I wish this book would have given me more information than “a man ties packages to an elephant as people watch.” That elicits a fourth grade, “Well, no duh” from me. If I have to guess a year, I’d say circa 1920s. We can’t even be certain whether the burdened beast was named Dumbo or Jumbo. I’d say Jumbo, as the Disney movie wasn’t released till 1941. P.T. Barnum’s original Jumbo was killed in a train accident in 1885, so this not that Jumbo.
That Jumbo stood 12 feet tall and weighed 7 tons–the largest elephant anyone had ever seen. He liked “Scotch whiskey, which he was given regularly” during an Atlantic crossing after he left London. Though he died at only age 24, a life-size statue of his likeness was erected in 1985 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada to commemorate the centennial of the elephant’s death.
Incidentally, the name Jumbo spawned the word we use today to mean large in size, not the other way around. So the next time you buy a jumbo-sized beverage or candy bar, think fondly of an elephant.