The “Greatest Show on Earth” was owned by P.T. Barnum, who died APRIL 7, 1891. Selling millions of tickets, his big draws were General Tom Thumb, a man only 25 inches tall, and elephant “Jumbo,” whose name entered the dictionary.
Barnum, who was received by President Lincoln and gave a command performance for Queen Victoria, stated:
Most persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing too little, than by believing too much.
The circus not open Sundays, Barnum let his New York Great Roman Hippodrome be used by Dwight L. Moody for evangelistic campaigns.
When Barnum’s show began traveling, Moody, with help from J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt, transformed the Hippodrome into a revival tabernacle. Services began February 7, 1876, with 7,000 people in the main hall, 4,000 in overflow, thousands outside, 500 ushers and 1,200 singers directed by Ira Sankey. Sunday attendance hit 25,000.
It was perhaps Moody’s most important campaign, for impacting New York impacted the nation. D.L. Moody said:
Moses spent 40 years thinking he was somebody; 40 years learning he was nobody; and 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.