Barnum and Bailey Circus in United States

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Barnum and Bailey Circus

OwnerP. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey
1908 Ringling brothers
First elephant arrived1888
Last elephant left1919
Closed down1919
Place Bridgeport, Connecticut
Country United States

Directors1907-1919: John Patterson Menagerie Supt.

Head keepers
of elephants
1907-1919: George Denman (died in 1937)
Relevant literature


Barnum and Bailey Circus, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States , was founded in 1888 and the first elephant arrived in 1888. The last elephant left in 1919. Barnum and Bailey Circus closed down in 1919 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, .

Comments / picturesBarnum and Bailey Circus in United States United+StatesWinterquarters in Bridgeport

Elephants owned, residing and performing with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus can be found at several different locations, which have been divided up for clarification of record keeping and to give a better idea of Herd identifications. They include:
- Ringling Brothers Circus (1884 - 1918)
- Barnum & Bailey Circus (1888 - 1918)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (1919 - 1968)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Blue Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Red Unit (1969 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Gold Unit (1988 - present)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus European Tour (1963 - 1964)
- Circus World at Polk City (1974 - 1984
- Ringling Retirement Farm at Williston (1984 - 2010)
- Ringling Brother's Center for Elephant Conservation (1995 - present)

1881: P. T. Barnum merged with Cooper and Bailey Circus(owned by James Bailey and James L. Hutchinson), "P.T. Barnums Greatest Show On Earth, And The Great London Circus, Sangers Royal British Menagerie and The Grand International Allied Shows United", soon shortened to "Barnum & London Circus".
1885: P. T. Barnum and James Bailey split up again in 1885, but came back together in
1888: with the "Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show On Earth", later "Barnum & Bailey Circus", which toured around the world. The shows primary attraction was Jumbo, an African elephant he purchased in 1882 from the London Zoo.
1889: Barnum and Bailey bought the Carl Hagenbeck Circus in Germany from Carl Hagenbeck. When Barnums came to Londons Olympia in 1889 they travelled with 450 performers, 300 horses, 21 elephants, 32 cages and 35 parade and baggage wagons.
1891: P. T. Barnum died on April 7, 1891.
1891: Bailey purchased the circus from Barnums widow. He ran many successful tours through the eastern United States and also Canada.

Barnum and Bailey Circus in United States United+States
Barnum & Bailey Circus elephant parade on Blvd St Laurent, Montreal. Le Monde Illustré, August 3, 1895.

Europe tour 1897-1902
1897: Bailey took his circus to Europe where, on December 27, 1897, he began a tour across the continent that lasted through 1902.
Barnum and Bailey Circus in United States United+States

Barnum and Bailey Circus in United States United+States

1897-1900: Touring in United Kingdom.
1900-1901: Touring in Germany and Austria. The circus opened in Hamburg on April 15. 25th of November until the 24th of February 1901 they played in Vienna, and had a Winter pause in Vienna from the 25th of February until the the 6th of April 1901. The german tour closed 30.August 1901 in a town called Leer, close to Hamburg.
1901: After Germany the circus went to Holland and Belgium.
1902: toured France and Switzerland.

On the end of October 1902 they went back to the US.

Records about from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at


1898:"Harry Mooney was hired while Barnum & Bailey was making its European tour (1898-02) and remained with that show until the Ringling-Barnum merger in 1919. He then went to Australia."Williams Buckles Woodcock
1900: elephant superintendent Mr. Pearl Sauder
superintendent of elephants: George Bates
They took 18 elephants to Europe, 10 large and 8 small. Of the three men in the lighter uniforms, the one at left is William "Elephant Bill" Newman and the one in the center is George Bates standing next to "Mandrin". There were 4 big males "Fritz" at left is easy to spot, at the extreme left partially hidden is another Tuskers are elephants that wear tusks'>Tusker "Don Pedro" and the 4th male "Nick" was Tuskless. All four of these males died in Europe. Among the 6 females were "Gyp" (Gypsy) dating back to the early 1870s with P.T. Barnum as well as "Babe" and "Columbia" the latter now is 18 years old. The punks were "Pilate" (male), "Chief" (male), "Queen", "Juno", "Coco" (tuskless male), "Bessie", "Mary" and "Ruth" (yes this is "BabyRuth" later owned by Wm. Hall). These young elephants were added in the early 1890s and not to be confused with Pilate, Chief, and Queen of the 1880s. As regards to Cooper & Bailey in Australia the 1877 Route Book states: "Titania" presented by Prof. Geo. W. Johnston. That same year a Melbourne program has: "Betsey" trained by Charles Warner. Again in 1878 we see: "Titania" presented by George Johnson. This man Johnson was later Menagerie Supt. with B&B in the 1880s. I get the feeling that Cooper & Bailey only had one elephant in Australia and her name was "Betsy" and her stage name "Titania".
Barnum & Bailey Elephant Herd/ European Tour, Buckles Web Log, 10/04/05

Baileys European tour gave the Ringling brothers an opportunity to move their show from the Midwest through the eastern seaboard. Faced with the new competition, Bailey took his show west of the Rockies for the first time in 1905.
1906: James Bailey died.
1907: Barnum and Bailey Circus circus was eventually sold to Ringling Brothers on July 8, 1907 for a price of US$400,000.
1907: 20 elephants, among them 5 Adult bulls.
John Patterson was Menagerie Supt. with Barnum & Bailey from 1907.
1911: 21 elephants:
Records about from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at
From Buckles Woodcocks blog:
Barnum and Bailey Circus in United States United+States

1918: The Barnum and Bailey Herd at November 1918 contained: Katie, Albert, Bessie, Coco, Lizzie, Fannie, Nellie, Baby, Jennie, Topsy, Jap, Mighty, Queenie, Mary, Juno, Hattie, Pilot and Jess.
1919: Barnums show was merged with Ringling Bros Circus into the new Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

References for records about Barnum and Bailey Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Barnum and Bailey Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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