Monday, Aug. 09, 2010

P.T. Barnum

It turns out the man who gave us the Swedish Nightingale, the Feejee Mermaid, Jumbo the elephant and Tom Thumb had more than just circus ambitions. Phineas Taylor Barnum, dubbed "the patron saint of promoters" by Life magazine, used his p.r. powers to campaign for public office. While he successfully won two terms as a representative in the Connecticut state legislature, he failed to win election to the U.S. Congress in 1867. Perhaps it's a good thing he wasn't elected. It wasn't until after his stint in politics, at age 61, that he entered the circus business full-time and crafted the "Greatest Show on Earth."