Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

It Happened Today in New York City

04-07 BarnumOn April 7, 1891, Phineas T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus died of complications from a stroke. With his famous catchphrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute”, Barnum had made his reputation hoodwinking the public with elaborate schemes and entertaining hoaxes, culminating Barnum’s American Museum across Broadway from St. Paul’s Chapel. In a tradition later followed by Harry Houdini and James Randi, he also made a side career of debunking frauds who claimed their malarkey was anything other than what it was and ultimately became something of a social reformer. He suffered the stroke that took his life in the most appropriate possible place – onstage – and was buried in a cemetery that he designed. He was 80 years old.

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