U.S. #4898-4905
U.S. #4898-4905

Birth of a Circus Legend

Showman Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum was born on July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Connecticut. Talented at haggling and salesmanship from an early age, Barnum embarked on a variety of business ventures. He owned a general store and newspaper and ran a state lottery, among other things.

Barnum began his showman career in New York City in 1835. He established Barnum’s American Museum that hosted a series of changing acts and curiosities including jugglers, magicians, exotic women, detailed models, wild animals, and daily hot-air balloon rides.

It wasn’t until he was 60 years old that Barnum established his first traveling circus – “P. T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome.” It had several names over the years and eventually became known as the Greatest Show on Earth. Barnum himself joined the show, riding around the tent in a chariot and joining his customers in marveling at his spectacle.

Barnum’s legacy continues today with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was established in 1907 and remains one of America’s most popular shows.

Click here to add these stamps – and their history – to your collection.

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  1. These posts are great. Hopefully they will come to my inbox each morning with the link. Will the content of these expand to world wide events and personalities?

  2. I love “This Day in History.” Thanks, Don, for adding it to the Mystic website. I join others in hoping that it will become a daily email to all of your customers who are interested in receiving it. Sign me up, if that is the case. Keep up the good work.

  3. I am not inclined to celebrate an organization that enslaved, tortured and profited from God’s helpless creatures. I will celebrate the Circus’ demise but must wait for further human evolution to see that day.

  4. What a great site! It is always fun to learn and you give some excellent history to either be reminded of or to learn about. Thanks much!

  5. It’s amazing that a set of stamps can tell a remarkable story of how one man became a circus legend from just a salesman it simply shows how your dreams come true great article Mystic stamps

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