Talk:P. T. Barnum

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Another thing that needs attention occurs throughout the article: the use of quotation marks around a word or phrase to indicate that it is a novel phrase or that it is perhaps an inappropriate description (for instance, writing "'dens of evil'" instead of "so-called dens of evil"). The great number of these instances alters the general tone of the article, alters the tone and meaning of the individual sentences containing the quotationed word or phrase, and the repetition makes the use of quotation marks for that purpose not as effective. These words and phrases in quotes should either be a true quotation ("what so-and-so described as 'dens of evil'"), or the word or phrase should be changed to something more neutral, or the quotes should just be removed (in cases when they are simply used inappropriately). Hipvicar (talk) 21:59, 4 September 2010 (UTC)hipvicar

In the section "Life" under "Funhouse showman" there are incomplete and unclear sentences. Sentence beginning with "To the static exhibits" in 1st paragraph is unclear. In paragraph 2, there needs to be general grammatical/syntactic and copy editing. There may be more areas after this one that need the same sort of attention. (Apologies if this is somehow incorrect, I'm doing the best I know how.) (talk) 20:19, 4 September 2010 (UTC)hipvicar


wow! it took *this* long to get a PT Barnum article into wikipedia. Kingturtle 04:44 Apr 8, 2003 (UTC)

For the record, there's been a PT Barnum article at Phineas Taylor Barnum since December of last year.
-- Paul A 05:24 Apr 8, 2003 (UTC)

Is there anybody here that could help me really quick?-Brittany S.

copied from Talk:Phineas Taylor Barnum:

If no one objects, I'd like to delete the redirect P. T. Barnum and move the article there. He is widely known by that name; the full name is a mere footnote. Everyking 13:46, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. —Morven 23:19, Oct 4, 2004 (UTC)

Apparently there were originally two articles, Phineas Taylor Barnum and P. T. Barnum, which were merged into the former. This decision was a little misguided, as this man is universally known by his initials, so by the Wikipedia:Naming conventions, I've moved it here to the common name.--Pharos 04:54, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

for the record your dumb —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


As I understand it, Barnum's "American Museum" in New York was not a museum in the modern sense: it was a combination of a theater space, sensationalistic side-show type exhibits, and a bit of a freak show. Does anyone have anything more solid on this? And on its dates of operation? -- Jmabel | Talk 06:44, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Political posts?[edit]

As I understand it, Barnum was mayor of Bridgeport in the 1870s, and a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives. Shouldn't these be mentioned in the article? Kestenbaum 06:19, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

If you have citation for that, absolutely. - Jmabel | Talk 06:42, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Oofty Goofty[edit]

While he doubtless deserves an article Oofty Goofty doesn't particularly merit mention here. No connection to Barnum that I'm aware of. Not every freak was Barnum's. - Jmabel | Talk 04:26, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

No response in a week, so I'm removing it. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:20, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Father's profession[edit]

This edit changes his father from "an inn- and store-keeper" to "a farmer" without citation. This page from the Unitarian Universalist Association says he owned a store; I am reverting. If someone has a better citation, please provide it. - Jmabel | Talk 01:54, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

What is the meaning of success?[edit]

In the last paragraph of the article we read: ... Barnum was elected to the Connecticut legislature in 1865 as the Republican representative for Fairfield and served two successful terms. Could someone elaborate on the meaning of "successful" in this context, which is not really obvious. Hi There 07:29, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

It was vague and subjective; I removed it. Staib 21:26, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Barnum as a fictional character[edit]

There is a graphic novel called Barnum!: In Secret Service to the USA [1] [2]. I have started a couple of entries along similar lines: Nikola Tesla in popular culture and Mark Twain in popular culture and have proposed others: Harry Houdini, Thomas Edison, Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft. So I was thinking it might be worth considering an entry along similar lines: P. T. Barnum in popular culture. I'll be having a nose around for more examples but feel free to throw others in. (Emperor 19:35, 30 November 2006 (UTC))

Feel free. It can be a little trickier to draw the line, though, on someone who was a popular cultural figure in the first place. - Jmabel | Talk 20:55, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Colorado, Sucker[edit]

The article lists a reference

  • Uchill, Ida Libert. Howdy, Sucker! What P.T. Barnum Did in Colorado. Denver: Pioneer Peddler Press. ISBN 0-9604468-8-1.

The ISBN is invalid; the Google search '"Howdy, Sucker" Barnum ISBN -wikipedia' comes up blank. indicates that the bok exists (and dates from 2001) but gives no ISBN. I'll add the date; could whoever added this (and presumably has the book) please correct the ISBN? - Jmabel | Talk 03:03, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

User:Anasazii who added this has no other edits & doesn't accept email. I've left a note, but this doesn't seem likely to do much good. - Jmabel | Talk 03:08, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I think the book was published with an invalid ISBN: the library of congress lists the same ISBN but refers to it as "cancelled" (see ISBN). Perhaps we should follow some similar convention? Staib 20:47, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good. - Jmabel | Talk 02:03, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Examples of hoaxs and more citations needed[edit]

As he was so famous for his hoaxes, I think that more mention or a list of them is needed to make the article better. I would also like to see citations for sentences such as his autobiography being 2nd only to the New Testament, as this certainly seems like some self promoting hoax that he would have perpetrated, and could have travelled down history in mythical fashion. A photo of one of the hoaxes, or of his menagerie would give some flavour to the article, as he was such a colourful character.

AmyNelson 14:53, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Barnum animal abuse[edit]

There is nothing about his approval of using elephants and tigers to 'train'. Today Barnum's Circus is known for it's lack of animal care and torture of 'training' elephants (and tigers). These animals are gentle and care for their young. Even though they 'raise' their show elephants, they are torn from their mothers and chained. They suffer being poked with bull hooks into their tender skin making them scream. The means does not justify the ends. These are God's creatures and we will all give an account to God on how we've treated them. You can not take money with you when you die. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 2 March 2008 (UTC) ^^^^^that guy likes it in the butt —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


liked to eat small children. He met jess green and misael espinoza a very well known mobster killed both men while in a strip club —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe he died twice![edit]

I noticed that at the top it states death "April 12, 1891" and at the bottom it states "April 7, 1891." Which is it? (talk) 19:51, 9 August 2010 (UTC)Susan

Now I'm curious. Abby Kelleyite (talk) 19:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC) says April 7. Not sure where the April 12 date is coming from yet. Abby Kelleyite (talk) 20:02, 9 August 2010 (UTC) NYT obit (subscription only, but dated April 8) agrees with 7th. Abby Kelleyite (talk) 20:08, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Barnum building at Tufts[edit]

Barnum's building at Tufts has the Latin inscription "Barnum Fecit" and the date; he'd wanted it to say "Barnum Museum of Natural History". Reference is Is this worth adding to the article? Jaysbro (talk) 19:04, 27 May 2015 (UTC)