WILLIAM F. "BUFFALO BILL" CODY - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 05/30 - HFSID 295784
Sale Price $2,210.00
"BUFFALO BILL" CODY
Handwritten letter to former rival - now partner - Pawnee Bill Lillie - outlining plans for a California tour of their wild west show. "And if all goes well we could clean up a wagon load of money."
Autograph Letter signed: "Col.", 1 page, 8½x11. Saco, Maine, May 30 (circa 1908). On letterhead of Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East to "Dear Major" [William Lillie]. In full: "The reason I would not sign up with Craft. They went back on the Contract they had Bacon draw and sent two of their own fixing. You see by the route of Sells Floto that they are playing all of the Country west of the Rockies and North West. And I think we should do it. I think the summer of the Great Panama Fair at San Francisco we could show all that Country. In the Spring three shows. San Francisco July, Aug. Sep. Then Southern Cal. Oct. And if all goes well we could clean up a wagon load of money." William Frederick Cody (1846-1917) 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, 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. The Wild West, which featured thrilling "battles" between cowboys and Indians and amazing shooting demonstrations by Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, drew six million paid customers during its five-month run and exceeded $1,000,000 in profits. In 1908, the year of this letter, Cody teamed up with his old rival, "Pawnee Bill" Lillie for a combined "two Bills" show. Lillie called his show "Far East" because it included Japanese and Arab performers, as well as Western Americana. (Adopting the honorary rank of Colonel for himself, Cody addresses Lillie by the lower rank of Major.) In 1913, financial circumstances forced Cody to sell his own show and join the Sells Floto show also mentioned in this letter. One horizontal and two vertical folds. Slightly creased. Slightly toned. Otherwise, fine condition.
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