All Episodes

Displaying episodes 1 - 19 of 19 in total

An Introduction to Becoming Barnum: Interview with Barnum Museum Curator

We're starting the Becoming Barnum journey with an interview with Adrienne Saint-Pierre, the Curator of the Barnum Museum's impressive artifact collection and archive....

A Bit of France in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Barnum’s travels in France had influenced his vision for his beloved Bridgeport; this was clearly revealed by what he chose to tell the Atlas readers. Barnum adopted B...

“A Touch of Yankee” Solves a Problem

Mr. Barnum was infuriated by the demands of the Hospice Commissioners who expected a far larger percentage of the gross receipts than Barnum felt reasonable.

The Beginnings of Iranistan

Barnum’s homesickness coincided with and perhaps fueled his desire to begin building a country home for his family. Barnum writes about a future grand home in Bridgepo...

A Mountain of Worries

In this episode, we delve into a new “batch” of the letters P. T. Barnum wrote while in France and sent back to his family and business associates in America. These l...

A New Play for the General

P. T. Barnum’s famous protegee Charles Stratton, known to the world as Gen. Tom Thumb, was quite a young child when he was first introduced to European audiences in t...

They Stared with All the Eyes They Had

Have you ever tried to envision a visit to Barnum’s American Museum? I find it is a feat of the imagination to reconcile exterior pictures of the museum with the she...

Story Updates, and a Daughter’s Education

Back in Episode, A Mountain of Worries, we had wondered how Charity dealt with a rather harsh letter from her husband, written on September 12th, 1845. Would she repl...

Searching for Monsieur Guillaudeu

Curiosity got the better of our curator Adrienne after reading another of P. T. Barnum’s letters in which he mentioned the Frenchman who worked for him at the American...

My Success Has Been a Miracle

One of the many “beauties” of P. T. Barnum’s copybook letters from 1845-1846 is that they provide insights into Barnum’s attitudes toward money just at the point in hi...

Souvenir Medals, and a Snug Saloon to Draw and Read In

As we’ve learned from the July – October 1845 correspondence between Barnum and his business associates, the Tom Thumb tour through France, outside of Paris, had not l...

Read & Reflect, Then Do as You Please

Over the past few months of reading Barnum’s letters in his 1845-1846 copybook, I have been surprised to find relatively few to Charity, his wife. Though it is clear ...

A Tree Found, Tried & Shook

Since we are well into “apple season” here in New England (as well as in neighboring New York State, the country’s second biggest apple-producer), the title phrase of ...

“The Laborer is Worthy of his Hire”

In previous letters we’ve gotten to know some of the key staff members of P. T. Barnum’s team at the American Museum in New York, by piecing together details from the ...

Barnum & Catlin

In this episode we’ll explore the connection between P. T. Barnum and another famous showman, a lawyer-turned-artist, George Catlin. Catlin’s early 19th century portr...

Trumpets, “Venus,” and a Young Man, All Heading to America

In this Episode of Becoming Barnum, we’ll follow up on the status of new attractions Barnum planned for his American Museum in New York, and learn about another of hi...

My Mind is Occupied with Thoughts of Home

In this Episode of Becoming Barnum, it feels most fitting to highlight P. T. Barnum’s letters home to his wife, sister, and daughter. These letters were composed in t...

Tell Me Plainly What You Think

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses another uncomfortable truth about showing human beings as curiosities, as we learn directly from Barnum. This letter came up ...

A Jolly Lot of Brother Showman

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses some of his lengthy epistles to the Editors of the New York Atlas, for whom Barnum was acting as a foreign correspondent. Thi...

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