There was no one else like Phineas T. Barnum, and had he not existed, no one else could have invented him. He made millions by putting on shows of every description, and while his name has become something of a synonym for a con man, he was widely respected and even beloved in his own time.
In this gallery of vintage images are some highlights from the great showman's amazing, astounding, astonishing, illustrious, and spectacular career. Which is probably how he would have described it.
Gratitude is extended to the New York Public Library Digital Collections for permission to use many of the images in this gallery.