Photographs of Jumbo the Elephant and a Letter from P.T. Barnum to Henry A. Ward, October 9, 1883
The elephant Jumbo was not only the largest animal in captivity, but also the most famous. Captured in Africa in 1861, Jumbo spent his early years in Paris at the Jardin des Plantes and in London at the London Zoological Gardens. In 1882 the American showman P. T. Barnum purchased the elephant and, after a great outcry of protest from English Jumbo lovers, brought him to the United States. Here he continued to delight audiences as part of Barnum's “Greatest Show on Earth.” On September 15, 1885, Jumbo's life came to a tragic end when he was struck by a train and killed. By prior arrangement, Jumbo's body was shipped to Ward's Natural History Establishment in Rochester. Ward and his assistants mounted Jumbo's skeleton and stuffed his enormous skin. For the next two years these two Jumbos toured with Barnum's circus.
Shown below is a letter Barnum wrote to Ward two years before Jumbo's demise: “I shall have my managers understand that if we lose Jumbo(which Heaven forbid!) you must be telegraphed to immediately, & hope you will lose no time in saving his skin & skeleton.”
In his Library Bulletin article about Jumbo, Barnum, and Ward, John Richmond Russell (former University Librarian) wrote:
It was originally estimated that it would require two months to complete the work, but it actually took six. A special building was built to house the project, and two of Ward's ablest assistants, Carl E. Akeley and William J. Critchley, devoted most of their time to it. Ward's diary shows that he himself gave a great deal of his time when he was in Rochester to the supervision of the work. He received many special requests while the work was in progress. One correspondent wanted to get some elephant fat, another wanted Jumbo's eyes, and still another his heart, which was advertised for $40. Casts of Jumbo's upper jaw and teeth were sent to the Army Medical Museum and to the British Museum. Since Jumbo's tusks were too badly damaged to be used, some slices were made as souvenirs. Ward sent one slice to Spencer F. Baird at the Smithsonian Institution, and another to Mrs. Barnum. The gift for Mrs. Barnum was sent to Barnum with a suggestion that the $1,200 to be paid Ward for the job of mounting Jumbo was not sufficient to cover the costs, but Ward's gift and letter didn't bring the result he desired.
The complete article is available here.