The term “exotic pet” refers to wild animals kept in captivity in a domestic setting for the purpose of personal interest or entertainment. With globalization the trade has increased dramatically, although its real scope is difficult to ascertain because for most species there is no registration requirement. Its scale may be a contemporary concern, but the practice itself has a long history. The public has always been obsessed with non-native animals. [Read more…] about Exotic Animals, The Van Amburgh Circus & The Lion King of Fishkill
Becoming Barnum: The Anatomical Venus & Tom Thumb in Scotland
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, newly discovered letters from P.T. Barnum reveal details about his activities during the Gen. Tom Thumb tour in Scotland offering insight into Barnum’s anxieties, including his quest for a new play for Gen. Tom Thumb. They also shed light on Barnum’s commissioning of the “Anatomical Venus,” A life-sized, dissectible wax woman, for his American Museum in New York. [Read more…] about Becoming Barnum: The Anatomical Venus & Tom Thumb in Scotland
Becoming Barnum: Taxidermy & The Physioscope
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, P.T. Barnum was worried about his employees at the American Museum in New York City. He wanted museum taxidermist Emile Guillaudeu to create a pose for a pony’s skin that suggested motion with dignity and speed, but it is uncertain if he was successful. [Read more…] about Becoming Barnum: Taxidermy & The Physioscope
Becoming Barnum: General Tom Thumb’s Performance
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, P.T. Barnum tries to navigate a problem at the theater and make sure everything is running smoothly. He’s also eager to get a play about General Tom Thumb ready for an audience. Despite the play not being ready yet, Barnum is in London waiting for it and writes letters to his friends for help. Eventually, he gets the play and makes a big announcement in the newspaper about the General’s upcoming performance. [Read more…] about Becoming Barnum: General Tom Thumb’s Performance
Becoming Barnum: Going It Like a Rush
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, we dive into P.T. Barnum‘s 1846 letters to his uncle Alanson Taylor. He shares his business advice for their partnership in the Baltimore Museum, emphasizing the importance of good systems, press relations, and gradual improvements.
He also expresses disdain for previous museum managers and their lack of physical improvements. [Read more…] about Becoming Barnum: Going It Like a Rush
Becoming PT Barnum: New Year’s Day, 1846
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, explore the letters P.T. Barnum wrote on New Year’s Day in 1846 as he navigated his business dealings on both sides of the Atlantic and grappled with the difficult decision of whether to return home during his wife’s confinement. From business schemes to the challenges of managing a family across the ocean, this episode offers a unique insight into the mind of the legendary showman. [Read more…] about Becoming PT Barnum: New Year’s Day, 1846
PT Barnum’s Personal Life
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, we learn about P.T. Barnum’s thoughts on personal wealth, honor, and “gulling” the public, as well as his religious beliefs and values.
We explore letters written in December 1845 in which Barnum discusses his wife’s pregnancy, his acquisition of paintings of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and his efforts to persuade others of his Universalist beliefs. Don’t miss this fascinating look into the personal and financial life of P.T. Barnum in the 19th century. [Read more…] about PT Barnum’s Personal Life
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Schenectady
On the evening of January 11, 1917, the Schenectady Daily Union announced the passing of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who died the day before in Denver, Colorado, at age 71.
The Union Star described Cody as a “remarkable man,” a “hero of thousands of exploits,” and published a photograph of Cody with an extensive survey of his life and career as a guide, trapper, Pony Express rider, stagecoach driver, Civil War veteran, Medal of Honor recipient for gallantry, buffalo hunter (thus the nickname “Buffalo Bill”) and master showman. [Read more…] about Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Schenectady
PT Barnum’s Promotion of General Tom Thumb in London
In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, P.T. Barnum works to promote the performances of his famous protégé, General Tom Thumb, in London. He uses handbills, street parades, and even advertising vans to attract a crowd. This episode includes an interesting tale of how Barnum brought General Tom Thumb to the stage in London and offers a unique glimpse into 19th century entertainment. [Read more…] about PT Barnum’s Promotion of General Tom Thumb in London
PT Barnum & Showing Human Beings As Curiosities
This episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast discusses an uncomfortable truth about showing human beings as curiosities. A letter from P.T. Barnum in November 1845 concerns the exhibition of people with genetic abnormalities. To be sure, this topic is complex. [Read more…] about PT Barnum & Showing Human Beings As Curiosities