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Jumbo and his keeper Matthew Scott
(Circus poster, c. 1882)
SpeciesAfrican bush elephant
BornChristmas 1860
East Africa
DiedSeptember 15, 1885(1885-09-15) (aged 24)
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Resting placeVarious
OccupationZoo and circus attraction
Years active1862–1885 in captivity
Weight6.15 tonnes (13,558 lb)[1]
Height3.23 m (10 ft 7 in)[1] 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m) as promoted by Barnum
Cause of deathRailway accident

Jumbo (about Christmas 1860 – September 15, 1885) was the first international animal superstar.[2] He was the first African bush elephant to reach modern Europe alive. He was born in eastern Africa, and captured there by Arabian hunters in early 1862. He was sold first to a traveling zoo in Germany, then to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. He was traded to the London Zoological Gardens for a rhinoceros.

Jumbo lived in the London Zoo about 16 years. He was the biggest elephant in captivity. American circus showman P. T. Barnum simply had to have this huge elephant in his circus. He bought Jumbo in 1882. The elephant made his debut in the United States on Easter Sunday 1882 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He toured with Barnum's circus for three years. In September 1885, he was killed in a railroad accident in Canada.

Jumbo attracted as much attention after his death as he did in life. His hide was stuffed and his bones preserved. His hide and skeleton were displayed first with Barnum's circus and then with museums. His hide was destroyed in a fire at Tufts University in 1975. His skeleton was displayed for many years in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. As time passed, children forgot about him. His skeleton was put away.

Jumbo's sale in 1882 created public anger in Britain. It drew the attention of people around the world. "Jumbomania", a fad for all things Jumbo, was born. The civilized world was flooded with Jumbo neckties, jewelry, and other souvenirs. People around the world were sad when he died. Jumbo's greatest legacy is his name. In the English language, it is now a word that means "very large".

Early life[change | change source]

It is impossible to know exactly where or when Jumbo was born. In February 1862, a British explorer met Jumbo in the desert camp of Arabian elephant hunters. This camp was on the border of eastern Sudan and Abyssinia (now, Eritrea). The hunters had been hired to capture wild animals for export to European zoos.[3]

The explorer estimated that Jumbo was 4 feet (120 cm) tall and weighed about 500 pounds (230 kg). Based on his height and weight, Jumbo was about one year old. He was probably born at Christmas 1860.[4]

Jumbo had a long, hot journey ahead of him. He walked several hundred miles with other wild animals to the Red Sea. At the port of Suakin, the little elephant was put aboard a steamship. In time, he arrived in Trieste, Italy. From Italy, he was taken by train to Dresden, Germany. He was then sold to a traveling zoo.[5]

Jardin des Plantes[change | change source]

Rotunda in the Jardin des Plantes

In late 1862, Jumbo was sold to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.[6] Jumbo was probably brought to his new home in either late 1862 or early 1863. The French were disappointed with him; they thought he would be larger. Jumbo lived in the Rotunda for Large Herbivores with two Asian elephants, several camels and giraffes, and a hippopotamus.[7]

In October 1863, two more baby African elephants and several camels were brought to the Rotunda.[8] The little elephants were called Castor and Pollux. They played together and slept together. Children loved the new elephants. The two animals came to be called "the pets of young Paris". Jumbo did not want attention from people; he stayed in his stable. Five elephants now lived in the Rotunda of the Jardin.[9]

In April 1865, the government found that the living conditions in the Jardin were very bad. Officials thought some of the elephants should be sent to zoos in other countries.[10] The officials of the London Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park wanted an African elephant. They traded an Indian rhinoceros and a few other animals for Jumbo. He was brought to the London Zoo in June 1865.[11] Jumbo was lucky. Castor and Pollux were killed during a war with Prussia in 1871. They were eaten by the French.[12]

London Zoological Gardens[change | change source]

Jumbo and his keeper Matthew "Scotty" Scott

Jumbo was very ill when he arrived at the London Zoo. He had not been fed properly. His hide was covered with filth that had to be scraped and scrubbed off. The nails on his feet were overgrown, and the soles of his feet were covered with sores.[13]

Abraham Bartlett, the Superintendent of the London Zoological Gardens, put the little elephant into the care of animal keeper Matthew "Scotty" Scott. Scotty had a talent for understanding and managing animals. Jumbo grew stronger and healthier under Scotty's care.[14]

The little elephant was named Jumbo. There is no record of the origin of this name. He may have been named after Mumbo Jumbo, a west African tribal holy man. This is not certain though.[2] Bartlett may have named the elephant Jumbo because he liked the sound of the word. He had once named a gorilla Mumbo.[13][14] There is a very slim possibility that Jumbo may have been named in Paris.[15]

Drawings of moments in Jumbo's life from the Illustrated London News, February 25, 1882

Jumbo became a great attraction in the London Zoo. Queen Victoria and members of the Royal Family adored him.[14] Children rode in the saddle (howdah) on his back for a penny. The young Winston Churchill (and probably Queen Victoria's children Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice) rode in Jumbo's howdah.[16]

By the time Jumbo was seven years old, he had a huge appetite. Every day he ate 200 pounds (91 kg) of hay, a barrel of potatoes, two bushels of oats, fifteen loaves of bread, and lots of onions. He also drank several pails of water. If Scotty thought Jumbo needed some medicine, the elephant was given a gallon or two of whiskey.[17][18]

In 1880, Jumbo hit his iron cage doors with his tusks and broke both off near the jawbone.[19] He was in pain. He stopped eating. He leaned against the walls for support. Bartlett and Scotty were forced to perform some crude surgery with a harpoon-like tool they had made.[20] Bartlett was disappointed with the damage to Jumbo's tusks. He had been hoping that Jumbo would grow to be a "tusker" — an elephant with huge tusks. After the surgery, Jumbo kept his tusks worn away by rubbing them against the walls of the Elephant House. They never grew more than a few inches long.[20]

In 1882, Jumbo was 12 feet (3.7 m) tall at the shoulder. He weighed more than 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg). His trunk was 7 feet (2.1 m) long. It could reach high into the trees.[14] In the magazine Harper's Weekly, Jumbo was said to be "as gentle with children as the best-trained poodle dog." The magazine said he gently took biscuits and lumps of sugar from zoo visitors.[21]

Jumbo is sold[change | change source]

"Jumbo's pitiful refusal to leave London Zoo tugged at the nation's heartstrings" (Magazine illustration, 1882)

When Jumbo was brought to the zoo in 1865, Bartlett had wanted to raise the elephant himself. He needed a keeper who would obey him. He chose Scotty because he was rather inexperienced. Bartlett would be disappointed. Scotty had his own opinion on how to raise Jumbo. The close relationship that grew between the keeper and the elephant was something Bartlett hated.

In 1882, Jumbo was the biggest elephant living in captivity.[22] Bartlett thought it best to find a new home for Jumbo for two reasons. First, he thought Jumbo was about to enter musth. This is a difficult time in a male elephant's life. Certain glands in the elephant's head become inflamed causing the animal to behave violently.[23] The other reason Bartlett wanted to move Jumbo was the elephant's close relationship with Scotty. Bartlett thought Jumbo might go on a dangerous rampage if Scotty should die.[23]

Jumbo had tantrums. He would try to damage the Elephant House at night. He may have been frightened and angry because Scotty went home every night. He was only calm during the day when Scotty was nearby or when he carried children around the zoo in his howdah. Jumbo's behavior only made Bartlett more sure that he must find another home for the elephant. Years after Jumbo's death, zoologists studied casts of the elephant's teeth. They discovered that his molars were erupting abnormally and probably causing him pain. This was likely the reason for Jumbo's tantrums.[24]

Bartlett and members of the London Zoological Society were happy when P. T. Barnum, a circus showman from the United States offered to buy Jumbo for $10,000. Barnum had once owned two museums in New York City. They had burned to the ground. He was now part-owner of the Barnum, Bailey, & Hutchinson Circus. Barnum knew the huge elephant would make him a fortune if he appeared with the circus.

Barnum's partner Hutchinson did not want to buy Jumbo. "What difference does it make if an elephant is seven feet high or eleven or twelve feet high? An elephant is an elephant!" he said. But Barnum wanted Jumbo more than he wanted any other elephant in the world because Jumbo was the biggest elephant in the world.[25] Bartlett and the London Zoological Society took only two days to decide that Jumbo would be sold to Barnum.[26]

Scotty persuades Jumbo to walk through the box outside the London Zoo's Elephant House

When the British learned that their beloved Jumbo was going to be sold, they were outraged. Bartlett received many angry letters. Children begged Bartlett to keep Jumbo in London. Art critic John Ruskin wrote that the English were not "in the habit of selling their pets." An effort was made to stop the sale by going to court, but Barnum won. The British courts said he was the legal owner of Jumbo.[26]

A large wheeled box was built to hold Jumbo during his journey to America. It was made of heavy pine boards bolted to a strong oak base, and made even stronger with iron straps. It measured 14 feet (4.3 m) long, 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, and 12 feet (3.7 m) high. It was large enough for Jumbo to stand in it, but it was not large enough for him to lie down or turn around. Although the ends of the box were open, they were made strong with iron bars. Jumbo could look out the open end and swing his trunk.[27]

Plans were made to move Jumbo on February 18. Jumbo would not get into the box. A second attempt was made on February 19 with the same result.[28] Jumbo laid down in the street. Crowds of people cheered for Jumbo. He stayed in the street for a week.[26] Bill Newman, Barnum's agent in London, sent the showman a telegram. "Jumbo won't get up", it read. Barnum sent a telegram back reading, "Let him stay there as long as he wants. It's great publicity."

Bartlett thought Scotty was controlling Jumbo with a secret signal to keep him from getting into the box. He told Scotty he would be fired if Jumbo did not get into the box. The next day, Scotty got Jumbo to enter the box. Barnum hired Scotty to take care of Jumbo even though he had many elephant keepers in the United States.

Jumbomania[change | change source]

Jumbo feeds a laxative called Castoria to a baby elephant in an advertisement

People around the world were interested in the sale of Jumbo. Souvenirs such as Jumbo neckties, fans, and hats were sold in England and America. Jumbo's picture was printed on thousands of advertisements. Some of these advertisements showed Jumbo in strange places like the opera house and a saloon in the Wild West.[29]

Potholders, cigars, and a large sewing machine were all named after Jumbo. Soap, thread, and baking powder were sold using Jumbo's name. One advertisement from this time shows Jumbo in leather boots running across a desert. Another picture shows Jumbo feeding a baby elephant a laxative called Castoria.[30]

Thousands of letters were sent to London Zoo officials. The writers of these letters wanted Jumbo to live at peace in England. A "Jumbo Retention Fund" was set up to keep Jumbo in the London Zoo. One lady sent her new sewing machine to the fund. A bride sent Jumbo a piece of her wedding cake. Thousands of children wrote to Barnum begging him to leave Jumbo in his London home. Barnum refused.[29]

Jumbo leaves England[change | change source]

"Jumbo's Journey to the New World"

Jumbo lived sixteen years and nine months in the London Zoo. He was now about to start a new life in another land. His trip to America started on the cold morning of March 22, 1882. Jumbo was put into a harness early in the morning. He was led to the box. He did not want to get into it, but he did. It took two hours to chain the fighting elephant inside the box.[31]

Six horses pulled the box from the yard at the Elephant House. It sank into the soft soil of a path. It took three hours to pull the box from the path. It sank into soft soil two more times on its way to the zoo gates. Four more horses were harnessed to the box. It passed through the main gate about 1:30 a.m. The five-mile trip to the London docks started.[31]

The most level way to the Thames was chosen because the horses could not pull the box up any hills. Crowds were watching. Scotty rode on the front of the box. He comforted Jumbo and stroked his trunk. Jumbo was quiet through most of the journey. The box started down a steep hill near the old Clerkenwell House of Detention at the top of Farrington Road. Jumbo shook his head in alarm. The box was forced to move very slowly.[32]

Jumbo is put on the Assyrian Monarch

At St Katharine's Dock, east of the Tower of London, the box was lifted with a winch at 7 a.m. on March 23. It was put on the barge, Clarence. Workers made the box secure. Jumbo was given a big breakfast. An old lady who had walked behind the box all the way from Regent's Park brought Jumbo some beer. She said good-bye through her tears.[33]

Three hours later, the tide was favorable. The barge was towed into the river by tugboats bearing the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. Thousands of people had gathered in every empty space to say good-bye to Jumbo. The barge floated downstream to the Isle of Dogs.[33]

Jumbo took alarm again when the barge passed Dundee Docks. He rammed the bars of his crate. The bars were loosened. The engines were cut. Scotty comforted the frightened elephant. The trip was resumed. At the Millwall Docks, the box was lifted by crane about 3:45 p.m. to the quayside. It was here that Jumbo would spend the night.

The box was weighed as it was lifted. It weighed twelve and a half tons. It was known that the wood and iron of the box weighed six and a half tons. Jumbo therefore weighed six tons. Scotty and Bartlett had always thought Jumbo weighed six tons. But this was the first time Jumbo had actually been weighed mechanically. On Friday March 24, it took only eight minutes to lower Jumbo and his box to the Assyrian Monarch.[34]

There were 600 passengers on the Assyrian Monarch. They were mostly Russian Jews going to the United States. There were 90 crew members. Food was brought on the ship for Jumbo's 13–14 day voyage. There were 65 bales of hay, 300 pounds (140 kg) of ship's biscuits, 50 loaves of white bread, three sacks of oats, three sacks of bran, and two sacks of onions.

A lunch party was held on the ship for London Zoo officials, the Sheriff of London, businessmen, Barnum's agents, and others interested in the adventure.[35] Barnum's agent Bill Newman was given the Zoological Society's Gold Medal for calmly and skillfully handling Jumbo. Scotty — the man who had given Jumbo devoted care and love for 18 years — was ignored.[36] The ship left the next morning. Lady Angela Burdett-Coutts was Jumbo's great friend. She came from London to Gravesend with friends to feed the elephant his last English buns.[37] When the visitors left, the ship put out to sea.

Scotty took off most of Jumbo's chains to make him comfortable. His head, body, and trunk were free. His feet were chained. The elephant leaned against the side of the box. He fell asleep for the first time in several days.[38] Jumbo's box got plenty of fresh air. Passengers fed him bread and fruit. Barnum had news stories about Jumbo put in rubber bags then dropped into the sea. Weeks later, the first bag washed ashore in southern Ireland. A telegram was sent to London after passing the last point of British soil called the Lizard. It read, "Jumbo well; very quiet; unchained."[39]

Jumbo arrives in America[change | change source]

Assyrian Monarch (The Pictorial World, 1882)

The Assyrian Monarch arrived in the New York harbor about midnight on Easter Sunday April 9, 1882 after almost two weeks on the sea. A telegram was sent to the London Times telling the British that Jumbo had arrived safely in America and was in good health. Jumbo's crate was lifted from the hold of the Assyrian Monarch to a small steamer called Only Son. Jumbo was ferried across the Hudson River to the New York docks.[40]

Barnum and his partners Bailey and Hutchinson went aboard the Only Son with several journalists to see Jumbo. The elephant had traveled well. He drank a bottle of whiskey. Barnum did not drink alcoholic beverages and protested.[41] He looked at Scotty and said, "I do believe that elephant's growth has been stunted by the use of beer."[42]

Jumbo's arrival in New York City

Some journalists were disappointed with Jumbo's height. They said he was just as big as the other elephants in Barnum's circus. Barnum told them there was a big difference between an elephant's actual height and his "museum" height. The journalists were satisfied with this explanation (whatever it meant). Barnum was thrilled with Jumbo. Everyone was talking about the animal, and this meant ticket sales.[43]

Superintendent Hatfield of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children came aboard the Only Son. He had heard reports of Jumbo's bad temper, and boarded the ship to be certain Jumbo was not a threat to the children of New York City. Barnum told him Jumbo was "perfectly lamb-like". Hatfield took a long look at Jumbo, then left the ship with the sense that Jumbo was indeed a gentle animal.[44]

A crowd of hundreds had gathered on shore to welcome Jumbo. By late afternoon, the crowd had grown to 10,000 impatient, noisy onlookers. Jumbo became frightened. His crate swayed as it was lifted and lowered to a waiting barge. Three cheers were raised. By 7:00 pm, Jumbo was ashore. His crate had been put on a strong wagon.[45]

Jumbo greets New Yorkers in an imaginary picture

The crowd wanted Jumbo to walk up Broadway to Madison Square Garden where the circus was playing. Bailey would not allow it, fearing the animal might attack the crowd. Eight horses and 500 men could not move the wagon. Another eight horses were brought in as well as Gypsy and Chief, two Asian elephants from the circus. The eight additional horses were not needed. They were led behind the wagon as it started to move. The elephants were used as needed to push the wagon out of ruts.[46][47]

When the procession arrived at Madison Square Garden, Jumbo's crate was too tall for the building's entrance. He was left on the sidewalk for the night, his crate covered with tarpaulins. In the morning, blacksmiths removed the iron bars of the crate. Jumbo was free, but he would not leave the crate. Scotty stood aside to let Jumbo take his time. The elephant finally stepped out, and went into the building. Floorboards shattered under his weight. When he reached the race track, he knelt and rolled over. Scotty assured everyone Jumbo was not dead but only resting after his long trip. He finally rose and was taken to his stall, after another rest period. Once in his stall, a heavy chain fastened to a stake was wrapped around his leg. He yanked the stake from the ground and tossed it aside. Meanwhile, the largest crowd in circus history was waiting for the afternoon performance to start.[48]

Jumbo in America[change | change source]

Advertising card shows Jumbo reaching for candy

Barnum bought Jumbo for $10,000. Jumbo's entire costs actually amounted to $30,000. Barnum later wrote that Jumbo earned his costs in his first two weeks with the circus at Madison Square Garden. Jumbo did no tricks, but 20,000 customers per day saw him in the circus zoo and the parade at the start of the show. The London Zoo had sent Jumbo's howdah to America. The great elephant gave rides to circus customers.[49]

On a trip to England in late May 1882, Barnum met a crowd of children on the street who were still angry that the elephant had been taken away. Barnum made plans the same month to raise an iron building on the Thames Embankment for his circus shows. People in the neighborhood did not like the idea. They said they would go to court to stop the plan. Barnum dropped the idea.[50]

Jumbo and Scotty in June 1882

Barnum had another publicity plan. The Brooklyn Bridge was finished in 1883. This was a long-awaited and exciting event. Barnum offered the bridge company $5,000 to allow Jumbo to cross the bridge before the official opening. The company directors believed Barnum was using the bridge for circus publicity. They said "no" to his offer.[51]

Jumbo travelled in luxury when he went on tour every year. He had his own railway boxcar. Barnum called it "Jumbo's Palace Car". It was a red and gold boxcar with huge double doors at the center for Jumbo to be able to go in and out easily. Scotty slept in a bunk in a little room near Jumbo's head. Jumbo would never let Scotty close the door to the little room. He loved his friend and wanted to be near him always.[52]

Advertising card shows Jumbo carrying children

Scotty and Jumbo always shared a bottle of beer before going to bed for the night. It was a little ritual Jumbo loved. One night Scotty drank the bottle of beer and fell asleep. Jumbo picked him up very carefully and set him down near the empty bottle. Scotty woke up and found the bottle. He "got the message". He never forgot to share a bottle of beer with Jumbo again.[52][53]

In his four seasons as the top star of Barnum's circus, Jumbo did not hurt anyone. Now and then though, he tested his strength by destroying parts of his winter Elephant House.[51] Jumbo earned $1.5 million in his first year with the circus. It is likely 16 million adults and 4 million children saw him at the circus.[54]

In his last years with the circus, Jumbo's health grew poor. He could not eat his food because his teeth were worn out. There was no treatment. Jumbo would sooner or later die of this trouble with his teeth. Barnum made plans to have Jumbo preserved after his death by a taxidermist. He arranged everything while Jumbo was still alive — just in case the elephant died suddenly.[55]

Jumbo's death[change | change source]

Advertising card, 1885

Jumbo was 24 when he was killed on September 15, 1885, in the rail yards at St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. It was about 9:30 pm. The circus had just finished a performance. The elephants were being led along the main track in the rail yards to their boxcars. To their left was a steep bank; to their right was the circus train. An unscheduled freight train roared down upon them from the east. The engineer tried to stop the train, but failed.[56][57]

Animal keepers got most of the elephants to safety down the bank. Jumbo and a dwarf elephant called Tom Thumb were the last act on the programme and the last to leave the Big Top. Tom Thumb was behind Jumbo. the little elephant was hit by the train and thrown into a ditch. His left leg was broken, but he lived. Jumbo ran down the track away from the oncoming train with Scotty beside him. The locomotive struck Jumbo from behind. He roared in pain as the train carried him 300 feet (91 m) down the track. He was wedged partly above and partly below a flatcar.[56][57][58]

Jumbo's skull was fractured in several places. He had serious injuries inside his body. Blood poured from his mouth and trunk. Jumbo reached for and held Scotty's hand in his trunk. He died within minutes of the accident. The locomotive and the tender were thrown off the track. They were destroyed in the collision.[56][57]

Jumbo saving Tom Thumb (Illustration for Barnum's tall tale, 1885)

Neither Barnum or Bailey was on the scene of the accident. Hutchinson directed the clean up. One hundred men were needed to remove Jumbo's body from the tracks[verification needed]. Policemen were sent to the scene to drive away souvenir hunters. Scotty became hysterical when he discovered half of Jumbo's ear had been cut off by a collector.[59]

Taxidermists from Rochester, New York, eventually arrived to take charge of the body. Jumbo's death was a serious loss for the circus. So much so that Barnum took the first steps in bankruptcy proceedings a few days after the tragedy.

Just before Jumbo's trip to America in 1882, Barnum had insured the elephant for $500,000. The policy expired once Jumbo stepped on American soil. The elephant was not insured at the time of his death. He had been brought into the United States as "breeding stock". No insurance company would cover livestock for accidents. Jumbo left no children — in spite of the fact that he had an elephant "wife" in the London Zoo named Alice. He had completely ignored her during the 18 years he had called London home. Alice was given black and a widow's cap to wear after the death of her "husband".[60][61]

Barnum sues the railway[change | change source]

"Jumbo; The Elephant King!" (Sheet music, 1883)

Barnum sued the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway for $100,000. The case was heard in April 1887. The company claimed it was not liable for Jumbo's death. They said the circus workers were responsible for the death of the elephant. The circus workers had cut down part of a fence so they could lead the elephants across the track. If they had used the regular crossing further down the track, the company stated, railway workers would have warned them of the approaching train. The accident could have been avoided.[60]

The railway also claimed Jumbo was worthless. The London Zoo had sold him, the railway stated, because he was a dangerous animal. They also pointed out that they were not liable for losses above $15,000 — as stated in their contract with the circus. The circus argued the contract was illegal, and presented statements from Scotty and other professional animal people who had worked with Jumbo. These statements said Jumbo was not dangerous.[60]

Barnum finally withdrew the lawsuit. He needed the good will of the Grand Trunk Railway if he wanted to move his circus around Canada. He settled out of court for $5,000. He was also granted the right to use the Grand Trunk rails for free in the coming year. This was worth $5,000 in itself. Barnum left court with $10,000.[60]

Conspiracy theories[change | change source]

Jumbo and Scotty, date unknown

Two weeks after Jumbo's death, a news reporter named C. F. Richtel of the Hartford, Connecticut, Sunday Globe suggested Barnum had killed the elephant "for advertising purposes". Richtel was an old enemy of Barnum's, and accused the showman of masterminding Jumbo's death because the elephant had tuberculosis.[59] Barnum sued the newspaper for $50,000. He settled out of court.[62] The editor of the Globe learned the truth about Jumbo's death when he interviewed Scotty and others who had been present at the elephant's end. The editor fired Richtel and published a meek apology to Barnum.[59]

A theory put forth in 1960 alleged that Jumbo's flatulence had created a nasty problem for Barnum and the circus, so the showman decided to get rid of the elephant. Under cover of darkness and amid the clamor of the rail yard, Barnum was said to have had an animal keeper fire a single shot from a powerful pistol into Jumbo's eye. The elephant staggered some distance, trampled the dwarf elephant, collapsed, and died beneath a railway car. No projectiles were found during examinations of Jumbo after his death or later examinations of his skull. The theory has been proven false.[63]

Aftermath[change | change source]

Jumbo's skeleton on a poster

Barnum tried to get as much publicity as possible from Jumbo's death. He called a publisher three days after the accident. He wanted a children's book printed at Christmas about the event. He also told news reporters a lie about Jumbo saving both the dwarf elephant and Scotty, then turning to face the train alone and head-on.

Jumbo's remains were sent far and wide across America. His tusks were broken into many pieces in the accident. These pieces were sold as souvenirs. Cornell University bought Jumbo's heart. The great elephant's bones toured America for a few years with the circus. They weighed 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg).[64] Then they were sent to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. His skeleton was put on display now and then. As time passed though, children forgot him. The skeleton was put away. It was never displayed after 1977.[65]

Jumbo at Tufts University about 1900

Jumbo's hide was stuffed in Rochester, New York. Barnum told the taxidermists that he wanted Jumbo to look like a mountain. They pulled the hide as much as possible without tearing it. After all the hard work, Jumbo stood a foot taller in death than he had in life. The stuffed hide toured with the circus for a few years. It was then sent to the Barnum Museum of Natural History at Tufts University. It weighed 1,538 pounds (698 kg). At Tufts, Jumbo became the school mascot. His picture was put on school-related items like hats and flags.[54]

On April 14, 1975, Jumbo's hide and many other museum pieces which could never be replaced were destroyed in a fire at Tufts. Some of what was believed to be Jumbo's ashes was put in a Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter jar. The jar was kept in the university's athletic department. School athletes rubbed it for good luck before games.[54]

On the 100th anniversary of Jumbo's death in 1985, a monument by Winston Bronnum was built to the great elephant in St. Thomas. It stands on a bluff above the city. Not far away is a bright red caboose. It is a souvenir stand. There is also a museum at the site that displays a model of a small circus.[66]

Legacy[change | change source]

Scenes from Jumbo's life

Jumbo's legacy was the joy he gave millions of people just by being himself. His name however may be his greatest legacy. Before the big elephant, the word 'Jumbo' was not known in the English language. The word has entered the language to mean anything that is huge. People will always remember Jumbo because of this word.

Jumbo's enormous size caused scientists to think he was a separate species of elephant. He was the largest elephant ever known[verification needed]. He was named the type specimen for this new species. At a later time, it was learned that Jumbo was not a separate species, but a variant of a known species. He became then a subspecies.[64]

After Jumbo's death, it was important that he be dissected by scientists. It was important that his skeleton be carefully kept for future scientists to study. The dissection was started in St. Thomas, and completed in Rochester, New York. Jumbo's stomach was cut open. Coins, keys, rivets, screws, and a policeman's whistle fell out[verification needed].

Just before the stuffed Jumbo and his skeleton were put on display, Barnum asked newspaper people and high-society ladies to come to a fancy hotel for a party. He made speeches, then served his guests a gelatin dish made from Jumbo's ground tusks.[64]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Larramendi, A. (2016). "Shoulder height, body mass and shape of proboscideans" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61. doi:10.4202/app.00136.2014. S2CID 2092950.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Chambers 2008, p. 12.
  3. Chambers 2008, pp. 10–12.
  4. Carpenter 2008, p. 13.
  5. Bondeson 1999, p. 110.
  6. Chambers 2008, p. 34.
  7. Chambers 2008, pp. 44–45.
  8. Chambers 2008, pp. 45–46.
  9. Chambers 2008, p. 46.
  10. Chambers 2008, pp. 47–48.
  11. Chambers 2008, pp. 49–51.
  12. MacDonald 2009, p. 35.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harding 2000, p. 18.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Culhane 1990, p. 128.
  15. Chambers 2008, pp. 12–13.
  16. Chambers 2008, p. 90.
  17. Russell, John (1947), "Jumbo", University of Rochester Library Bulletin, vol. III, no. 1
  18. "Jumbo the Elephant". The Barnum Museum. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  19. Bondeson 1999, p. 101.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Chambers 2008, pp. 92–94.
  21. Quoted in Culhane 1990, p. 128.
  22. Saxon 1989, p. 292.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Haley 1973, p. 2.
  24. Bondeson 1999, p. 102.
  25. Barnum 1889, p. 397.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Culhane 1990, p. 129.
  27. Harding 2000, p. 41.
  28. Harding 2000, p. 42.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Saxon 1989, p. 293.
  30. Bondeson 1999, p. 117.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Chambers 2008, pp. 150–154.
  32. Chambers 2008, p. 155.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Harding 2000, p. 59.
  34. Chambers 2008, pp. 155–157.
  35. Chambers 2008, p. 157.
  36. Chambers 2008, p. 158.
  37. Saxon 1989, p. 294.
  38. Chambers 2008, p. 159.
  39. Harding 2000, p. 61.
  40. Harding 2000, p. 62.
  41. Chambers 2008, pp. 166–167.
  42. Harding 2000, p. 64.
  43. Harding 2000, p. 63.
  44. Harding 2000, p. 65.
  45. Chambers 2008, p. 169.
  46. Chambers 2008, pp. 169–170.
  47. Saxon 1989, p. 295.
  48. Harding 2000, p. 68.
  49. Saxon 1989, pp. 296–297.
  50. Saxon 1989, p. 296.
  51. 51.0 51.1 Saxon 1989, p. 297.
  52. 52.0 52.1 Culhane 1990, p. 130.
  53. Harding 2000, p. 6.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Wilson 2002.
  55. Ogden 1990, p. 218.
  56. 56.0 56.1 56.2 Saxon 1989, pp. 297–298.
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 NYT obituary 1885.
  58. Bondeson 1999, p. 121.
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Bondeson 1999, p. 122.
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 Kotar 2011, p. 248.
  61. Harding, p. 11.
  62. Chambers 2008, p. 200.
  63. Bondeson 1999, p. 123.
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Preston 1986, p. 134.
  65. Preston 1986, p. 129.
  66. Ogden 1993, p. 219.

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