Humbugs & Curiosities Humbugs & Curiosities Fejee Mermaid The Fejee Mermaid has been remained in numerous museums after its famed garnered high profits. The Barnum Museum's mermaid was designed from historical records for a film produced by HBO. (no number given) 96570945 Jenny Lind While Jenny Lind was not a trick in terms of talent, she was a 'humbug' in terms of appearance. Her voice was internationally known for its beauty and so Barnum portrayed her as a beauty in prints. However, Lind was in truth "peasant-like" with an "awkward nose". Those who saw her were disappointed in her appearance, but thrilled with her performance. (EL 1988.352.1) 96440072 Hans Christian Anderson Flask The best curiosities were either very odd or very famous. This flask is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson, around 1846 and is engraved with H.C. Anderson. Besides his fame and fortune in writing, he was rumored to be a suitor of Jenny Lind's. (T2009.64.1) 96440073 Lavinia Warren's Thimble Among Barnum's oddities were little people performers such as Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren. This miniature thimble bares the initials "L.S." for Lavinia Stratton. Tom Thumb's real name was Charles Stratton and in 1863 he married Lavinia, hence the initials. (1981.4.9) 96440076 From Smallest to Tallest In addition to those of short stature, Barnum employed 'giants' as well. His most famous giant was actually the giantess, Anna Swann. On her fourth birthday, Anna was already 4'6" and in adulthood was measured at 7'5 1/2". Gilbert Reichert was a famed giant during the 20th century, though he never met Barnum. (EL 1988.346.1) 96440078 "One if by Land" In the American Museum, collections of historical curiosities also attracted crowds. This lantern is said to be one of the Paul Revere lanterns, made famous through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride". Of course proving this connection is nearly impossible but the "what if" is exciting. (EL 1988.336.1) 96570944 Aqueduct Brick Another realm of fascination for people was the wild west. This brick was taken from the San Fernando Mission in California founded in 1797. The mission had a complex irrigation system to support its agriculture in the dry climate making it one of the most prosperous in the West. (EL 1988.422.1) 96440080 Zuni Olla Pot Zuni pottery is still widely known for its intricate designs and beautiful coloring. The 1880s became the high period for conflict between the cowboy and the Indian with stories of sordid adventures reaching the press out East. (1945.1.1) 96440074 Prayer Wheel The 'Orient' was of increasing interest to Victorians. With a rush for Chinese and Japanese designs in the decorative arts, people were intrigued by the cultures they would never personally experience. In addition, England's presence in India was making headlines culturally and politically. (1947.7.1) 96440075 The Hippodrome Burns Unfortunately, Barnum seemed cursed by destructive fires. When the American Museum burned he rebuilt, only to have it burn once again. His performance venue, the Hippodrome which would later become Madison Square Gardens, also burned. Newspapers the world over covered the events for PT Barnum had become a renowned entertainer. (BF 1993.17.9.4) 96440077