ADVERTISING ENVELOPE FOR VAN AMBURGH’S MAMMOTH MENAGERIE AND GREAT MORAL EXHIBITION WITH A LETTER FROM ITS BUSINESS MANAGER AND FUTURE OWNER, HYATT FROST; Two-page letter from Hyatt Frost to his business manager, W. W. Thomas, discussing financial matters related to the family farm and his brother, Eli. Hyatt Frost.
ADVERTISING ENVELOPE FOR VAN AMBURGH’S MAMMOTH MENAGERIE AND GREAT MORAL EXHIBITION WITH A LETTER FROM ITS BUSINESS MANAGER AND FUTURE OWNER, HYATT FROST; Two-page letter from Hyatt Frost to his business manager, W. W. Thomas, discussing financial matters related to the family farm and his brother, Eli.
ADVERTISING ENVELOPE FOR VAN AMBURGH’S MAMMOTH MENAGERIE AND GREAT MORAL EXHIBITION WITH A LETTER FROM ITS BUSINESS MANAGER AND FUTURE OWNER, HYATT FROST; Two-page letter from Hyatt Frost to his business manager, W. W. Thomas, discussing financial matters related to the family farm and his brother, Eli.
ADVERTISING ENVELOPE FOR VAN AMBURGH’S MAMMOTH MENAGERIE AND GREAT MORAL EXHIBITION WITH A LETTER FROM ITS BUSINESS MANAGER AND FUTURE OWNER, HYATT FROST; Two-page letter from Hyatt Frost to his business manager, W. W. Thomas, discussing financial matters related to the family farm and his brother, Eli.

ADVERTISING ENVELOPE FOR VAN AMBURGH’S MAMMOTH MENAGERIE AND GREAT MORAL EXHIBITION WITH A LETTER FROM ITS BUSINESS MANAGER AND FUTURE OWNER, HYATT FROST; Two-page letter from Hyatt Frost to his business manager, W. W. Thomas, discussing financial matters related to the family farm and his brother, Eli.

New Philadelphia, Ohio: 1862. Unbound. This two-page letter, written by Hyatt Frost of Van Amburgh’s Circus, discusses financial matters related to the Frost family farm in Harrisburg, Indiana, and Hyatt’s brother Eli, who also—on occasion—worked for the Van Amburgh show.

The letter is enclosed in a Van Amburgh advertising envelope that features an ornate circus bandwagon drawn by a dozen horses. The letter is dated 25 August 1862. The cover is franked with a 3-cent rose Washington stamp (Scott #65) that is tied to the envelope by a circular “New Philad. O.” postmark dated August 26. Very good. Item #008918

Isaac Van Amburgh, who started out cleaning animal cages, became the world’s first lion tamer and made a fortune by the age of twenty-three. He used his money establish traveling menagerie of his own, and by the early 1860s it had become one of the largest, and arguably the best, circuses in the United States.

Some accounts claim that Hyatt and Eli Frost first became involved in circus work when in 1838 they assisted their cousin, Albert Townsend, an elephant keeper for June, Titus, Angevine & Company. By 1849, Hyatt was running a one-wagon sideshow for Van Amburgh that, capitalizing on the Gold Rush, featured a “big bug of California” (actually an armadillo). Hyatt and Eli Frost eventually held a variety of jobs in the Van Amburgh show. Eli, who continued to run the family farm in Harrisburg, Indiana, spent a number of years maintaining Van Amburgh’s equipment and taking tickets. Hyatt served as Van Amburgh’s press agent and show manager.

It’s possible that by the late 1850s Hyatt had become part-owner of the menagerie, and upon Amburgh’s death in 1865, he became the show’s sole proprietor. In 1866, Hyatt entered into a partnership with P. T. Barnum (whose New York museum had just been destroyed by fire) and together established a combined Barnum and Van Amburgh Museum and Menagerie at 539-541 Broadway. Tragically, almost all of the show’s animals and equipment were destroyed by another spectacular fire in 1868.

Price: $650.00

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