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P.T. BARNUM The circus showman writes to Rufus Griswold at Illustrated News, asking him to write an article in praise of his new paper Autograph letter signed: "Truly Yours/P T Barnum", 3p, 4½x7¼. Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1852 December 13.Addressed by Barnum on verso of integral leaf to: "Dr.

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Condition: lightly creased, otherwise fine condition
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The circus showman writes to Rufus Griswold at Illustrated News, asking him to write an article in praise of his new paper
Autograph letter signed: "Truly Yours/P T Barnum", 3p, 4½x7¼. Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1852 December 13. Addressed by Barnum on verso of integral leaf to: "Dr. Rufus Griswold/Illustrated News". Begins: "Dr Sir". In full: "I hope you will be so good as to look over the advertisement of our new paper which [name illegible] has written to be published in the new paper, and improve on it with his consent if you can. It seemed to me to read a little heavy. Also please look in Gleadon's last number & see his flaming [illegible] for his next volume - in which he makes such great promises, after which I hope you will write a stunning editorial announcing what we intend to do, and putting it to the public in such a way that they will see that we shall spare neither pains nor expense, and that it will be for their interest to take our paper. Please say in a short article (in your own language) that although we are proud of the appearance of our first number - yet this will be the poorest number we shall ever publish, as this has been got up in haste and under great inconvenience, &c &c. Also would it not be well to [illegible] a paragraph stating that under the law piece affixed to our paper a close calculation shows the proprietors that they must be losers [illegible] in publishing a less number than 90,000. Act your own judgement (sic) in relation to these hints. I shall be down on tuesday (sic)." At lower margin, Barnum has written: "See next page". Lengthy handwritten postscript on next page, in full: "P.S. I am persuaded that your idea of Washington's house for a large picture to be presented to Subscribers is the best subject yet named, & think that fact ought to be embodied in our advertisement and alluded to editorially - setting off in fitting language or description of the picture costumes & c & c. Please consult [name illegible] & do something about this." At the time of this letter, showman PHINEAS TAYLOR BARNUM (1810-1891), who had enjoyed international successes promoting Tom Thumb and Jenny Lind, had entered into a new venture - publishing one of the many illustrated newspapers that were popular in the 1850s. He had previously been editor of the Danbury, Connecticut "Herald of Freedom", during which time he was sued for libel and jailed for 60 days. Barnum would later use newspaper advertising (as well as posters and flyers) to promote his various enterprises, including his circus and, as evidenced by this letter, his own illustrated newspaper. In 1835, P.T. Barnum 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 a circus that he billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth". 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, 16 years after Barnum's death, his circus was sold to Ringling Brothers. RUFUS WILMOT GRISWOLD (1815-1857) assisted Barnum in editing his new venture. A former editor for the "New World" and "New Yorker" weekly journals, he began his own periodical, "International Magazine", in 1852, the year of this letter. His magazine rivaled "Harper's Weekly" for a few months before being absorbed by "Harper's". Griswold was a controversial figure in the literary world. A friend - and later archenemy - of Edgar Allan Poe, whom he had met in 1841, Griswold wrote Poe's 1849 obituary in the "New York Tribune". The obituary, which slandered Poe's character (likely because Poe had criticized Griswold's work - and had won the affections of Mrs. Frances "Fanny" Sargent Osgood, whom Griswold idolized), resulted in a public outcry from Poe's supporters. Griswold further enraged Poe's fans - and deceived Poe's family - when he obtained the rights to Poe's works from Marie Poe Clemm, the dead poet's aunt and mother-in-law. Lightly creased with folds. Lightly stained, show through of ink. Nicked at upper right blank edge of first page at diagonal crease and horizontal folds. 1x1 inch paper loss at upper right blank corner of address postscript page and upper left blank corner of address leaf from removal of wax seal (remnant on verso of postscript page). 2 paper clip stains at upper margin of postscript page, which is lightly rippled at lower right blank margin from seal being affixed to verso. Address leaf nicked at lower horizontal fold. Otherwise, fine condition.

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