The Old Showman’s Last Triumph

Near the close of a gaudy career, P. T. Earnum took the “greatest show on earth” to London. His scrapbook reveals the master of hokum at the top of his form

No one ever accused Phineas Taylor Barnum of being modest. For more than fifty years this self-acknowledged “prince of humbugs” so thoroughly fooled, fleeced, and entertained the American public that the name Barnum itself became as famous as the artists and oddities he put on display. Jenny Lind, General Tom Thumb, the Bearded Lady, the Siamese Twins, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, Jumbo the Elephant, human and animal rarities of every description—from them he had fashioned an endlessly diverting drama, with himself never far from the center of the stage.

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