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Sunday, 4 March 2012

P. T. Barnum

Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810 – 1891) was a publisher when he became intrigued by Joice Heth, a blind and almost completely paralyzed slave woman, who claimed to be George Washington's nurse and was reputed to be 161 years old. He successfully promoted her in the late 1830s.

Phineas Taylor "P. T." Barnum 


In 1850 Barnum brought Jenny Lind, the Swedish singer, to America, paying her an unprecedented $1,000 a night for 150 nights.

In 1871 he established the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, which included the midget ‘Tom Thumb’, a circus, a menagerie, and an exhibition of ‘freaks’, conveyed in 100 railway carriages.

He also brought Jumbo the Elephant and the Siamese twins Chang and Eng to an American public eager for spectacle.


Barnus as been quoted in history as saying "There's a sucker born every minute." However a banker named David Hannum coined the phrase, and there is no record of Barnum saying this.

A liberal Republican, Barnum served in the Connecticut legislature (1865–9) and as mayor of Bridgeport (1875–6).

Barnum suffered a stroke in 1890 during a performance. He quietly passed away at 6:22 pm at Marina, his residence in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 7, 1891.

Barnum was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut, a cemetery he designed

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