On his death bed,
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.
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.
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.
museum closed in 1868 after two fires.
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.