Episode 202: Dinner with Jumbo

An old black and white photo of the dead body of Jumbo the elephant is centered in middle, men in suits and hats surround him on all sides.
Jumbo’s corpse lays on the tracks where he was struck by a train in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Jumbo the elephant lived many lives. From being taken from his home in Africa, to his time in the London Zoo, to being the star of P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth, Jumbo was a spectacle both in life and death. In this episode we explore his life, and how his untimely death provided Carl Akeley with his first big break in the art of taxidermy.

Show notes

Gallery

works cited

Barnum, P.T. The Life of P.T Barnum. New York, NY: Redfield, 1855.

Harding, Les. Elephant Story: Jumbo and P.T Barnum Under the Big Top. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2000.

Letter, P.T Barnum to Henry Ward [October 23, 1885], D258 11:2, Ward Correspondence Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections at River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Photograph, Elephant Skeleton During Taxidermy Process [ca. 1885], D258 11:2, Ward Correspondence Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections at River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Photograph, Elephant Taxidermied with Skin Mounted [ca. 1885], D258 11:2, Ward Correspondence Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections at River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Saxton, A.H, ed. Selected Letters of P.T Barnum. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1983.

Scott, Matthew. Autobiography of Matthew Scott, Jumbo’s Keeper. Bridgeport, CT: Trow’s Printing and Bookbinding, 1885.

Weinert, Kirk. “Jumbo the Elephant Has Some Advice for President Trump.” Environmental Action. 2017. Accessed April 20, 2019. https://environmental-action.org/blog/jumbo-the-elephant-and-president-trump/. Referenced image of Jumbo at train yard sourced from this page.


acknowledgements

We would like to thank Melissa Mead and the University of Rochester Department of Rare Books and Special Collections for their assistance with research and contributions to this episode

The coordinating producers for this season of HearUR are Maya Lippard and Liam Gousios. The executive producers are Thomas Fleischman and Stephen Roessner.

Music for this episode was created by Chad Crouch, Lobo Loco, and Jockers Dance Orchestra. Our theme music is by Joshua Copperman

Hear UR is made possible by the Teaching Innovation Grant at the University of Rochester.

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