Here and There at Tufts

Doane, Lewis

1907

Jumbo

Jumbo, "King of the Elephants," after having passed his infancy in Africa, his native land, his youth in London, and his maturity in traveling on two continents with P. T. Barnum, now reigns peacefully over a court of lesser beasts and receives his admirers in the main exhibition room of Barnum Museum. His skeleton, the largest of a modern terrestrial mammal, is in the possession of the Smithsonian Institute.

When Jumbo was received at the London Zoo in 1865, he was only five feet high. In seventeen years he had grown to eleven feet; at this time Mr. Barnum bought him for $10,000. Jumbo subsequently grew to a height of twelve feet and a weight of seven tons.

In 1885 Jumbo was killed in an heroic and successful attempt to save the lives of his keeper and of his comrade, a dwarf clown elephant known as "Tom Thumb." A freight train struck Jumbo and pushed his tusks into his brain causing instant death. Jumbo had such a strong hold upon the public that his death was regarded as a general calamity.

To Prof. Henry A. Ward is due the credit of preparing Jumbo for exhibition. The skin when first removed from the body weighed 1538 pounds; it varied in thickness from half an inch to an inch and a half. After it was tanned, it was scraped to a uniform thickness and nailed to a huge wooden framework with 74,480 nails.

Since becoming an inmate of the Museum, Jumbo has made a trip to Europe as a part of "The Greatest Show on Earth." His return to the public was heralded far and wide. Pictures of Jumbo's death, Jumbo restored, and of his skeleton were also exhibited. He was received with great enthusiasm. Such large sums were offered for these two specimens that Mr. Barnum was strongly tempted not to bring them back to America.

 
Description
  • Here and There at Tufts, was published by the class of 1909 as an early form of a yearbook. The text includes photographs and histories of academic buildings, dormitories, former deans and presidents, classrooms, fraternities, athletic teams, and student organizations.
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