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Name Cody, William Frederick "Buffalo Bill," 1846-1917
Born 02/26/1846
Birthplace Iowa
Father Cody, Isaac
Mother Bosnell, Mary Ann
Notes William F. Cody was born on a farm in Scott County, Iowa on February 26, 1846, the son of Isaac and Mary Cody. The family moved to Kansas where the father died in 1857. William found work at the age of eleven on freighting outfits and later was employed by Russell, Majors, and Waddell as a mounted messenger. In April of 1860 he is said to have been hired as a rider on the Pony Express. In 1863 he served as a scout with the 9th Kansas Cavalry in operations against the Kiowas and Comanches. The next year he served as a scout for General A.J. Smith in Tennessee. He earned his nickname "Buffalo Bill" in 1867 while he was engaged in hunting buffalo to supply meat for Kansas Pacific R.R. construction crews. For the next four years he served as a scout for the Army.

Colonel Judson, writing as Ned Buntline, made Cody the central figure in western fiction. In 1872 Judson wrote a play, Scouts of the Prairies, which Cody produced, and played the lead role. Cody scouted for the Army again in 1874 and 1876. In July of 1877 Cody, in partnership with Luther, James and Major Frank North, established the Cody-North ranch on the head waters of the Dismal River. As a Wild West showman Cody helped popularize the cowboy as a romantic figure in American History. He, with Major John Burke and W.F. Carver, commenced the Wild West Show. Cody in partnership with Nate Salisbury continued this show for years, combining frontier attractions into an active entertainment which pleased audiences in the United States and Europe. Cody was married to Louisa Frederick in St. Louis in 1866. He died in Denver, Colorado, on January 10, 1917 and is buried on Lookout Mountain overlooking that city.

The first public performance of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West show was May 19, 1883, in Omaha. A dress rehearsal had taken place May 10 in Columbus. Several residents of Sidney, however, enjoyed an even earlier preview of a few of the show's attractions. Sidney Plaindealer-Telegraph editor J. C. Bush reported in the May 3, 1883, issue on an excursion to North Platte, which included a May 1 visit to Buffalo Bill's ranch:

"In the afternoon in company with Mr. [James] McNulty and Hon. W. F. Cody we visited the germ of the great show which is to spring into existence the latter part of this month at Omaha and which will sweep all before it when once fairly started. . . . On a piece of level meadow land was pitched the tents for the men while the buffalo and a large number of horses were grazing in an adjoining pasture. A number of elk were expected in a day or two and men were engaged purchasing the most famous bucking horses that Nebraska afforded. 'Buck' Taylor, who is to be one of the star riders of the combination, gave an exhibition on a wall-eyed calico horse that would astonish the effeminate easterners, and if he lives long enough the performance will be repeated for their benefit during the summer. Another wing of the show is getting under way at Omaha, where the Indians will join it, and about the 17th of the present month the western Nebraska wonder will give its opening exhibition at the state's metropolis."

Of course, the Omaha performance of Cody's show was a resounding success, and The Wild West went on to become renowned around the world as Nebraska's unique contribution to entertainment.
Occupation Wild West show performer
Role Performer
Spouse Frederick, Louisa Maud
Children Thorp, Arta Lucille Cody Boal
Cody, Kit Carson
Cody, Orra Maude
Garlow, Irma Louise Cody Stott
Deceased 01/10/1917
Deceased where Denver, Colorado

Associated Records

RG0031.MI - RG0031.MI: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

19 16mm films produced by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, c.1938-1970: A Time to Die Biking Life and Times of Buffalo Bill Cody Deer Hunting Gone Fishing How to Raise Pheasants Hunting Ethics Misadventures of Smith and Jones Nebraska Nebraskaland Days Nebraska: Where the West Begins Return of the Nebraska Gobbler Small Game Hunting Spring Turkey Hunting State Parks film (c.1938) The Way of the Woods Trails of Water Upland Gamebirds Water for All

RG0541.MI - RG0541.MI: Library of Congress Paper Print Collection

16mm copies of 12 films from the Library of Congress' Paper Print Collection of early American cinema. Includes: -Buffalo Bill's Wild West Parade (1901) - New York, NY -Circle Dance (1898) - Native American ritual dance -Colored Tropps Disembarking (1898) - Spanish American War -Council Bluffs Bridge Station (1900) - Omaha, NE* -Herd of Cattle (1901) - J.B. Hord Ranch, Central City, NE* -The Mended Lute (1909) - featuring James Yound Deer and Princess Red Wing -Overland Limited (1901) - Grand Island, NE* -Parade of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Nos. 1 & 2 (1898) - -Serving Rations to the Indians, Nos. 1 & 2 (1898) - New Mexico or Colorado -Sham Battle at the Pan-American Exposi

Image of RG0823.AM - RG0823 Brugh, Ralph W., 1902-1976

RG0823.AM - RG0823 Brugh, Ralph W., 1902-1976

The collection consists of one item, a seventeen page, handwritten manuscript titled "Alma, on the Republican, Its Origin and Early Settlements in the Valley," written by Ralph W. Brugh. It covers the years 1869-1880. Included are names of those who came to explore/settle Harlan County, as well as an account of the fight over naming Alma the county seat.

Image of RG0949.AM - RG0949 Riley, Paul Davis, 1936-1981

RG0949.AM - RG0949 Riley, Paul Davis, 1936-1981

The Riley collection contains large amounts of material related to the history of Nebraska and its people. There are four series: 1) Research Materials; 2) Correspondence, 1973-1975; 3) Vertical File Materials; and 4) Miscellaneous Materials. Series 1, Research Materials, encompasses over half of the entire collection. Included here are mainly transcriptions of newspaper clippings organized by subject. Substantial material can be found specifically relating to Webster County history, Willa Cather, cattle ranching, various forts, the Pawnee tribe, and the genealogy of many pioneering families. Series 2, Correspondence, 1973-75, is a small series of Rileyís letters to and from individuals

Image of RG0992.AM - RG0992 Farritor, Robert J., 1878-1961

RG0992.AM - RG0992 Farritor, Robert J., 1878-1961

The collection contains a proposal by Robert J. Farritor to write a history of the cattle industry of north central Nebraska, particularly focusing on Custer County. Farritor's proposal ties it together with the history of the Texas cattle industry, going back to 1866. He lists several cattle drivers and gives a brief history of Custer County. Farritor also includes incidental stories about Buffalo Bill Cody and Tamar Snow.

RG2039.MI - RG2039.MI: Sheldon, Adison Erwin (1961-1943)

Five reels of 16mm film capturing scenes of travel in Nebraska and the United States. Reels contain the following: 1. Residence of Buffalo Bill Cody, Battle of Rosebud historical marker, roads in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park. 2. Gettyburg, Chimney Rock, Oregon Trail marker, agriculatural scenes. 3. Hannibal Missouri, Civil War battlefield, Mississippi River, Mt. Vernon, Appomattox. 4. Small town in snow, livestock auction. 5. Nebraska State Historical Society excursion to historical sites and County historical societies in northwestern Nebraska, 1933. Includes Captain Luther North, a delegation of Oglala Sioux, and Captain J.H. Cook.

Image of 11055-1896 - Sheet Music; Pahaska, Tom Lloyd

11055-1896 - Sheet Music; Pahaska, Tom Lloyd

Sheet music for "Pahaska" by Tom Lloyd. It is for a song about Buffalo Bill Cody. One sheet of paper, folded in half. Music on the two interior pages. The cover has a sketch of Buffalo Bill in brown. Text is also brown.

Image of 11055-1895 - Sheet Music; Pahaska, Tom Lloyd

11055-1895 - Sheet Music; Pahaska, Tom Lloyd

Sheet music for "Pahaska" by Tom Lloyd. It is for a song about Buffalo Bill Cody. One sheet of paper, folded in half. Music on the two interior pages. The cover has a sketch of Buffalo Bill in brown. Text is also brown.

Image of 11055-2941 - Invoice, Lithographs to be Made in 1911 for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

11055-2941 - Invoice, Lithographs to be Made in 1911 for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

This object is a long piece of paper stuck onto a long piece of cardboard. The tittle is "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East". It looks to be a list of materials needed for Buffalo Bill. The list starts about three inches from the top and precedes to the bottom. The print is black and small. It has two brackets on either side of the columns drawn in pencil. At the bottom is the total sheets wall work per day and for season. The invoice shows the number of lithographs ordered for the 1911 season from the U.S. Lithograph Co.

Image of 11055-2942 - Comic Book, Czech, Buffalo Bill's Mascot or The Mystery of Death Valley

11055-2942 - Comic Book, Czech, Buffalo Bill's Mascot or The Mystery of Death Valley

Czech language comic book titled "Buffalo Bill's Mascot or the Mystery of Death Valley." The front cover depicts Buffalo Bill and another cowboy on horseback shooting at a group of Indians coming down from the hills behind them. Buffalo Bill is wearing a white cowboy hat with a yellow jacket and white pants.

Image of 11305-22 - Ornament; Beaded, Geometric

11305-22 - Ornament; Beaded, Geometric

Flat, beaded ornament made of woven beadwork. The beaded design is of a flower (a rose). The beads are predominately white, with transparent green and red beads forming the floral design. The bottom of the ornament is a fringe made of white, green and red beads. The top of the ornament has the end threads knotted together and tied with a pink silk ribbon.

Image of 11397-1 - Card, Greeting, Leather, As Omaha Saw It

11397-1 - Card, Greeting, Leather, As Omaha Saw It

Rectangular piece of leather folded in half to represent a card. Obverse is stamped: "AS OMAHA SAW IT" bordering the image of an eye. Back cover of card is stamped in the format of a postcard, with the title: "SOUVENIR LETTER CARD," and a rectangle with "2 (cent symbol)" within in representing a stamp in the uppper right. Interior of card has a black and white photo that is labeled: "Copyright 1906, by H.H. Tammen, Denver." and ""Farnam Street West, Omaha, Neb." Card has three holes punched through the bottom of front and back with a lynard running through these holes.

Image of 11571-53 - Button, Booster, North Platte Buffalo Bills Town; Buffalo in Center

11571-53 - Button, Booster, North Platte Buffalo Bills Town; Buffalo in Center

Round button with illustration of a bison at the center. "NORTH PLATTE BUFFALO BILL'S TOWN" COLORS: off white w/black ink

Image of 13000-3032 - Postcard; 994 Buffalo Bill (Col. Wm. F. Cody) Plainsman and Scout

13000-3032 - Postcard; 994 Buffalo Bill (Col. Wm. F. Cody) Plainsman and Scout

994 Buffalo Bill (Col. Wm. F. Cody) Plainsman and Scout; Color Litho of Buffalo Bill Holding Gun Across Shoulders, Saddle Image: buffalo bill, william f. cody COLORS: cream, blue, tan, black TECHNIQUE: printed

Image of 13289-16 - Portrait Mask, Buffalo Bill Cody; Made by Doane Powell

13289-16 - Portrait Mask, Buffalo Bill Cody; Made by Doane Powell

Full head mask depicting entertainer Buffalo Bill Cody. Centers of eyes and nostrils cut out. Two small holes in each ear.

Image of 13339-2-(1-2) - Cover, First Day; Nebraska Statehood Stamp, with card

13339-2-(1-2) - Cover, First Day; Nebraska Statehood Stamp, with card

White envelope with a sepia-toned design on the proper right half. The design depicts the Nebraska Capitol Building and official Centennial medal surrounded by names of famous individuals and Native American tribes. Lettering above the design reads "Nebraska / Centennial / 1867-1967." Beneath the design is "Official First / Day Cover." Nebraska Statehood five cent postage stamp in upper proper left corner. Stamp depicts a ear of corn with a cow in front of it. Hand stamp beneath postage stamp reads "First Day of Issue." Postmarked at upper center "Lincoln, NB / Jul / 29 / 1967." Informational card included with envelope gives an overview of the history of Nebraska statehood, the Capitol

Image of 13339-3-(1-2) - Cover, First Day; Nebraska Statehood Stamp, with card

13339-3-(1-2) - Cover, First Day; Nebraska Statehood Stamp, with card

White envelope with a sepia-toned design on the proper right half. The design depicts the Nebraska Capitol Building and official Centennial medal surrounded by names of famous individuals and Native American tribes. Lettering above the design reads "Nebraska / Centennial / 1867-1967." Beneath the design is "Official First / Day Cover." Nebraska Statehood five cent postage stamp in upper proper left corner. Stamp depicts a ear of corn with a cow in front of it. Hand stamp beneath postage stamp reads "First Day of Issue." Postmarked at upper center "Lincoln, NB / Jul / 29 / 1967." Informational card included with envelope gives an overview of the history of Nebraska statehood, the Capitol

Image of 7346-17 - Music, Sheet, Im Just as Fond of Beauty; Untitled, 1st Words of Song, Learned by Frank North

7346-17 - Music, Sheet, Im Just as Fond of Beauty; Untitled, 1st Words of Song, Learned by Frank North

Bifold sheet music with handwritten music and words in black ink. Top of the sheet music reads: "For Mrs. Chambers-A reconstruction of the song her father learned in New Orleans."