Barnums Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie (Seth B. Howes) in United States

Barnums Asiatic Caravan, Museum and Menagerie (Seth B. Howes)
Typecircus
Founded1851
First elephant1851
Stopped elephants1854
Closed down1854
CountryUnited States

In 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 nine elephants from Ceylon. (After the show P. T. Barnum only kept one elephant, Old Josh.)

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 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


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.

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