July 5 ~  With All Your Might Humbug: Art of P. T. Barnum

"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." ~ P.T. Barnum

P.T. Barnum

One of the world's most famous entrepreneur Phineas T. Barnum (1810-1891) was born on this day in Bethel, Connecticut and had little formal education. His father died when young Phineas was 14 and the boy relied of his sharp wits to support himself.

"Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he coined, the first spin master of hype.

Creator of The Greatest Show on Earth, in 1836 he introduced the world's oldest woman, Joice Heth. His American Museum in New York City featured 500,000 oddities and albinos, jugglers, and other curiosities and stunts. Barnum's Charles S. Stratton, a.k.a. Tom Thumb, toured the world and met Queen Victoria.

"The public loves to be fooled," he believed, transforming Dr. Samuel Johnson's quote on advertising, "promise, large promise" into promotional genius. (Barnum's 10 Basic Principles to Success)

Barnum caught the public's imagination with posters, parades, and flamboyant publicity. The word "jumbo" in advertising is all Barnum. "You must gather a crowd," he said about success.

Known for endless energy and vitality, he was 60 when his three-ring circus debuted. The show merged with James Bailey's circus in 1881.

A banker, politician, journalist, and land developer, at one time he was the second richest man in America. His autobiography was one of the most widely read books in the 19th century.

"We cannot all see alike," he said, "but we can all do good."

Promote what you do. Others need to know.