On This Day

James Anthony Bailey

Circus Showman and Businessman James Anthony Bailey

Full Name: James Anthony McGinnis
Profession: Circus Showman and Businessman

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: Best known as the co-founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus with fellow circus impresario P.T. Barnum, Bailey was orphaned at the age of eight and was employed in the circus industry as a teenager.

At 25 he became the manager of the Cooper and Bailey Circus, during which he met Barnum. The success of the Barnum and Bailey brand - which included exhibiting such animals as Jumbo the Elephant, which Bailey was instrumental in acquiring - ensured the long success of their circus, which operated until 2017.

After his death in 1906 his widow sold the brand to the Ringling brothers, who merged the two circuses in 1919.

Born: July 4, 1847
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: April 11, 1906 (aged 58)
Cause of Death: Erysipelas

Historical Events

  • 1881-03-18 Barnum & Bailey Circus, traveling as "The Greatest Show on Earth", debuts at Madison Square Garden in New York City following the merger of two existing circus groups
  • 1881-03-28 "Greatest Show On Earth" formed by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey
  • 1907-10-22 Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth buys Barnum & Bailey circus
  • 2017-05-21 Barnum & Bailey Circus performs for the last time at the Nassau Coliseum in NYC after 146 years

Biographies and Sources



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