One interesting thing about Barnum is that he is sometimes referred to in modern times as a con man. Yet in his own time he was adored as someone who entertained the public as no one else ever had. And as he promoted his various attractions, the public always watched with great amusement.
- New York Tribune, January 31, 1843: An advertisement for Barnum's Museum, which was featuring performances by General Tom Thumb, "who weighs only 15 pounds."
- New York Tribune, May 8, 1844: A dispatch from London, where Barnum and General Tom Thumb had been entertaining the public as well as members of the British royal family.
- New York Tribune, September 2, 1850: A front-page story about one of Barnum's greatest publicity triumphs, the arrival of Jenny Lind in New York City.
- New York Tribune, November 27, 1850: An advertisement for Barnum's museum touting General Tom Thumb, "that wondrous miniature man."
- Washington National Republican, May 19, 1884: To prove to a skeptical public that the year-old Brooklyn Bridge was totally safe, Barnum had his menagerie of elephants walk across it to the delight of crowds.
- The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, April 14, 1891: The death of the beloved showman was reported far and wide, including in a Missouri newspaper with an astounding name.
Note: after using the links above, click the "persistent link" at the Library of Congress Chronicling America site to view the entire page of the newspaper.
Photograph: Phineas T. Barnum and his greatest attraction, General Tom Thumb/Getty Images
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