ON THIS day in 1835, Phineas Taylor Barnum began his first tour of the USA. Barnum was an American showman, politician, and businessman remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes and for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
He was also an author, publisher, and philanthropist, though he said of himself: “I am a showman by profession… and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me”. According to his critics, his personal aim was “to put money in his own coffers.”
Barnum was born in Connecticut in 1810 and began business when he was 18 years old.
He removed to New York at the age of 24, and in 1841 purchased the American Museum, which laid the foundation of the first of the several fortunes he made during his long career of showman. He achieved a world-wide reputation in 1884, when be commenced the exhibition of Tom Thumb.
His last adventure as showman was with “The Greatest Show on Earth,” exhibited for 100 days in London in the autumn of 1889.