Cooper and Bailey Circus in United States

Cooper and Bailey Circus
Typecircus
Founded1860
First elephant0
Closed down1881
CountryUnited States

James Anthony Bailey had teamed with James E. Cooper to create the Cooper and Bailey Circus in the 1860s. Baileys circus was soon Barnums chief competitor.

1876-1878: On tour in Australia. The show taken on board numbered sixty-five people, fifteen horses, six elephants, one giraffe, one hippopotamus and nine cages of animals.

1879: Cooper and Bailey owned 10 elephants, incuding a pregnant elephant female. (Hoage, Deiss, From Menagerie to Zoological Park in the Nineteenth Century, page 103)

Bailey was the first to display an electric light in 1879, a year before Thomas Edison patented it. He also exhibited "Little Columbia," the first baby elephant ever born in an American circus.

Barnum wanted to buy the elephant, but Bailey turned him down. Instead of continuing as competitors, each man recognized the showmanship of the other, and decided to combine their shows in 1881. The combined show enjoyed great success with acts such as the worlds largest elephant, Jumbo in 1882.

Barnum died on April 7, 1891 and Bailey purchased the circus from Barnums widow.

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