With income from his career as a showman, businessman and politician, PT Barnum has amassed a net worth of $4 million (equivalent to $124.7 million in 2022)
Phineas Taylor Barnum (1871-2017) was an American showman, businessman, and politician best known for promoting famous pranks and co-founding the Barnum & Bailey circus with James Anthony Bailey. He was also a novelist, publisher and philanthropist, but he admitted that he was “a showman by trade…and all the gilding will make nothing else of me.” His personal goal, according to his critics, was to “bring money into his own coffers.” Although there is no evidence that he expressed himself in this way, he is credited with coining the saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Before moving to New York City in 1834, Barnum started a modest business and published a weekly newspaper in his early twenties. He began his career in show business by founding “Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater,” a vaudeville troupe, and later by purchasing Scudder’s American Museum, which he named after himself.
He used the museum to publicize pranks and human oddities such as the Fiji Mermaid and General Tom Thumb. In 1850, he sponsored the American tour of Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, paying her the astonishing sum of $1,000 per night for 150 nights. In the 1850s, he experienced financial setbacks from disastrous investments and years of litigation and public humiliation, but he was able to get out of debt thanks to a speaking tour as a temperance speaker. His museum expanded its wax figure section and added America’s first aquarium.
Barnum was a Republican and represented Fairfield, Connecticut, in the Connecticut Legislature during two sessions in 1865, testifying before the Assembly in favor of passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude: “A human soul “made by God and for which Christ died” is not to be taken lightly. It does not matter whether it inhabits the body of a Chinese, a Turk, an Arab, or a Hottentot; it is still an immortal spirit… In 1875, he was elected mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he worked to improve the city’s water supply, introduce gas lighting, and enforce alcohol and prostitution regulations. He was also the first president of Bridgeport Hospital, which he founded in 1878.
Nonetheless, the circus business, which he began at age 60, was the source of his long-lasting reputation. In 1870, he founded “P. T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome,” a traveling circus, menagerie and museum of “freaks” that went by various names.
Barnum was married to Charity Hallett from 1829 to 1873, and the couple had four children together. He married Nancy Fish, the daughter of a friend 40 years his junior, a few months after his wife’s death in 1874. Barnum died of a stroke at his home in 1891, ending his marriage. He was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, which he had laid out himself.
Today we’re going to discuss how much money PT Barnum has and how he builds his net worth.
At the end of this article, we will also tell you how to get rich like PT Barnum. So be sure to read to the end.
PT Barnum Net Worth 2022
Barnum was an American showman, politician, and businessman whose estimated net worth at the time of his death in 1891 was $4 million. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $124.7 million dollars in 2022.
P.T. Barnum was one of the most famous personalities who amused millions of people with his bizarre but amusing show acts.
He knew how to arouse curiosity and excite people, and had the talent to package and create entertainment, so he was aptly called the ‘Shakespeare of advertising’. This famous showman invented the modern three-ring circus, which became the ‘greatest circus in the world’ in the 19th century.
He was known for his characteristic pranks and jokes. Among his best tricks are ‘The Feejee Mermaid’, ‘Tom Thumb’s Baby’, ‘The Giant of Cardiff’ and ‘Free Grand Buffalo Hunt’. He was one of the richest men of his time. His entrepreneurial skills and ‘profitable philanthropic’ ventures earned him a great fortune.
He also authored many books during his lifetime, including ‘Struggles and Triumphs’, ‘Art of Money-Getting’ and his autobiography ‘The Life of P.T. Barnum’. Barnum, who was known for his performances and creativity, has been called “the great American showman” and his name lives on in the history of the American circus to this day.
To calculate the net worth of PT Barnum, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$4 million|
|Source of Wealth:||Showman, Businessman, Politician|
How Much Money Did PT Barnum Make From His Career As Showman, Businessman, Politician?
PT Barnum made millions of dollars from his career as a showman, businessman and politician. In 1829 he founded ‘The Herald of Freedom,’ a weekly newspaper based in Danbury, Connecticut, to report on religious tyranny and militant Calvinism.
Because of his publications critical of the church in ‘The Herald of Freedom’, many libel suits were filed against him. As a result, he was indicted and sentenced to two months in prison.
In 1835 he traveled to New York and began his career as a showman. He founded ‘Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater’, his first ‘vaudeville troupe’.
He acquired his first fortune in 1841 when he bought Scudder’s American Museum at Broadway and Ann Street in New York City and renamed it ‘Barnum’s American Museum’.
He created the ‘Feejee Mermaid’ in 1842, a monster with a monkey head and a fish tail. He also exhibited Charles Stratton, a dwarf known as ‘General Tom Thumb’.
He was the first showman to recruit traditional Native American dancers known as ‘Fu-Hum-Me’ in 1843. These dancers were always able to entertain and attract large audiences.
From 1844 to 1845, he toured Europe with ‘General Tom Thumb’. This trip served him as a means of public relations and attracted the attention of Queen Victoria and the Tsar of Russia.
As the Republican candidate for Fairfield, he was elected to the Connecticut legislature in 1865 and served two terms.
Together with William Cameron Coup, he founded ‘P. T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome’ in 1871, which at the time was the largest circus in the United States.
In 1875 he was elected mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, for a one-year term. During this time he sought to reform the city’s water supply and prostitution regulations.
In 1881, he promoted a show with the famous phrase “The Greatest Show on Earth.” This was the first circus to use three rings, making it the largest circus in the world and the first to be known as the “Three Ring Circus.”
PT Barnum Age and Birthday
PT Barnum was born on July 5, 1810, in Bethel, Connecticut, United States. He passed away on April 7, 1891 at the age of 80.
PT Barnum’s Awards & Achievements
In an American magazine, he was ranked 67th among the “100 most important people in American history.”
PT Barnum’s Childhood & Early Life
Phineas Taylor Barnum was born in Connecticut, United States, to Philo Barnum, a storekeeper, and Irene Taylor. During his childhood, he attended Bethel Community Church and participated in prayer meetings.
He served for a short time as a clerk at the Universalist Church in Danbury, Connecticut, giving speeches on Christian Universalism at Universalist meetings.
Before moving to New York, he worked as a clerk in his father’s country store and operated a fruit and candy store.
PT Barnum’s Personal Life, Family and Wife
At the age of 19, he married Charity Hallet and the couple had four children together.
In 1878, he founded Bridgeport Hospital and was elected its first president.
In 1883 he donated a sum of $50,000 for the construction of a hall and museum at the Department of Natural History at Tufts College in Massachusetts.
His autobiography, ‘The Life of P.T. Barnum,’ published in 1854, tells the touching story of his early life and struggles.
In 1890, he suffered a stroke during one of his performances.
He died in his sleep at the age of 80 and is buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
In 1893, a statue was erected in his honor in Seaside Park, Connecticut.
In 1907, the ‘Ringling Brothers’ purchased the ‘Barnum and Bailey Circus’ for $400,000 and merged it with their company in 1919 to form the ‘Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’.
This famous American showman gave a newspaper permission to print his obituary shortly before his death so that he would have a chance to read it or add to it if necessary.
Favorite PT Barnum Quotes
Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!
Literature is one of the most interesting and significant expressions of humanity.
Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.
Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung.
Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself.
View our larger collection of the best PT Barnum quotes.
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How To Become Rich Like PT Barnum?
PT Barnum did not become rich by luck. To become as rich as PT Barnum, you have to work smart.
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