Joice Heth

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  • P. T. Barnum's Accomplishments

    remarkable displays shook the world, and the cause of his success. The use of his advertising was vital to his many triumphs, including Tom Thumb, Jenny Lind, and Joice Heth. Barnum noted the influence of advertising and said that “some say, ‘they cannot afford to advertise;’ they mistake they cannot afford to not advertise,” a true testament to his capabilities (396). Starting in the year 1836, Barnum stumbled upon one of his first attractions. Joice Heth claimed her age was 161 and the nurse for the war hero and first president of the U.S., George Washington. Although Heth was blind and almost paralyzed, Barnum saw opportunity knock. With no medical technology to prove that Heth was lying about her age and past employers, Barnum decided to purchase Heth and show her around the continent as a historical wonder to curious citizens. He knew people would question the over one and a half century old woman, and embraced that fact. He advertised the act by hanging posters. That coupled with friends in the media, he deceivingly sent anonymous letters to newspapers claiming that Heth was a fraud or a “humbug.” He wrote that she was “a curiously constructed automan, made up of whalebone, India-rubber, and numberless springs ingeniously put together,” (157). This caused an increase in ticket sales, “hundreds who had not visited Joice Heth were now anxious to see the curious automan; while many who had seen her were equally desirous of a second look,” (157). Barnum took advantage of…

    Words: 1455 - Pages: 6
  • Myth In Edward Lengel's Preventing George Washington

    American people. His death occurred when political divisions and external threats were at an all-time high, leaving America feeling more vulnerable than ever. The word of his death traveled rather slowly, spreading only by word of mouth. Lengel writes, “People sought details from other sources. These included storytellers and rumormongers, who subjected Washington to the proverbial thousand deaths by fire, famine, and sword” (12). Explanations immediately began to spread, each giving a different…

    Words: 1031 - Pages: 5
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