P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie in United States


P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie



Local name Barnums Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie
Typecircus

Owner 1851-1854: Seth B. Howes
1851-1854: Phineas Barnum
1851-1854: Sherwood E. Stratton
Founded1851
First elephant arrived1851
Last elephant left1854
Closed down1854
Country United States

Directors

Key People: George Nutter (agent)

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Description

P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie, United States , was founded in 1851 and the first elephant arrived in 1851. The last elephant left in 1854. P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie closed down in 1854.


Comments / picturesIn his autobiography, P. T. 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

For this show Barnum imported (9-11??) elephants from Ceylon. (After the show P. T. Barnum only kept one elephant, Old Josh, the other elephants were sold 1854 to Seth B. Howes. )


In 1849 he planned the formation of a great travelling show, combining the features of a museum, a menagerie and a circus. In this he associated with himself Mr. Seth B. Howes, who was already a noted and successful showman, and also Mr. Stratton, the father of Tom Thumb. In order to procure a supply of novelties for this show they chartered the ship "Regatta," and sent it from New York in May, 1850, to Ceylon. The object of this voyage, was to procure, either by purchase or by capture, a number of living elephants and other wild animals. To make sure of a sufficient supply of fodder for them, nearly a thousand tons of hay were purchased in New York and taken out aboard the ship. Five hundred tons of it were left at the Island of St. Helena, to be taken up on the return trip, and a great supply of staves and hoops were also left there for the construction of water casks.

This extraordinary mission was successful. In almost exactly a year from the day of sailing the ship returned to New York. Its novel cargo was unloaded, the ten elephants which had been secured were harnessed in pairs to a gigantic chariot, and the whole show paraded up Broadway past the Irving House. It was reviewed from the window of that hotel by Jenny Lind, who was stopping there on her second visit to New York. An elaborate outfit of horses, wagons, tents, etc., was added, the whole costing over $100,000, and then the show went on the road under the nominal leadership of Tom Thumb. It was called, "Barnums Great Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie;" it travelled about the country for four years, and yielded to its proprietors enormous profits.
The P.T. Barnum of the Barnum and Bailey Circus by Joel Benton


Records about P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie from Bob Cline

Stuart Thayer lists these elephants on the Barnum show in 1851: Pizzaro, Mogul, Fanny, Canada, Jenny, Mary, Mickey, Tom Thumb.
April 25, 2010
Bob Cline, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States. Autor of the book Americas elephants


1851-05-04: The elephants arrived on May 4, 1851 and the show opened the next day.
1851-1852: Titled Barnums Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie in 1851 and 1852.
1853-1854: Titled P. T. Barnums Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie.
1854: The Caravan spent its fourth, and last, season in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. It closed in Brooklyn on October 20, and an auction of animals and equipment was held in New York City on November 15, 1854.

8 (article below cite 7) elephants were sold on auction; Pizzaro, Mogul, Fanny, Canada, Jenny, Mary, Mickey, and Tom Thumb. There were knocked for 2 300$ to Seth B. Howes, who bought them for his new circus.

Barnum kept Old Josh in Bridgeport.

P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie in United States United+StatesNew York Clipper 25 November 1854.

References for records about P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Menagerie, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=1517. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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