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American P.T. Barnum was an immensely successful promoter who founded the circus he coined "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1871.
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As with many of Barnum's previous exhibits, Jumbo was a hit with audiences until his death in 1885.
In 1887, an aging Barnum agreed to cede everyday control of the circus, which was rebranded Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth.
Confined to his Bridgeport home after suffering a stroke in 1890, Barnum died on April 7, 1891. A businessman to the end, he allegedly asked about the previous night's gate receipts with his final words.
The Barnum & Bailey show was bought by the rival Ringling brothers in 1907, and in 1919 the two were incorporated into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, The Greatest Show on Earth.
Thanks in part to the continued success of the circus, Barnum is celebrated as a brilliant promoter and a man who transformed the nature of commercial entertainment in the 19th century. He is also remembered for his philanthropic contributions and investments in the city of Bridgeport, where exhibits of his life and the curiosities he brought to the public are featured at the Barnum Museum.
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