P. T. Barnum

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Phineas Taylor Barnum

Phineas Taylor Barnum
photo by Mathew Brady, c.1860
Born Phineas Taylor Barnum
July 5, 1810(1810-07-05)
Bethel, Connecticut
Died April 7, 1891(1891-04-07) (aged 80)
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport
Political party Democratic (1824-54)
Republican (1854-91)
Religion Universalist

Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891) was an American showman, businessman, and entertainer. In New York City, he founded two American Museums where he offered legitimate acts such as General Tom Thumb and hoaxes such as the Fiji mermaid. His greatest triumph was perhaps the introduction of Jenny Lind to the American public. After fire destroyed his second museum, Barnum founded a circus. It was here that he displayed Jumbo the elephant. He suggested the circus setting for Horatio Alger, Jr.'s boys book The Young Acrobat.[1] Barnum is also widely known for making the comment, "There's a sucker born every minute."

His successes may have made him the first "show business" millionaire. Although Barnum was also an author, publisher, and for a while a politician, he said of himself, "I am a showman by profession."[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Hoyt, Edwin. 1974. Horatio's Boys. Chilton Book Co. p. 145.
  2. Kunhardt, Kunhardt & Kunhardt 1995, p. vi