P. T. Barnum

American showman and politician (1810–1891)

Phineas Taylor Barnum (5 July 18107 April 1891) was an American showman who is remembered for founding the circus that eventually became Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He is also known for his entertaining hoaxes.

The desire for wealth is nearly universal, and none can say it is not laudable, provided the possessor of it accepts its responsibilities, and uses it as a friend to humanity.


I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me.
  • I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me.
    • As quoted in P. T. Barnum: America's Greatest Showman (1995) by Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. and Philip B. Kunhardt III, ISBN 0-679-43574-3, p. vi

The Humbugs of the World (1865)

The Humbugs of the World
  • But however mysterious is nature, however ignorant the doctor, however imperfect the present state of physical science, the patronage and the success of quacks and quackeries are infinitely more wonderful than those of honest and laborious men of science and their careful experiments.

Art of Money Getting (1880)

Art of Money Getting : Rules for Making Money




  • Every crowd has a silver lining.
    • The first appearance of this quote in print was in the July 1908 issue of the journal Profitable Advertising under the heading "Modernized Maxims." It next appeared in the June 1911 issue of The Philistine where Elbert Hubbard labeled it: "motto for a hotel-keeper." In the 1920s, it was published with the label: "Pickpocket's motto." The attribution to P.T. Barnum didn't appear in print until a 1934 article in Reader's Digest.
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