Phineas Taylor Barnum (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891), American showman who is best remembered for his entertaining hoaxes and for founding the circus that eventually became Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Barnum is the title of an award winning Broadway musical based on P. T. Barnum's life an exploits. Barnum built four mansions in Bridgeport, Connecticut during his life: Iranistan, Lindencroft, Waldemere and Marina. Iranistan was the most notable: a fanciful and opulent splendor with domes, spires and lacy fretwork, inspired by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England. This mansion was built 1848 but burned down in 1857.
1849: In his autobiography, Barnum said:
In 1849 I had projected a great traveling museum and menagerie, and, as I had neither time nor inclination to manage such a concern, I induced Mr. Seth B. Howes, justly celebrated as a ‘showman,’ to join me, and take the sole charge. Mr. Sherwood E. Stratton, father of General Tom Thumb, was also admitted to partnership, the interest being in thirds.P. T. Barnum
1851: For this show Barnum imported nine elephants from Ceylon.
1851-1854: Barnums Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie/P. T. Barnums Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie.
1855: Barnum retired from the show business in 1855, (keeping only one elephant, Old Josh), but had to settle with his creditors in 1857, and began his old career again as showman and museum proprietor.
1862: he discovered the giantess Anna Swan.
1865-07-13: Barnum's American Museum burned to the ground. Barnum quickly reestablished the Museum at another location in New York City, but this too was destroyed by fire in March 1868.
1871: In Brooklyn, New York in 1871 with William Cameron Coup, Barnum established P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome, a traveling amalgamation of circus, menagerie and museum of "freaks", which by 1872 was billing itself as "The Greatest Show on Earth". It went through a number of variants on these names: "P.T. Barnum's Travelling World's Fair, Great Roman Hippodrome and Greatest Show On Earth".
1873: The Great Performing Elephants: Ring No. 1: Gipsey, Introduced by Col. C. White, Ring No. 2: Betsey, Introduced by Frank Dooley.
1875: Barnum owned 4 elephants. (Hoage, Deiss, From Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century, page 103)
Barnum was elected mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut for a one year term and worked vigorously to improve the city water supply, bring gaslighting to the streets, and strictly enforce liquor and prostitution laws. Barnum was instrumental in starting Bridgeport Hospital, founded in 1878, and served as its first president.
1876: The previous show P. T. Barnum's Great Roman Hippodrome was staged as P.T. Barnums Greatest Show on Earth.
1877: P. T. Barnum renewed hos 1876 show P.T. Barnums Greatest Show on Earth as P.T. Barnums new & Greatest Show on Earth
1879: Barnum owned 11 elephants. (Hoage, Deiss, From Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century, page 103)
1877-1880: P.T. Barnums new & Greatest Show on Earth.
1880: Carl Hagenbeck imported elephants for P.T. Barnum
1881: 1881: Merger with P. T. Barnum, James Bailey and James L. Hutchinson, "P.T. Barnums Greatest Show On Earth, And The Great London Circus, Sangers Royal British Menagerie and The Grand International Allied Shows United", soon shortened to "Barnum & London Circus".
1885: He and Bailey split up again.
1887: Joint venture with Forepaugh, more than 50 elephants in Madison Square Garden.
1888: merged with James Bailey as Barnum & Bailey Circus.
1891: P. T. Barnum died on April 7, 1891 and is buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut. A statue in his honor was erected in 1893 at Seaside Park, by the water in Bridgeport. Barnum had donated the land for this park in 1865.
1891: James Bailey purchased Barnum & Bailey Circus from Barnums widow.