Early life[ edit ] Barnum was born in Bethel, Connecticutthe son of innkeeper, tailor, and store-keeper Philo Barnum — and his second wife Irene Taylor. His maternal grandfather Phineas Taylor was a Whiglegislator, landowner, justice of the peace, and lottery schemer who had a great influence on him. Barnum had several businesses over the years, including a general store, a book auctioning trade, real estate speculation, and a statewide lottery network. His editorials against the elders of local churches led to libel suits and a prosecution which resulted in imprisonment for two months, but he became a champion of the liberal movement upon his release.
See Article History Alternative Title: Phineas Taylor Barnum P. In partnership with James A. Baileyhe made the American circus a popular and gigantic spectacle, the so-called Greatest Show on Earth. Barnum was 15 years old when his father died, and the support of his mother and his five sisters and brothers fell largely upon his shoulders.
After holding a variety of jobs, he became publisher of a DanburyConnecticut, weekly newspaper, Herald of Freedom. Arrested three times for libel, he enjoyed his first taste of notoriety.
Inat age 19, Barnum married a year-old Bethel woman, Charity Hallett, who was to bear him four daughters. In he moved to New York Citywhere he found his vocation as a showman one year later when he successfully presented Joice Heth, a wizened black woman whom he advertised as the year-old nurse to General George Washington.
This human relic, on her death, was exposed as a hoax. The new owner rapidly transformed the museum into a carnival of live freaks, dramatic theatricals, beauty contests, and other sensational attractions. Although driven at the outset of his career by a desire for wealth and fame, Barnum may have been basically motivated by less selfish reasons.
By means of outrageous stunts, repetitive advertising, and exaggerated publicity, Barnum excited international attention and made his showcase of wonders a landmark. A discussion of P.
Among the genuine curiosities were Chang and EngSiamese twins connected by a ligament below their breastbones. It was, however, Charles Strattona man only 25 inches tall who was discovered by Barnum, that proved to be his most profitable exhibit.
After being received by President Abraham LincolnBarnum and Tom Thumb enjoyed a triumphal tour abroad, during which the latter gave a command performance before Queen Victoria.
Eager to change his image from promoter of freaks to impresario of artistic attractions, Barnum risked his entire fortune by importing Jenny Linda Swedish soprano whom he had never seen or heard and who was almost unknown in the United States.
Close friends regarded him as good-natured, thoughtful, and kind, as well as parsimonious and egotistical.
His avocations were politics and writing. After serving two terms in the Connecticut state legislature, he was elected mayor of Bridgeport, in which post he fought prostitution and union discrimination against blacks.
In he published his autobiography, The Life of P. Barnum, Written by Himself; and because he frankly revealed some of the deceits he had employed, he was harshly taken to task by the majority of critics.
Stung, Barnum continually modified the book in many revised versions, which, he claimed, sold a total of 1, copies. Byeager more for publicity than for profit, Barnum placed his autobiography in the public domain, allowing anyone to print and sell it without copyright infringement.
One daughter died in childhood; another was dropped from his will for committing adultery. Disappointed because he had no male heir, Barnum left a sizable bequest to a grandson on the condition that he agree to use Barnum as part of his name. After 44 years of marriage, Charity Barnum died in The following year, Barnum, who was then 64, took the year-old Nancy Fish, the daughter of a British admirer, for his second wife.
Although his name has been popularly linked with the circus, Barnum did not, in fact, become a circus showman until he was past age He established "P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome", a traveling circus, menagerie, and museum of "freaks" which adopted many names over the years.
Barnum died of a stroke at his home residence in and was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, which he designed himself. P.T. Barnum, in full Phineas Taylor Barnum, (born July 5, , Bethel, Connecticut, U.S.—died April 7, , Bridgeport, Connecticut), American showman who employed sensational forms of presentation and publicity to popularize such amusements as the public museum, the musical concert, and the .
By late , Barnum's Museum was drawing , visitors a year.  In he promoted the American tour of singer Jenny Lind, paying her an unprecedented $1, a night for nights.
Biography of Phineas Taylor Barnum. Showman () Born on July 5, , in Bethel, Connecticut, Barnum attended grammar school and then became editor of an anticlerical newspaper, The Herald of Freedom.
Phineas Taylor Barnum reinvented the circus. His knowledge of what people want and how to make people think they want what he had was amazing. He constantly fooled people and had a way of making the customers come back.
Robert Wilson’s vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy, and allure of the ebullient showman. From birth to death, Phineas Taylor Barnum repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States.