7th April
It was on this day...
1891 Legendary Showman, PT Barnum, Is Dead

On his death bed, the extremely ill Phineas Taylor Barnum, 81, asked for a New York paper to run his obituary before he died so that he could enjoy reading it. The paper did as he wished.

Barnum was a legendary showman. In 1834 he promoted what he claimed to be a 161 year old woman, Joice Heth, who he said had been a nurse to George Washington. He later admitted it was all a hoax, but had made a small fortune in the meantime.

1842: Barnum bought John Scudder's American Museum in New York. Here he exhibited curiosities such as Siamese twins and a small man called General Tom Thumb (Charles Stratton). Over 26 years, 82million people entered the museum.

The museum closed in 1868 after two fires.

At the age of 60, Barnum invented the three ring circus as part of his Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Circus. The event was to be renamed "The Greatest Show On Earth" in 1872.

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