This figure is made with cloth that is stuffed with cotton. PT Barnum is wearing a red vest and grey ringmaster coat. He has striped pants. His facial feathers on printed on cloth. He generally wore a top hat when introducing acts in his circus or museum.
Location: Eastern United States
Main language: English
Currency: US dollar
Height in Centimeters: 18
Height in Inches: 7
Reading Level: 6.40
My name is Phineas Taylor Barnum. Everyone called me PT Barnum. I was born in 1810 in Connecticut. My father owned a country general store. Working there helped me become a good salesman. I was often able to convince people to buy things they didn’t even need!
When I was 30 years old, I moved to New York. I bought a small museum and called it the Barnum American Museum. At first, the museum had wax figures, stuffed animals, musical shows, and acrobats. The museum became even more successful after I added some odd and unusual attractions. For example, General Tom Thumb was a tiny young man only 2 feet tall. The museum also featured a bearded lady, a super tall man, and a man with fur like a dog. Another attraction was the Feegee Mermaid. It had the head of a monkey and the tail of a fish. Don’t tell anyone—but the mermaid wasn’t real! The show was so successful that Queen Victoria and the Czar of Russia asked us perform for them.
The Barnum American Museum was a leading attraction in New York City for 23 years. However, in 1865, disaster struck and the museum burned down. Without a building, I traveled with a small circus.
In 1881, when I was 70 years old, my circus merged with and became the Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth!” We had acrobats, lions, tigers, horses, etc. One of our main attractions was an elephant named Jumbo. Jumbo was the largest elephant ever captured. He was gentle, and soon became an international sensation. Unfortunately, Jumbo was killed in a railway accident in 1885. When Jumbo died, the entire world seemed to mourn.
By now, everyone called me the Greatest Showman of all time. Ten year later (1891), Bailey took over the circus when I died. Then, in 1905, the Ringley Brothers bought the circus. They continued our tradition of fun, laughter, and amazement for another 100 years – calling it the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.