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Signatures of Cody, Longstreet and other prominent Chicagoans of the era, collected on both sides of a 6x4 sheet in 1899. Signatures on both sides of a 6x4 sheet: "W.F. Cody / 'Buffalo Bill'", "Nate Salsbury", "John M.…"

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Signatures of Cody, Longstreet and other prominent Chicagoans of the era, collected on both sides of a 6x4 sheet in 1899.
Signatures on both sides of a 6x4 sheet: "W.F. Cody / 'Buffalo Bill'", "Nate Salsbury", "John M. Burke /'Arizona John'", and "Allison Nailor, Jr.". Dated in unknown hand at left: "April 20, 1899." On verso: "Yours Truly/James Longstreet/July 15 '99" and "Ferdinand W. Peck". Fine condition. Framed to an overall size of 40x20.

William Frederick Cody earned the name "Buffalo Bill" for killing thousands of buffalo as a hired hunter in 1867 and 1868. Cody had begun his wild west career herding cattle at age nine. Five years later, he became the Pony Express' youngest rider. Throughout the Civil War, Cody worked as a government scout, extracting from life and the West all it had to offer. His western notoriety grew with his adventures, including those during the Sioux War, in which he purportedly fought a duel with Chief Yellow Hand. Cody's theatrical career was launched that same year with his re-enactments of such Indian battles. By 1883, he formed his first Wild West spectacle, becoming a master showman who toured internationally until 1903. In 1893, six years before this card was dated, his Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World show hit its high point during the Columbian Exposition and World's Fair in Chicago. With insufficient space on the fairgrounds to house Cody's spectacular show, his manager Nate Salsbury wisely leased land opposite the Columbian Exposition. The Wild West, which featured thrilling "battles" between cowboys and Indians and amazing shooting demonstrations by Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, was well publicized by press agent John M. "Arizona John" Burke. The show drew six million paid customers during its five-month run and exceeded $1,000,000 in profits, but money was not Cody's only concern.

After World's Fair officials turned down a request by Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison to admit poor children at no charge on a special day, Buffalo Bill announced he would let them see the Wild West show for free - and he also provided complimentary transportation, candy and ice cream. Some 15,000 youngsters enjoyed one of the most exciting afternoons of their lives. Cody's act of charity was likely noticed with interest by Ferdinand W. Peck, the famous Chicago philanthropist who served as Vice President of the Columbian Exposition. Peck, a wealthy businessman, also organized the Chicago Auditorium Association to help build a cultural and civic center. Today, the Auditorium is part of Roosevelt University. West Point graduate James Longstreet rose to Lieutenant General in the Confederate Army. He came to be known as "Lee's Old War Horse" for his faithful service to General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War and accompanied Lee to the Confederate Army's surrender at Appomattox.At the battle of Fredericksburg, Longstreet had directed the South to a humiliating rout with the North. The tenacious fighter, called "Old Pete" by his troops, also discovered a gap in enemy lines during the Battle of Chickamauga and forced a Union retreat. Longstreet suffered a serious wound in the Battle of the Wilderness but was back in command six months later.

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