His life story was portrayed in the movie The Greatest Showman (2017) starring Hugh Jackman.
Barnum, who died April 7, 1891, was unorthodox in his faith, being attracted to universalist writings. He nevertheless believed in a Creator, stating in an interview with the New York Sun, 1864:
“I believe there is a great Creator, infinite in his attributes of wisdom, power, and mercy: that His name is Love. I believe He is a God of all justice, and that He will chasten every person whom He ever created sufficiently to reform him, in this world, or some other.”
“This is a trading world, and men, women, and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.”
In 1889, two years before he died, Barnum compiled a notebook life principles:
“The noblest art is that of making others happy, honesty, sobriety, industry, economy, education, good habits, perseverance, cheerfulness, love to God and good will toward men.
These are the preeminent requisites for securing Health, Independence, or a Happy Life, the respect of Mankind and the special favor of our Father in Heaven.”