P. T. Barnum

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Phineas Taylor Barnum
Phineas Taylor Barnum portrait.jpg
Phineas Taylor Barnum
photo by Mathew Brady, c.1860
BornPhineas Taylor Barnum
(1810-07-05)July 5, 1810
Bethel, Connecticut
DiedApril 7, 1891(1891-04-07) (aged 80)
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Cause of deathStroke
Resting placeMountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport
Political partyDemocratic (1824-54)
Republican (1854-91)
Signature
PT Barnum Signature.svg

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