by context Travelling Showmen are people who run Amusement and side show equipment at regional Shows Capitol Shows events and festivals A hoax is a deliberate attempt to Dupe, Deceive or trick an audience into believing or accepting that something is real when in fact it is not or that A circus is most commonly a traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, Clowns trained animals trapeze acts Hoopers, tightrope walkers Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus was started when the Circus created by James Anthony Bailey and P Barnum never flinched from his stated goal "to put money in his own coffers. " He was a businessman above all else, his profession was pure entertainment, and he was perhaps the first "show business" millionaire. Showbiz redirects here For other uses see Showbiz (disambiguation. He never said "There's a sucker born every minute" as is famously ascribed, but his rebuttal to his critics was often "I am a showman by profession. "There's a sucker born every minute" is a Phrase often credited to P . . and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me. " Although famous for his brazen self-promotion and blatant puffery, he understood his times and profited from them brilliantly.
Barnum was born in Bethel, Connecticut, the son of inn-keeper, tailor, and store-keeper Philo Barnum (1778-1826) and second wife Irene Taylor, who had ten children altogether. Bethel is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, about sixty miles from New York City. Connecticut ( is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. He was the third great grandson of Thomas Barnum (1625-1695), the immigrant ancestor of the Barnum family in North America. His maternal grandfather Phineas Taylor was a famous wag, legislator, landowner, justice of the peace, and lottery schemer, and he had a great influence on this favorite grandson. Barnum was very adept at arithmetic, but hated physical work. Barnum first started as a store-keeper, and he learned the arts of haggling, striking a hard bargain, and using deception to make a sale. He was also involved with the lottery mania then prevailing in the United States. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the He married Charity Hallett when he was 19, his companion for the next 50 years.
The enterprising young husband had several businesses going at once--a general store, a book auctioning trade, real estate speculation, and most lucrative of all, a state-wide lottery network. He became active in local politics and advocated against the strict blue laws promulgated by the Calvinists who sought to restrict gambling and travel. A blue law is a type of law in the United States and Canada designed to enforce moral standards particularly the observance of Sunday as a day of worship To further his liberal beliefs, Barnum started a weekly paper in 1829, The Herald of Freedom, in Danbury, Connecticut. His inflammatory editorials against church elders led to several libel suits and a prosecution which resulted in imprisonment for two months, but he became a champion of the liberal movement upon his release. In 1834, when lotteries were banned in Connecticut, cutting off his main source of income, Barnum sold his store and moved to New York City. The City of New York In 1835 he began his career as a showman with his purchase and exhibition of a blind and almost completely paralyzed slave woman, Joice Heth, claimed by Barnum to have been the nurse of George Washington, and to be over 160 years old. Joice Heth (c1756– February 19, 1836) was an African American slave who was exhibited by P George Washington (February 22 1732 December 14 1799 served as the first President of the United States of America (1789&ndash1797 and led the
Joice Heth died in 1836, when her age was proved to be not more than eighty. After a year of mixed success with his first variety troupe called "Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theater", followed by the Panic of 1837 and a three year period of difficult circumstances, he purchased Scudder's American Museum, at Broadway and Ann Street, New York City, in 1841. Barnum's American Museum was located at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street in New York City from 1841 to 1865 Ann Street is a 3-block long street located in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan just south of City Hall Renamed "Barnum's American Museum" with a considerable addition of exhibits and improvements in the building, it became one of the most popular showplaces in the United States. Barnum added a huge lighthouse lamp to the roof which at night attracted attention up and down Broadway and flags all along the roof's edge that attracted attention in the daytime. From between the upper windows, giant paintings of animals drew stares from passing pedestrians. The roof was transformed to a strolling garden with a view of the city, and where hot-air balloon rides were launched daily. To the static exhibits of stuffed animals were added a constantly changing series of live acts and "curiosities", including albinos, giants, midgets, "fat boys", jugglers, magicians, "exotic women", detailed models of cities and famous battles, and eventually a live menagerie of animals--promoted all over town from billboards and advertising carts.
In 1842, Barnum introduced his first major hoax at his museum, the bogus "Fejee" mermaid, which he leased from fellow museum owner Moses Kimball of Boston, who became his good friend, confidant, and collaborator. A Fiji mermaid (also Feejee mermaid) was a common feature of Sideshows During the Renaissance and the Baroque eras it was a staple of Moses Kimball ( October 24 1809 - February 21 1895) was a notable U He justified his hoaxes or "humbugs" as "advertisements to draw attention. . . to the Museum. I don't believe in duping the public, but I believe in first attracting and then pleasing them. "  Later, he crusaded against outright fraudsters (see below). Barnum followed that hit with the exhibition of Charles Stratton, the celebrated dwarf "General Tom Thumb" ("the Smallest Person that ever Walked Alone") who was then four years of age but passed off as eleven. For the similarly named governor of New Jersey see Charles C Stratton. With heavy coaching and natural talent, the boy was taught to imitate famous people from Hercules to Napoleon. By five, he was drinking wine and by seven smoking cigars for the public's amusement. Though clearly exploited to a degree, Tom Thumb enjoyed his job and had a good relationship with Barnum free of any bitterness.
In year 1843 Barnum hired the traditional Native American dancer fu-Hum-Me, the first of many Native Americans he presented to the Eastern public. During 1844-45 Barnum toured with Tom Thumb in Europe and met with Queen Victoria, who was both amused and saddened by the actions of the little man, and the event was an enormous publicity coup for Barnum. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901 was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland It opened the door to visits from royalty across Europe including the Czar of Russia and give him opportunities to acquire dozens of new attractions, including various automatons and other mechanical marvels of that era. He even tried to buy the birth home of William Shakespeare and almost got away with it. William Shakespeare ( baptised Barnum was having the time of his life, and for all of the three years abroad with Thumb, except for a few months when his serious, nervous, and straitlaced wife joined him, he had piles of spending money, plentiful food and drink, and lived an exhilarating, carefree existence. On his return to New York, he went on a spending spree, buying up other museums, including Peale's famous museum in Philadelphia, the nation's first major museum. By late 1846, Barnum's Museum was drawing 400,000 visitors per year. 
A remarkable instance of his enterprise was the engagement of Jenny Lind "the "Swedish Nightingale" to sing in America at $1,000 a night for 150 nights, all expenses being paid by the entrepreneur and all in advance--an unprecedented offer at the time. Autograf Jenny Lind Goldschmidt Nordisk familjebokpng|thumb|left|Autograph of Jenny Lind after her February 5 1852 marriage to Otto Goldschmidt "Jenny Lind mania" was sweeping Europe then and she was a favorite of Queen Victoria and legions of fans. She was unpretentious, shy, and devout, and possessed a crystal-clear soprano voice projected with a wistful quality which audiences found touching and unforgettable. The offer was accepted in part to free her from opera performances which she disliked and to help endow a music school for poor children. The risk for Barnum was huge. Besides never having heard her or knowing whether Americans would take to her, he had to assume all the financial risk as well. He borrowed heavily against his mansion and his museum, putting both in jeopardy. With his customary bravado, he pulled out all the stops to drum up publicity for the event but realistically conceded, " 'The public' is a very strange animal, and although a good knowledge of human nature will generally lead a caterer of amusement to hit the people right, they are fickle and ofttimes perverse. " 
As a result of months of Barnum's detailed preparations, close to 40,000 people greeted her at the docks upon her arrival and another 20,000 at her hotel, the press was in full attendance, and "Jenny Lind items" were available all over town. The tour began with the first concert at Castle Garden on September 11, 1850 and turned out to be the great success both Lind and Barnum had hoped for, recouping Barnum four times his investment. Washington Irving proclaimed "She is enough to counterbalance, of herself, all the evil that the world is threatened with by the great convention of women. Washington Irving (April 3 1783 – November 28 1859 was an American Author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th So God save Jenny Lind!"
Using some of the profits from the Lind tour, Barnum's next challenge was to change the prevailing attitudes about the theater and transform them from 'dens of evil' to palaces of edification and delight, thereby turning theater into respectable middle-class entertainment. He built the largest and most modern theater of the time and coyly named it the "Moral Lecture Room", to avoid the seedy connotation that 'theater' conveyed and to make a bold play to attract a family crowd and to get the approval of the moral crusaders of New York City. He started the nation's first theater matinées to encourage families and to lessen the fear of crime. He opened with a play called The Drunkard, a thinly disguised temperance lecture (he had become a teetotaler after returning from Europe with Tom Thumb). He followed that with a series of melodramas, farces, and historical plays, put on by a first-class troupe of highly regarded actors. He often watered down Shakespearean plays and other plays such as Uncle Tom's Cabin to make them suitable for family entertainment, to the chagrin of theater traditionalists. Uncle Tom's Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly is an anti- Slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Another of Barnum's innovations was the national competition. He organized flower shows, beauty contests, dog shows, poultry contests, but the most popular were the baby contests (fattest baby, handsomest twins, etc. ). In 1853, he started a pictorial weekly newspaper Illustrated News and a year later he completed his autobiography, which through many revisions, over time sold more than one million copies. Mark Twain loved it but the British Examiner thought it "trashy" and "offensive" and "inspired. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30 1835 – April 21 1910 better known by the Pen name Mark Twain, was an American Humorist, satirist . . nothing but sensations of disgust. . . and sincere pity for the wretched man who compiled it. "
In the early 1850's, Barnum began investing heavily in real estate in an effort to develop East Bridgeport, Connecticut. He made very substantial loans to the Jerome Clock Company, in an attempt to get it to move to the new industrial area he was underwriting. But by 1856, the company went bankrupt sucking Barnum's wealth with it. So began four years of contentious court litigation and public humiliation. Both his friends and enemies rallied around him. Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed that Barnum's downfall showed "the gods visible again" and other critics celebrated Barnum's moral comeuppance. Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25 1803 &ndash April 27 1882 was an American essayist philosopher poet and leader of the Transcendentalist movement in the early 19th century But his friends pulled hard too, and Tom Thumb, now touring on his own, offered his services again to the showman and they undertook another successful European tour. Barnum also started a successful lecture tour, mostly as a temperance speaker. By 1860, he emerged from debt and built a new mansion "Lindencroft" (his palace "Iranistan" had accidentally burnt down in 1857) and he resumed ownership of his museum.
Despite critics who predicted that he could not revive the old magic, Barnum went on to even greater success. He added America's first aquarium and expanded the wax figure department. His "Seven Grand Salons" demonstrated the Seven Wonders of the World. He created a rogues gallery of the world's great criminals. The collections expanded to four buildings and he published a "Guide Book to the Museum" which claimed 850,000 'curiosities'. 
Late in 1860, the famous Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, came out of retirement (they needed more money to send their numerous children to college). Conjoined twins are whose bodies are joined in utero A rare phenomenon the occurrence is estimated to range from 1 in 50000 births to 1 in 200000 births with a somewhat higher incidence The Twins had had a successful touring career on their own and then went to live on a North Carolina plantation with their large families and their slaves, under the name of "Bunker". They appeared at Barnum's Museum for six successful weeks. Also in 1860, Barnum introduced his "missing link", the "man-monkey" William Henry Johnson, a microcephalic black dwarf who spoke a mysterious jungle language created by Barnum. In 1862, he discovered the giantess Anna Swan and Commodore Nutt, a new Tom Thumb, who with Barnum visited President Abraham Lincoln at the White House. Anna Haining Bates, born Anna Haining Swan ( August 6, 1846 &ndash August 5, 1888) was a Canadian from Mill Brook New Abraham Lincoln (February 12 1809 &ndash April 15 1865 the sixteenth President of the United States, successfully led his country through its greatest internal During the Civil War, Barnum's museum drew large audiences seeking diversion from the conflict. Causes of the war See also Origins of the American Civil War, Timeline of events leading to the American Civil War The coexistence of a slave-owning South He added many pro-Unionist exhibits, lectures, and dramas, and he demonstrated a total commitment to the cause, inciting a Confederate arsonist to start a fire in 1864. On July 13, 1865, Barnum's American Museum burned to the ground from a fire of unknown origin. Events 1174 - William I of Scotland, a key rebel in the Revolt of 1173-1174, is captured at Alnwick by forces loyal to Year 1865 ( MDCCCLXV) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Barnum quickly reestablished the Museum at another location in New York City, but this too was destroyed by fire in March 1868. This time the loss was too great to restore and Barnum retired from the freak business.
Contrary to popular belief, Barnum did not enter the circus business until very late in his career (he was 61 years old). In Delavan, Wisconsin in 1871 with William Cameron Coup, he established "P. Delavan is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, United States. Wisconsin ( or wɪˈskɑnsɨn (French Ouisconsin) is one of the fifty United States of America, located in the north central part of the United States William Cameron Coup (1837 &ndash March 4, 1895) was a Wisconsin businessman who partnered with P T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome", a traveling amalgamation of circus, menagerie and museum of "freaks", which by 1872 was billing itself as "The Greatest Show on Earth". Generally considered in contemporary times as a highly inappropriate and dehumanizing term a freak show is an exhibition of rarities "freaks of nature" — such Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus was started when the Circus created by James Anthony Bailey and P It went through a number of variants on these names: "P. T. Barnum's Travelling World's Fair, Great Roman Hippodrome and Greatest Show On Earth", and after an 1881 merger with James Bailey and James L. A Hippodrome (Gr from hippos, horse and dromos, race course was a course provided by the Greeks for Horse racing and Chariot racing James Anthony Bailey ( July 4, 1847 &ndash April 11, 1906) was the creator of the modern Circus. Hutchinson, "P. T. Barnum's Greatest Show On Earth, And The Great London Circus, Sanger's Royal British Menagerie and The Grand International Allied Shows United", soon shortened to "Barnum & London Circus". Despite more devastating fires, train disasters, and other setbacks, Barnum confidently plowed ahead, aided by a small army of circus professionals who ran the daily operations. He and Bailey split up again in 1885, but came back together in 1888 with the "Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show On Earth", later "Barnum & Bailey Circus", which toured around the world. Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus was started when the Circus created by James Anthony Bailey and P The show's primary attraction was Jumbo, an African elephant he purchased in 1882 from the London Zoo and who died famously in a train wreck. Jumbo The Elephant ( 1861 - September 15, 1885) was a very large African bush elephant, born 1861 in French Sudan, imported to African elephants are the species of Elephants in the Genus Loxodonta, one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae. ZSL London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific Zoo. It was opened in London on April 27 1828, and was originally intended to be used
Barnum was probably the first circus owner in history to move his circus by train, and also the first to purchase his own train. Given the lack of paved highways in America, this turned out to be a shrewd business move that vastly enlarged Barnum's market. Many circus historians actually credit Bailey with this innovation. In this new field, Barnum leaned more on the advice of Bailey and other circus managers, most of whom were young enough to be his sons.
The Tufts University mascot is Jumbo the elephant, in honor of a major donation from Barnum in 1882.
Barnum built four mansions in Bridgeport, Connecticut during his life: Iranistan, Lindencroft, Waldemere and Marina. Iranistan was the most notable: a fanciful and opulent Moorish Revival splendor designed by Leopold Eidlitz with domes, spires and lacy fretwork, inspired by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England. Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish is one of the exotic revival Architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Leopold Eidlitz ( March 23 1823, Prague, Bohemia - 1908 New York New York) was a prominent New York architect best known for his The Royal Pavilion is a former royal residence located in Brighton, England. Brighton ( is a town on the south coast of England and with its neighbour Hove, forms the city of Brighton and Hove. This mansion was built 1848 but burned down in 1857. 
Barnum died in his sleep at his home on April 7, 1891 and was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut, a cemetery he designed himself. Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut, was laid out in 1849 in a beautiful park-like rural setting away from the center of the city Connecticut ( is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America.  A statue in his honor was placed in 1893 at Seaside Park, by the water in Bridgeport. Barnum had donated the land for this park in 1865. His circus was eventually sold to Ringling Brothers on July 8, 1907 for $400,000 (roughly equal to $8,500,000 in 2008). The Ringling Brothers Circus was a Circus founded in the United States in 1884   At the time of his death, most critics had forgiven him and he was praised for his good works. Barnum was hailed as a beloved icon of American spirit and ingenuity, and was perhaps the most famous American in the world. Just before his death, he gave permission to the Evening Sun to print his obituary, so that he might have a chance to read it. On April 7 he asked about the box office receipts for the day; a few hours later, he was dead.
Barnum wrote several books, including Life of P. T. Barnum (1854), The Humbugs of the World (1865), Struggles and Triumphs (1869), and The Art of Money-Getting (1880).
Mass publication of his autobiography was one of Barnum's more successful methods of self-promotion. The autobiography was so popular that some people made a point of acquiring and reading each edition. Some collectors were known to boast they had a copy of every edition in their library. Barnum eventually gave up his claim of copyright to allow other printers to publish and sell inexpensive editions. At the end of the 19th century the number of copies printed of the autobiography was second only to the number of copies of the New Testament printed in North America. The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar
Often referred to as the "Prince of Humbugs", Barnum saw nothing wrong in entertainers or vendors using hype (or "humbug", as he termed it) in their promotional material, just as long as the public was getting good value for its money. Hyperbole (haɪˈpɝːbəli hye-PER-buh-lee; "HYE-per-bowl" is a mispronunciation comes from Greek "υπερβολή" (meaning exaggeration and is a Humbug is an archaic term meaning " Hoax " or "jest" However, he was contemptuous of those who made money through fraudulent deceptions, especially the spiritualist mediums popular in his day, testifying against noted spirit photographer William H. Mumler in his trial for fraud. In the broadest sense a fraud is a Deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual Spiritualism is a Religion founded in part on the writings of the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772 Mediumship is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Louisiana Voodoo, and William H Mumler (?&ndash1884 was an American spirit Photographer who worked in New York and Boston. Prefiguring illusionists Harry Houdini and James Randi, Barnum publicly exposed "the tricks of the trade" used by mediums to deceive and cheat the bereaved. James Randi (born August 7 1928 (stage name The Amazing Randi) is a stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of Paranormal In The Humbugs of the World, he offered a $500 reward to any medium who could prove their claimed power to communicate with the dead without trickery.
Barnum was significantly involved in the politics surrounding race, slavery, and sectionalism in the period leading up the American Civil War. Year 1860 ( MDCCLX) was a Leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Leap year starting Causes of the war See also Origins of the American Civil War, Timeline of events leading to the American Civil War The coexistence of a slave-owning South As mentioned above, he had some of his first success as an impresario through his slave Joice Heth. Around 1850, he was involved in a hoax about a weed that would turn black people white.
Barnum was involved (both as performer and promoter) in blackface minstrelsy. Blackface in the narrow sense is a style of theatrical Makeup that originated in the United The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits variety acts dancing, and Music, According to Eric Lott, Barnum's minstrel shows were often more double-edged in their humor than most at this period. While still replete with racist stereotypes, Barnum's shows also satirized white racial attitudes, as in a stump speech in which a black phrenologist (like all performers in the show, actually a white man in blackface) made a dialect speech paralleling and parodying lectures given at the time to "prove" the superiority of the white race: "You see den, dat clebber man and dam rascal means de same in Dutch, when dey boph white; but when one white and de udder's black, dat's a grey hoss ob anoder color. Phrenology (from Greek: φρήν phrēn, "mind" and λόγος Logos, "knowledge" is a defunct field of study once " (Lott, 1993, 78)
Promotion of minstrel shows led indirectly to his sponsorship in 1853 of H. J. Conway's politically watered-down stage version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; the play, at Barnum's American Museum, gave the story a happy ending, with Tom and various other slaves freed. Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14 1811 – July 1 1896 was an American Author and Abolitionist, whose Novel Uncle Tom's Cabin Uncle Tom's Cabin; or Life Among the Lowly is an anti- Slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. The success of this Uncle Tom led, in turn, to his promotion of a production of a play based on Stowe's Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp. Dred A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp is the second Novel from American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. By 1860, Barnum had become a Republican. He had evolved from a man of common prejudices in the 1840's to a leader for emancipation by the Civil War.
While he claimed "politics were always distasteful to me," Barnum was elected to the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as the Republican representative for Fairfield and served two terms. Connecticut ( is a state located in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. Fairfield is a town located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. In the debate over slavery and African-American suffrage with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Barnum spoke eloquently before the legislature and said, in part, "A human soul is not to be trifled with. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished and continues to prohibit Slavery, and with limited exceptions such as those It may inhabit the body of a Chinaman, a Turk, an Arab or a Hotentot - it is still an immortal spirit!" He ran for the United States Congress in 1867 and lost. The United States Congress is the bicameral Legislature of the federal government of the United States of America, consisting of two houses In 1875, Barnum was elected mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut for a one year term and worked vigorously to improve the city water supply, bring gaslighting to the streets, and strictly enforce liquor and prostitution laws. Barnum was instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital, founded in 1878, and served as its first president. Bridgeport Hospital is a hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States. 
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911 is a 29-volume reference work that marked the beginning of the Encyclopædia Britannica The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone