Join Executive Director Kathleen Maher and the Barnum Museum’s staff and friends for regular updates on all things Barnum.

A Mountain of Worries

I suspect there is no time like our present situation to elicit sympathy for another person’s difficult times and worries about their family members’ health.

Barnum on “Humbugging & Puffing”

P.T. Barnum’s honesty is one of the attributes we most often hear our visitors question: “Wasn’t he scamming people, making money from hoaxes?” Well, not exactly.

The Beginnings of Iranistan

P.T. Barnum’s European tour with his protégé Gen. Tom Thumb stretched across three years (1844-1846), a long time to be away from home in an age when travel was often arduous, and mail could take weeks or even months to reach the recipient.

Manufactured Puffs and Dissolving Views

Again this week I’ve been exploring details in P. T. Barnum’s letters that tell us about his “distance management” of the American Museum while he was on a three-year tour in Europe with Gen. Tom Thumb in the mid-1840s. 

“An Awful Great Fire in NY” (in 1845)

Last week we left Mr. Barnum with plans to take General Tom Thumb and his entourage to Spain, where he eagerly anticipated an audience with the Queen, as well as introductions to the Dukes and Duchesses who would be with Her Majesty in Pamplona. 

“A Touch of Yankee” Solves a Problem

At the end of last week’s blog post we left matters concerning General Tom Thumb’s stop in Bordeaux, France, very much up in the air. 

Negotiating tactics: “The General’s expenses are very great”

P. T. Barnum’s extraordinary, enduring legacy overshadows the early years of uphill work before his fame—and that of his protégé “General Tom Thumb”—was widespread. 

The General’s Clothes and Carriage Stir Up Excitement

Every “batch” of letters I read from P. T. Barnum’s 1845 – 1846 copy book offers a rich assortment of intriguing details, and with that, I am faced with the difficult task of choosing which to highlight in my brief scribblings.

Piling Up the Tin!

Last week I began delving into a treasure trove of letters by P. T. Barnum, all written while he was traveling in France in 1845 and 1846, and I discovered how French towns influenced Barnum’s vision for young American cities like Bridgeport

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