24 photographs, 46 illustrations
Army scout, frontiersman, and hero of the American West, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was also a shrewd self-promoter, showman, and entrepreneur. In 1888 he published The Story of the Wild West, a collection of biographies of four well-known American frontier figures: Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, and himself. Cody contributed an abridged version of his 1879 autobiography with an addendum titled The Wild West in England, now available in this stand-alone annotated edition, including all the illustrations from the original text along with photographs of Cody and promotional materials.
Here Cody describes his Wild West exhibition, the show that offered audiences a mythic experience of the American frontier. Focusing on the show’s first season of performances in England, Cody includes excerpts of numerous laudatory descriptions of his show from the English press as well as stories of his time spent with British nobility—from private performances for Queen Victoria and the Prince and Princess of Wales to dinners and teas with the elite of London society. He depicts himself as an ambassador of American culture, proclaiming that he and his Wild West show prompted the British to “know more of the mighty nation beyond the Atlantic and . . . to esteem us better than at any time within the limits of modern history.”
Frank Christianson, an associate professor of English at Brigham Young University, is the editor of the critical edition, The Life of Hon. William F. Cody, Known as Buffalo Bill (available in a Bison Books edition).