P.T. BARNUM - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/28/1856 - HFSID 350455
Sale Price $2,762.50
This extraordinary letter was handwritten, signed and dated by Barnum. It's written on unique letterhead that incorporates a flyer from his Gallery of American Beauty and talks about his financial woes and about Charles Stratton - better known as General Tom Thumb, one of Barnum's biggest attractions.
Autograph letter signed "P.T. Barnum". 1 page, Barnum's American Museum, New York, February 28, 1856. To Messrs H.B. Curtis & Scribner. The letterhead that this was written on is unusual and increases this piece's interest. It was written on letterhead from Barnum's American Museum, New York. The right side, which is overall 4¾ x 7½ has a 3½ x 7½ blank area for writing and a left margin promoting Barnum's subsidiary enterprises. The integral leaf at left is a handbill promoting Barnum's "The Gallery of American Beauty,/One Hundred Premiums presented to the Handsomest Women In America!" In full: "As I am in debt to you for professional services I send you by Express my accountbooks which I assign to you. I trust in the course of time you will be able to collect something handsome & if you do not obtain sufficient to pay what I owe you, I still hope to be able to pay the balance. Yours in regard to the assignment to Mrs. Stratton is recd all right." This letter was written at the nadir of Barnum's financial losses from his investing in the development of East Bridgeport, CT in the early 1850s and his being swindled to invest the bulk of his fortune and his name in the Jerome Clock Company. Barnum wanted the company to move its offices from Litchfield to East Bridgeport as a boon to his development plan in return for him guaranteeing the company's loans. In the year of this letter Barnum was endeavoring to pay back all his debts. In 1857, Barnum moved to New York and began his career again as a showman and museum proprietor. Barnum's American Museum (1841-1865) was on the corner of Broadway and Ann Street in lower Manhattan. Little person CHARLES S. STRATTON was only four years old when he joined Barnum's organization in 1842. Barnum paid all traveling and boarding charges for himself and his mother ("Mrs. Stratton"). Stratton, billed as General Tom Thumb, was 17 when this letter was written. Lightly creased. Mid-vertical fold, lightly soiled touches some text with a 2 x ¼ tape remnant touching some text. A 2 x ¼-inch tape remnant is at left page, touches mid-vertical fold, printed text. Fold is also soiled. Overall, fine condition. Framed to an overall size of 25 x 21¾.
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