P.T. BARNUM - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 04/07/1876 - HFSID 41695
Sale Price $1,020.00
Barnum handwrote, signed and dated this letter to his cousin the Reverend George Emerson from Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1876. In it, he talks about Emerson's upcoming trip to Europe.
ALS: "P.T. Barnum", 2 pages, 5x8, front and verso. Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1876 April 7. On ruled sheet with Barnum's address and the date stamped at upper left margin to Reverend George Emerson, Salem, Massachusetts. Begins: "My dear Cousin". In full: "I was right glad to get your letter & also the Universalist containing No. 1. I hope you will have time to write many letters for the paper. They will prove very interesting indeed to your readers. Give as much of your personal experience & feelings and ideas as possible. This European trip will add mightily to your practical knowledge, & the more of it you get into print, the better it will be for you. It will also be a big help to your lectures if you ever wish to repeat them. Wife & I moved back to Waldemere yesterday. It is delightful but wont compare with what you are enjoying. Oakley wrote me from Paris you were going it. Keep a/c [account] of expenses and also names of interpreters & stopping places which may be useful to your friends who may follow you. Above all I hope you may have health & strength to carry you safely through. My wife and I think there is no man living who will so thoroughly take in and enjoy all you see as yourself - and it will stick so that you will be a wonderful gainer by the trip". Handwritten postscript: "all well". Both Barnum and Reverend Emerson, who were cousins, were Universalists. Waldemere was the third of four mansions that Barnum would build in or near Bridgeport. In the year of this letter, Barnum was finishing his one term as Mayor of Bridgeport (1875-1876), and he published "Lion Jack": A Story. In 1835, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891) began his career as a showman with his purchase and exploitation of a Black woman, Joyce Heth, reputed to have been the nurse of George Washington and to be over 160 years old. He purchased Scudder's American Museum in New York in 1841, adding to it to make his museum one of the most popular shows in the U.S. Barnum retired in 1855 but, because of creditors, resumed his career as showman and museum proprietor in 1857. In 1869, Barnum organized the first traveling circus, which became billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth". It opened in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1871, five years before Barnum wrote this letter. In 1881, he became partners with James A. Bailey of Cooper, Bailey and Company's Circus, forming "Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth". In 1907, his circus was sold to Ringling Brothers. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Heavily penned, light show through of ink (entirely legible). 1½-inch separation at left margin of upper horizontal fold, 3½-inch separation at right margin at lower horizontal fold. Tape remnant at left margin of verso touches three words of text. Staple holes at upper blank margin. Lightly soiled. Irregular left edge. Pencil notes (unknown hand) at lower margin of verso. Overall, fair condition.
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