P.T. BARNUM - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 7/2 - HFSID 265836
Sale Price $1,360.00
A letter from Barnum to a friend, saying that his wife would love to have them as guests after he returns from a trip
Autograph letter signed: "P T Barnum", 1p, 5¼x8¼. Home [Bridgeport, Connecticut], no year, but circa 1866, July 2, Monday A.M.To "My dear Mrs Beach".In full, as written: "My family including wife daughters & their husbands are off for Charles & Kimble Islands at 8 this A.M. We shall return at 7 to night Mrs Barnum desires that your family will visit us tomorrow tuesday - or Thursday if you prefer it - or (on the 4th Wednesday) We would like to have Alfreds folks also if they will come. Please drop note in P.O. Unfortunately I go to N.Y. tuesday & return Wednesday A.M. Regards." Accompanied by engraved portrait of Barnum. B/w with brown hue, 4½x7½ overall, image 4¼x6 (one surface). Facsimile signature above printed caption. Lightly shaded. Upper right corner nicked away. Otherwise, fine condition. MRS. BEACH was the wife of inventor and publisher ALFRED ELY BEACH (1826-1896), who published the "Scientific American" magazine and invented the pneumatic tube for mail and passengers. Beach's invention was the basis for New York City's first subway, which he built in secret. His 312-foot subway was unveiled in 1870. Alfred's "folks" included his father, MOSES BEACH, who owned the "New York Sun", which Alfred and his brother later managed. The Charles & Kimble Islands that Barnum mentions are off the coast of Connecticut in Long Island sound. At the time of this letter, Barnum was married to his first wife, CHARITY HALLET BARNUM, whom he had married in Bethel, Connecticut (his birthplace) in 1829. The couple had four daughters:CAROLINE CORDELIA (1833-1911), who married Bridgeport businessman David W. Thompson in 1852; HELEN MARIA (1840-1920), who was married to Samuel Henry Hurd from 1857-1871 (she shocked her parents when she divorced Hurd and married Dr. William H. Buchtel in 1871); FRANCES IRENA (1842-1844), who died shortly before her second birthday as her father was touring in Europe with Tom Thumb; and, PAULINE TAYLOR (1846-1877), who married local stockbroker Nathan Seeley in 1866. After Charity's death, Barnum married his second wife, NANCY FISH, in 1874. The couple had no children, so, in order to perpetuate his name, Barnum convinced Pauline's oldest son, Clinton, to change his middle name to Barnum when he reached his 21st birthday. At the time of this letter, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891) was living in Bridgeport, Connecticut (he became Mayor of the city in 1875) and was the proprietor of the American Museum. In 1841, he had purchased Scudder's American Museum in New York, adding to it to make his museum one of the most popular shows in the U.S. with attractions such as Tom Thumb and Siamese twins Chang and Eng. Barnum had retired in 1855 but, because of creditors, resumed his career as showman and museum proprietor in 1857. He remained with his Museum until 1868, when it was destroyed by fire. In 1869, Barnum organized "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. Lightly creased and soiled. ¼-inch tear at upper right blank edge. Otherwise, fine condition.
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