On this week’s episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, the connection between P. T. Barnum and a lawyer-turned-artist, author, and showman George Catlin is explored. While in Europe, Barnum reached out, looking for new and profitable opportunities, especially since the entourage had made so little money performing in French towns, Paris being the exception.
This proposal, in particular, which Barnum described to Catlin on November 8, 1845, comes across like a middle-of-the-night brainstorm that should never have made it to pen and paper. The idea was abhorrent, and further investigation reveals that this wasn’t a novel and untested idea for Barnum in 1845. Far worse, it points to a disturbing piece of history, exposing a profound injustice that should not be swept out of sight.
You can listen to the podcast here.
About This Podcast Series
Becoming Barnum: The Journey to Fame and Fortune is a podcast series presented by the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Barnum Museum’s collections include a 750-page copybook of letters written by Phineas Taylor Barnum, then in his thirties, when he was traveling in Europe in the 1840s, introducing his young protege General Tom Thumb to high society and royalty – as well as millions of ordinary people.
Barnum’s letters reveal him struggling at times to make the three-year tour a success, while also directing the management of his American Museum from afar decades before his name was attracting crowds to the Greatest Show on Earth. The letters also reveal how Barnum went about acquiring, hiring, and commissioning attractions, and promoting his museum and the General Tom Thumb tour in Europe.
Support for this project was provided to the Barnum Museum from the City of Bridgeport American Rescue Plan Act funds, People’s United, a division of M&T Bank, and the Connecticut Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Listen to more Becoming Barnum podcasts online here.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.