America's greatest showman, Phineas Taylor Barnum, born July 5, 1810, celebrates his 193rd birthday today. Happy Birthday, Barnum! In his autobiography Barnum had this to say about his birthday: My first appearance upon this stage was on the 5th day of July, Anno Domini 1810. Independence Day had gone by, the cannons had ceased to thunder forth their remembrances of our National Anniversary, the smoke had all cleared away, the drums had finished their rattle, and when peace and quiet were restored, I made my debut. This propensity of keeping out of harm's way has always stuck by me.
Barnum was responsible for many hoaxes. Among his more famous ones were Joice Heth (billed as the oldest woman in the world) and the Feejee Mermaid. But he's probably best remembered for the circus he established later in his career, following his stint as a museum proprietor.